A few months ago when I was browsing at the bookstore, I came upon a book that intrigued me by Susan Piver, who has been trained in Buddhist practice for ten years, is a graduate of a Buddhist seminary, and is an authorized meditation teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage.
In the introduction to her book, How Not to Be Afraid of Your Own Life: Opening Your Heart to Confidence, Intimacy, and Joy, she writes: "Each of us is born seeking a meaningful life. We have a natural ability to sense what is significant, live in peace, and surround ourselves with love. We come into this world wanting these things and only these things. No baby (that I know of) ever wished for a cooler car seat, hated her thighs, or doubted a mother's love.
"From the moment we arrive, we are instinctively drawn toward warmth, closeness, and acceptance. When the world doesn't provide what we seek we're shocked. The rejection is completely unexpected and we withdraw.
"Once we have met with a negative reception, our initial response to new faces and first-time experiences becomes fear, not love. At this point we have lost touch with reality, not the other way around, because to live in fear is a delusional state. When we are fearful, we simply can't see who or what is in front of us--all we see if our fear, and that is what we react to, plan for, and anticipate.
"Fear can be conquered. We can meet any situation, important or trivial, old or new, surprising or predictable, with self-confidence, gentleness, and elegance. And we don't have to change one thing about ourselves to do so. In fact, we already possess all the courage we'll ever need, and it--not fear--can animate the way we think about ourselves, others, and the world. The ancient practice of meditation can show us how."
Question: What do you think about what Susan Piver has written? Does anyone do meditation or engage in some similar stress reduction or spiritual practice? How has it helped you?