Teaching December 2009: Love and Fear

Teaching December 2009: Love and Fear

I think it would be useful to examine these words. I have been quite preoccupied with them both in recent times.

At the level of feeling/emotions they represent, in my thesis, the two prime emotional forms arising out of Emptiness, at the emotional level. All other emotions are a step-down from one or the other.

They are the great, relative, opposites in feeling. I say relative as, being forms they have no inherent tangibility but are reactions, at the feeling level of being, to stimuli. “When the conditions are this, that arises and when the conditions are that, this arises.” There is a relationship or relativity between what is going on and our constructed sensory mechanisms. A joint-practice, let us say. It is possible, in stillness to watch this play.

They, the emotions, do not exist, at any absolute level. This statement may, absolutely, be true; however, it is not useful to me at my relative, me, level, other than as a concept. It is only rarely an experience.

This piece that I am writing, must therefore, remain at the relative, level, as must all explanations of concept. It is hard to get hold of but all statements about the Absolute, are conceptual.

In some of us, our feeling reactivity to situations, whether those stimuli be internal or external, is fairly well in awareness. For others of us there is a dark mystery that can even overwhelm us to the point of our apparently drowning in an ocean of reactivity.

As with all opposites, when Fear is paramount, Love is less revealed and vice versa.

I perceive Love and Fear as being a unit, as it were, like Light and Dark; when one is more evident then the other is less so. When one is fully present the other is out of awareness! This, last, has been a very powerful thought. Nothing dies these emotions remain part of the human experience.

There does not, I suggest, have to be an object. If we can cultivate Love, we are not getting rid of Fear, we cannot do that, but, in proportion to our ability to cultivate Love, by bringing our awareness to it-to its revelation-we are diminishing our awareness, our attachment, to Fear. Love then, does not have to be projected on to someone or something, it is now the ground from which we manifest all feeling and the base from which we may teach. Whenever we come from the core or base, it is like being in what athletes might call the “zone” .There is only what is without any particular, obvious, separate, cause. We can let the work do the work; the body perform its very best or, in the case of teaching just listen to the teaching that comes out, Perhaps one can say, the teaching speaks and I just hear what is coming out; there is, in that moment, however long it lasts, no “me” that needs to construct something (It has, in this moment, occurred to me that the same paradigm operates everywhere, in all aspects of our life, not just in the field of feelings-perhaps that is another story?).

I have come to say that we manifest feeling, rather than feeling manifests in us, as I believe the forms feelings take to be a reflection or expression, of our, undigested, life experience, rather than something given. We are victims in the sense that we are not aware of that but allow ourselves to be largely re-active, to a stored and unreleased collection of emotional experiences which are no longer happening.!

Is this definition of suffering, because that is what it really is, difficult from the Christian view-point? (The Christian view point is multi-faceted as is the Buddhist view-point. They are both many leveled and I extend this suggestion to all religions). I am not sure that it needs be difficult; ‘do you not know that your body is the temple of the indwelling Holy Spirit?’ 1 Corinthians 6. (I have italicised know to resonate with to be aware.) St Teresa of Avila states quite firmly that the prime study needs to be of ourselves.

In the same way that I suggested that Love and Fear do not have to be projected but known in their essence, so I further suggest that gnosis, does not have to be projected but reveals itself from the Holy Spirit which is in-dwelling.

I have often used the word revelation. Revelation does not occur in busyness. In busyness, space is too crowded with experience for there to be room for expansion of awareness.

Emptiness is rare but a cultivation of non-attachment to what arises in the play of mind serves well to keep under-nourished the dance of form, energised as it is by attention. Stillness is not a doing, it is a state of inattention to the dance. We should be better served, perhaps, if we were to combine fuller awareness of our emotions, they need to be heard, with less feeding of them through trying to get rid of them with the analytic re-ification of some psychotherapeutic models.

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7. What does passing all understanding mean if not outside, not subject to, the intellect?

Perhaps this quote resonates with, “Nirvana is beyond extremes;” one of the Four Seals, as they are called, which define a Buddhist. Beyond extremes means, in this case, not subject to definition by the intellect; or “passing all understanding”. “ .If we penetrate the nature of reality, it is also possible to achieve that cessation within our minds and as the fourth seal states, such a cessation or liberation is true peace.” The Dalai Lama.

I submit that the Christian and the Buddhist standpoint are so similar in that revelation arises out of Spirit/Emptiness, in both cases indefinable, and takes form in the relative me. The relative me is that in which God lives but is not God. Other than at the Absolute level, which I cannot comprehend, or I should have reduced the Absolute to a concept, an object!

You are all Buddhas! Wake to that! 

(see Intermezzo 7: WAKE UP Submitte by Jo Feat)

I would much rather rest in peace than bliss, which is reactive. Peace, you could say, is proactive. I like that concept very much.

