In life, there is no ultimate security – only what exists in the present moment, what you hold in your hand and heart right now, nothing more, nothing less.
For many, this is a hard fact to digest, let alone accept, something which is reflected in our capitalist culture based on consumption. To medicate ourselves against the frightening tenuousness of existence, we chase stability in the form of careers, relationships and material objects to soothe, reassure and satisfy.
Why else, then, do so many people spend many hours of their lives each day engaged in activities they loathe purely for the money, or feel such an urge to “settle down” and get married? Why do so many yearn for what popular media has described to be “true love”, hoping a prince or princess will ride into their lives on a white horse, ready to banish away all their problems with a flick of a sword?
The truth is, we are all, deep down, scared, because some part of us, usually subconsciousness, knows that even the richest or successful person on earth does not have security. One moment you could be at the prime of your life; but one accident, one bout of illness, could change it all. No matter many zeroes trail the ends of numbers on your bank statements, the number of zeroes at the end of your age will only ever be one or two.
As I child, I did not understand this, and this resulted in a form of depression that festered beneath the skin, paralyzing but unseen. In order to gain some sense of security, though I did not realise the reasons behind my actions at the time, I hoarded objects: toys, and hair clips, pretty stones and clothes. Before bed, I got into the habit of arranging and checking my possessions, as if suspicious bogeyman monster would slump out from beneath my bed in the middle of the night to filch some of them.
Contrary to popular belief, materialism is not a product of greed, but of insecurity. Adult hoarders, whose homes overflow with junk and debris, with stuff, so that there barely exists any room left for functional living, are in fact deeply afraid of the world, and to comfort and make themselves feel more safe, they accumulate objects. Dragons hoard and sit atop piles of gleaming treasure even though the bounty serves no purpose for them; instead, it is the solidity of it, beneath their scaly legs, which makes them loath to leave it.
As with all fears, to face is to banish; and the fear of insecurity is no different. Nothing which can be, in a sense, “possessed”, be it the love of another human being, or luxury homes, can staunch the black wound of terror, for this kind of fear is an internal lack that cannot be plugged up by external influences.
That does not mean we can’t do anything about it. First off, however, we must accept that nothing is certain, and nothing will keep you safe forever – after all, we are all going to die, rich and poor, beautiful and ugly, privileged and disadvantaged; it is a simple fact of life. Nevertheless, there are some ways to combat this fear; namely, seeking spirituality.
When I speak of seeking spirituality, I do not refer to blindly following the doctrines and dogma of a particular religion, for that is only another kind of possession, another desperate grasping for security. Instead, what I am talking about are the handful of spiritual truths lodged at your core, most likely dormant, but easily revived.
Some of these truths include the fact that we are all each other, but can only experience life one at a time; that both suffering and joy is transitory; that the present moment is all we have; and that there is more to all this, this life, this consciousness, this existence, only perhaps the information will forever be barred from us to preserve our sanity.
In any case, next time you lie awake at night in bed, feeling adrift and afraid, your mind snatching at this and that thought to gnaw and worry over, remember this single phrase: It Is Okay. Do not think too deeply about things; do not fret, or try too hard to control your life. Instead, flow in it, a part of the grand cosmic dance that is the universe, rejoice in the tiny role you have been given, and tap your heels in a few happy little clicks before you fade back into the symphony.