Like An Arrow

Sometimes you read a sentence in a book or hear a phrase said and it just hits you like an arrow shot through the center of your being. While reading the book, Become What You Are, by the incredible genius of Alan Watts, this one sentence had that kind of impact on me:


As I lingered over the impact of that arrow of pure and simple wisdom, the next thing that occurred to me was a question. If fear were not fear, then what would it be?

For context, I went back to read the previous sentences:

Our resistance to these emotions is as natural as the emotions themselves. Indeed, they are really the same as the emotions, since emotions appear only as manifestations of a state of tension and resistance. If I did not dislike fear, it would not be fear.

Given that emotions are a naturally occurring phenomena in human beings, what I got out of all this is that it is not the emotions themselves, but the resistance of them that creates conflict – or as Watts puts it, tension.

So, what to do with this information? Allow it. Allow the arrow to go through you and shift who you think you are in this world. Allow fear to be there, allow love, allow anger, allow joy. See them all as part of what it is to be human.

Resistance is futile. It would be like resisting breathing or your heart beating. The one emotion that is fleeting is happiness because we don’t resist it. No one has ever said, “I don’t have time to be happy right now.” Yet we say that about other emotions as if it were possible to control them. Ultimately, we control nothing. We only think we do.

What would happen if we didn’t resist the other emotions, the strong ones, the ones we don’t like? Might they too be fleeting?

I would love to know what you’re getting from this. I’ve fixed the issue with the comments section and would greatly appreciate hearing from you.

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