Somehow, this small offering came out of a quote by Jacob Needleman, of Anthony Bloom (Metropolitan Anthony), reported in “Lost Christianity.”

Anthony says “In prayer one is vulnerable, not enthusiastic. And then these rituals have such force. They hit you like a locomotive. You must be not enthusiastic or rejecting-but only open. This is the whole aim of asceticism; to become open” I read this and thought of “let the work do the work” and realised, once again, that we are all actually one, the rest is dogma…and wept for joy.

Is Peace then, the peace that passeth all understanding, the substrate of both Love and Fear? I experience that it is but I do not know how to turn it on!

It is; just that, when all else is surrendered and the struggling to understand is relinquished.

This article is beautifully illustrated in a feedback I have received in the last couple of days from Nicola Davies (printed with permission) and which is printed as a response to Intermezzo 6 “Entering The Circle- The Great Womb Space” but I repeat it here in this Context;

Wow Mike That has just about summed up my week in France last week. The strong resistance to going there, the bewilderment and utter confusion I have felt for months now. I felt like a caged animal a lot of the time last week, restless but very energised (I only slept 2 or 3 hours max each night) and also there was a deep sense of mistrust towards my captors. I often looked to the hill behind where sit you and had such a longing to run up the hill into the woods at the top – I felt wild ,full of mischief and playfulness and there was a deep longing to be free. It was extremely difficult for me to come to France. The resistance was enormous but something got me there. A week before the course I had been walking in the woods with my dogs and I had suddenly stopped with a thunderbolt realisation that there was nothing I could do anymore, I simply had to let go and that was that – it wasn’t up for negotiation.That was what I did every morning in the boat at the Mill, I just asked for help to give me the courage to be with whatever came up and to stop running from it. On the Thursday something shifted and I guess sunk to a new level or became embodied. A little more trust came, the possibility that it is ok to be here ( I mean be alive here ) and a huge sense of relief. After Embodiment 2 i felt so angry with you Mike (for 3months in fact) and I was disillusioned with you and the work and that was extremely uncomfortable. I don’t know what got me to France but something knew I had to go and I’m very pleased I did. My heart has been hurting so much the last few months and i told you I had been having palpitations and it had felt like I had a vice crushing my chest – it had prevented me from running, something I have always done. This morning I went for a long run, but it was different, my chest felt free and also I felt I wasn’t running out of anger I was running for the joy of running, because I could , because i was free to do so— and it felt wonderful. As usual I can’t find the words. The timing of this piece is perfect.

Thank you Mike. With lots of love from Nicola

All of us in the group felt much moved by the shining serenity of Nicola on the last day. The work had done the work and we had all been blessed. Michael, one of our number voiced it as follows; I think the most satisfying aspect of the three-part course, was the radiant peace emanating from Nicola at the end of the week.

“For someone
At the journey’s end,
Freed of sorrow
Liberated in all ways,
Released from all bonds,
No fever exists.”

-The Dhammapada

As I begin to relate to it, the journey is into awareness, in the present, not a linear progress through this conceptual life. The sorrow is attachment to the insubstantial. Freedom is in presence, not reactivity, the bonds are undigested life experience and the fever is intellectual striving.

Love and Fear come together and get heightened around the subject of death. I wrote this at the beginning of 2007 following one of my sporadic brushes with that change of state – some of you have read this before – but I offer it again as an experience ( possibly ) of an alternative way of looking:

The Rainbow.
The stone, the trees, the gently falling hills.

The water, gathered in the folds, to serve the long-quiet Mill.

A place to rest, or sit, it matters not.

I contemplate the source, set in the chalk-white down

From which the water flows;

Cold from the earth but soon to warm;

Enlivened by the mighty sun, which, like a heart,

Quickens the rise and fall of breath.


Fire, earth and water, dance

and take this fragile, mortal form a while;

‘till comes the in-breath and tired of this ancient sport,

this separation from the source,

the parts unwind and lifted by the sun, borne by the wind,

fall again into the infinitude of the Mother.


“Look, there’s a rainbow!”

MB Jan 07

Print this article in pdf Print this Article

3 thoughts on “Teaching December 2009: Love and Fear

  1. This reminds me of the relationship between humans, God and Satan. “A Secret History of the World” (Johnothan Black) is worth reading on this, as are the teachings of Bruno Groening. When we orient towards Creation, we turn away from pointless destruction, and experience Love. This may be somewhat agitated at first – but settles down through Appreciation (also see HeartMath.org!), Gratitude and maybe even Awe, into something that is a loving, grateful, abundant, intelligent, creative and fecund stillness. As humans, we have a choice, and exercising that choice (do I choose love or fear?) is our primary task. HeartMath have very clearly shown that our physiology is optimised to the spectrum of Love, at which the ANS is dynamically balanced. I can choose to orient my *attention*, (which is perhaps the usual way this is interpreted) but also, I can choose to orient my whole being, including my choice of which thoughts I wish to take part in. It’s somewhat ironic that we live in a consumer society that has excess choice, and I suspect that this is a displaced need to choose at a far more fundamental level.

