Fortresses

Nov 4, 2019 | Shared thoughts

Photo by Hilthart Pedersen on Unsplash

Aliveness or security? You choose.

We erect and occupy fortresses — be they physical, emotional, intellectual, psychological or ideological — to protect us from something outside their walls. And what are we protecting? Ourselves, which is to say our selves, our egos. Our egoic fortresses are the assembled constructs — collections of images, narratives and labels — that give us the impression of solidity, durability and independence from the flux of change that surrounds us. We hide in these redoubts in the hope of defining a realm of control within a vast sea in which we recognise we have none. We cower in them for comfort.

These bunkers of self-definition need constant maintenance to keep them from crumbling. The insistent flow of reality splashes against them and drags at their foundations incessantly. What else do we expect to happen when we try to set fixed positions in a reality that rushes, dancing and laughing, at and past it in perpetual renewal? Our tenets and definitions of self, based on past pain and pleasure, now frozen, cannot help but conflict with ever-evolving reality. Which do you think wins?

And reality is not winning against us. It is winning for us. For all fortresses are also prisons.

Do we not see that, however effective they are in keeping out the things that might cause us pain or discomfort, they are at least as effective at denying us access to much beyond the walls that would bring us delight? Our fortresses protect our comfort at the cost of our freedom. Avoiding exposure to that which we fear, we equally cut ourselves off from much for which we yearn.

Alas, we cannot have both untroubled comfort and the freedom to recognise our own peace and wholeness.

These fortresses are a simple matter (not the same as an easy task) to bring down. The world itself, the collision of reality against the fortress walls, will do the job, if only we will stop shoring them back up. A further happy truth: our repair of these walls has been soaking up untold amounts of our life energy, and all of that becomes available to us if we can relax and release from our defense of them.

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