September 13, 2020•822 words
Last weekend, I read a very humbling book by Alan Watts titled "The Wisdom of Insecurity." I found this in an interview of Sevdaliza wherein she recommended this book. It was probably the word "insecurity" in the title that piqued my interest that I had to buy and read the book immediately, because I, too, like everyone else, am dealing with a great deal of insecurity in my life. This book has changed my perspective about that word.
From my previous understanding, "insecurities" are to be rid of as they're obstacles into fulfilling a greater love for myself & for my present surroundings. I have always felt shame for my body's imperfections and my past that it has always prevented me from interacting with the world & people fully. To deal with them is to get rid of them. Alan Watts has challenged this perspective of mine in his book by saying that "insecurity", the "present," and "change" are all of the same meaning. That to rid or to escape my insecurities is to escape my present & to resist change—which is indeed futile.
I am an overthinker, which is to say I always think of the "outcome" or the future of an action I will do in the present, or think that the feeling I am feeling in the present won't be the same in the coming days as they are fleeting. My present spoiled. I then feel anxious, heart beating fast, and attempt to make everything "worthwhile" in the present in hopes that the coming days will feel more secure. Do you feel this at times as well? I have learned from Watts that this happens when our mind (the "I" or the "ego") divides itself from the body and the present, and thinks ahead of a future that does not exist. Yes, feelings in the present are fleeting, as our present is always changing. But the feelings/ideas we have about the incoming days are nothing but just "ideas" as well in our minds, informed by our past and present. They are not real. They are not guaranteed. We might not be as "happy" in the coming days, but we might not be as "sad" as we think we would be as well.
The only real thing is our present body and surroundings. I might be thinking of the sad thought of there will be work again tomorrow, but I am learning to call myself out by saying: one, it is not real that work tomorrow means you will be filled with sadness and contempt tomorrow, and two, that you are not in work now. I might be thinking that my past and my body imperfections are hindrances for me to find someone who can accept me for who I am in the future, but I am slowly learning to accept that these are not to be rid of, as these are marks of experiences I have garnered to be where I am now in the present. That to deal with them is to not get rid of them, but to embrace and learn from them in the present.
One more radical idea I got from the book is that although the idea of the present being ever-changing might be scary, it is also humbling in a sense that we die and are birthed every millisecond of our existence here in our present. I find this humbling because it implies that not everything that comes to us are often good, and they are not often bad. Not often exciting, not often boring. Death of a feeling or a thought or an experience in our bodies allows a birth of a new one. That "new" one, as mysterious as it may seem, if we open ourselves to it, allows us to learn from them.
I guess what I am trying to say is that there is an abundance of things to learn and act on in the now that thinking about the future can't offer us. Our idea of a secure future version of ourselves betrays us from this. It is often we forget that this version of ourselves isn't guaranteed to come even if we take all the necessary steps in the present.
I would be a liar when I say that I don't disconnect from my reality whenever it gets overwhelming. I still do, which is more tempting especially with what's happening with the world. But it's in the awareness of these thoughts from Alan Watts that I find courage and trust in the present. I am learning to trust my body's signals. Learning to trust that answers aren't always sought, but they are also brought by my present reality. Learning to trust that they are sought and brought at the right time.
After all, in restrospect, these thoughts from Watts were brought to me by an interview I read in a time I have felt tangled and lost.