    I also experienced yesterday something quite interesting along these lines – that fear itself is analogous to the fear of a baby that has no contact with its mother – but instead is a bottom-line metaphysical fear of having lost contact with the creation/creator, and is almost the wail of a child lost in the space between the stars.

    Returning to the subject of attention, and what to place it on…. I worked for a while as a mathematical hydrologist, and one thorny issue was the resolution of non-convergent infinite series, used to determine a flow field in a non-infinite space (i.e. with at least one finite distance boundary). The terms of the infinite mathematical series created by the boundary reflection sometimes gave a totally different (apparently correct) answer depending on the method of integration or even the order in which they were added together. I sometimes think experiences are rather like those infinite series terms. Each experience is an individual term, or even a summation from a particular perspective. But if you were to set nature to the task of summing them “as they are” in a real situation, it would unerringly go to the “correct answer”…. How do we decide which we are engaging with/paying attention to? Is it one of an infinite number of possibilities, or has it converged of itself?

  2. This submission from Andrew Cook RCST is very useful as it adds a resonance from another model to several of the concepts touched on in my piece. He does something else, he also says “yesterday I experienced something interesting along these lines.” That to me is the important thing in this work-the experience-anything other than that remains a concept and is therefore of the Intellect and not the Spirit, until it is experienced: we could say embodied.

    In my article, I failed to accent enough that Love and Fear are of course experienced ibn the body-not “out there somewhere”-and that the level of Being that is interior to, beyond, under (whichever you will) both is elso experienced in the body. The Buddha was at pains to describe enlightenment as being in the body, not located in some other place that we might go to after aeons of struggle. It is who you are, there is only the surrender of what is not concrete anyway, to reveal it.

    Thank you, Andrew.


  3. This seems like a good place to put in a response from M.H-D, another Michael. Michael is not a new age therapist but, rather, a retired (quintisentially English) – to use his expression below – Judge. This work is not about professions – you do not have to be a therapist of any ilk – but is about human beings, all of whom experience love and fear. These are his words:-

    I first attended one of Mike Boxhall’s courses about five years ago. A chum had been muttering at me for a while that she thought it would be fun. I had been therapist hopping for many years. But she actually meant it would probably do me good, although she was too wise to say so.

    My first sight of Mike was of him moving rather quickly with an uneasy sense of urgency, clip board in one hand, and spanner in the other, towards the front door of Duncton Mill. Spying my smiling face, after the briefest salutation, he enquired if I could fix the overflowing loo on the top floor. Such was the spirit of Duncton Mill, or perhaps the energy, that Mike and his courses had generated that not only did the request seem entirely reasonable, but my response was of course in the affirmative.

    After that Introduction to the Blessing of Insecurity and a full Blessings course, only because I really wanted to do the Bliss of Being Ordinary Course, I enrolled on the Embodiment of Spirit Course in May 2009. I have no effective knowledge of human anatomy I have no therapeutic training, but I have long had an intellectual fascination with the Spirit.

    The first course I thoroughly enjoyed, and it was only in the last moments of the last session that I found words coming from my mouth that had not been generated in the conscious mind. I was on the way! And, I met someone with whom I have formed a strong nourishing friendship.

    The next course, a full week’s Blessings course, was more dramatic. I got in touch with areas I did not know existed, I could have been very scared, I was not because for some magical reason I always feel entirely safe in the space that Mike generates. Again I met someone with whom I have formed a heart felt relationship.

    The Embodiment of Spirit being three connected but separated weeks was extremely powerful. I do not know whether the fact the last week was in Aumale rather than Duncton made any difference, but the depth and power of the experience was tremendous. Again I made firm heart felt communications with several others.

    The essence for me, on my spiritual journey, is that words alone are too limiting for adequate growth, which is, I am sure, why I find the combination of words, and table work so appealing and powerful. We need the words because it is through them that we gain access to the infinite lake of the spirit that lies beneath. At first I got hung up with technique and people going on about tides and all that, but during the last course I had, for the first time, a felt sense of Mike’s core dicta: “let the work do the work” and “trust the tide”.

    Because we on this last course straddled both Duncton and Aumale Mills I would like to say something about the difference. Duncton Mill is quintisentially English. Aumale, is utterly French. On one level it has a more functional air. The heart of the matter the work room has to be felt to be appreciated. A light, visually pleasant room, clad entirely in warm pine, undoubtedly created in love, with an energy that is sublime. If that is not enough, just go for the food, which is excellent.

Leave a Reply