“… when we try to understand the present by comparing it with memories, we do not understand it as deeply as when we are aware of it without comparison.”
— Alan W. Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity (p. 92)
“If you hold to my teaching… you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
— Jesus Christ, John 8:31-32
The wisdom of insecurity is a sagacity of God because, using it, we defy our cowardice.
Defying our cowardice — a cowardice which is essentially a turning away from the truth of the moment, when it’s uncomfortable — is remarkably simple.
But we must first embrace the trippy existential risk of being free to remain insecure.
ENTERING THE PARADOX – DO NOT RUN FROM INSECURITY
Most believe that we’re revealed as insecure, which leads us to turn away from boldly staying in the moment, but recognising ourselves as insecure in those moments of insecurity is the key to choosing the better option of courage.
It has to be done via our awareness, consciously correcting the turning away, staying put.
Being of courage means we have to choose to stay in the feeling of insecurity, resisting running from it by some cover-up of fake bravery. Such falsehoods betray only ourselves. We know deep down we can fool everyone else, but we can never fool ourselves where our consciences care.
Watts says that, in fearful situations, we divert from present experience into the supposed safety of memory for a way to escape the harsh truth we’re encountering. But in that we slide away from being present, missing its depth, failing to appreciate its implicit value.
THE DANGERS IN NOT BEING PRESENT
We can only respond poorly when we’re not present.
By not trusting ourselves to the truth, we do not trust God regarding the reality we find ourselves in, and we turn away from being true, accepting our own plea bargain by choosing a disguise. The crazy thing is we think we’re safer doing this. We actually deprive ourselves of the safety of the more reliable truth when we fashion for ourselves a lie to live within.
In not being present, we opt to escape into a memory of a similar situation in the past.
That’s dangerous, because even if that way of responding was appropriate, it can’t be appropriate for this new situation, as all situations are different. Besides, as we go by feel we genuinely miss the depth in the present moment; all the myriad detail, the authentic intel, that should otherwise inform our response.
ANXIETY – WISDOM’S DOORWAY
Insecurity underpins anxiety, so it can be well assumed that anxiety is our cue to embrace and not avoid our insecurity. To do this, we will need to face something that’s horrid for a moment — a secondary emotion, to prefer a primary emotion. This is being honest through being vulnerable. That’s not usually a comfortable experience.
So isn’t it astounding and refreshing and bizarre that anxiety is good. That in trying to avoid it or overcome it, we’ve been doing the wrong thing all along. We more ought to make a home for it, which is about challenging our inner being to love the nemesis.
Might sound crazy, but the weakness we have learned to embrace is the tormenter we have learned to accept, and finally it has permission to go!
Regarding anxiety, giving up the fight is one way we win the fight. Regarding the insecurity that buttresses anxiety, instead of running from it we rise from within the midst of it.
Wisdom counterbalances life within the cherished irrevocable world of truth.
In anxiety, in insecurity, in them both, are rudiments for life, when we stay right there and resist running.
We overcome our anxieties and insecurities when we hear them knocking and we invite them in as cherished guests. Then we find courage rises, because, to accept such unwarranted guests, is in itself courage. And, as courage rises, we have less need for anxiety and insecurity, without forgetting the power available in being honest within weakness.
When signs of anxiety and insecurity are embraced, a wider, deeper, more functional and beautiful present opens up to us. We’re no longer occupied and consumed by resistance, and we’re freer to think and feel and act.