I talked with a friend earlier today, and she mentioned an undercurrent of terror that she is experiencing and have brought up with her Buddhist psychotherapist (who said it is “karma” and nothing can be done!).
To me, it seems that as long as there is a belief in the idea of I, there is naturally a current of terror, dread, anxiety, fear and so on. When there is an identification as a separate object, for instance a human being, terror is an inevitable – and appropriate! – response.
I am an object in a world of innumerable unpredictable objects. I have a beginning and an end, both in space and time. I was born and will die. I am a victim of circumstances.
And this terror may be experienced as a current, always there to some extent, some times in the foreground and other times in the background, generalized and maybe without any clear focus or target.
This terror has been explored by, among others, the existentialists.
Being with and exploring terror
One way of relating to this current of terror is to simply experiencing it. To be with it. To meet it right where it is, without adding drama to it. To allow it to unfold within awareness. To allow it its own life, clearly seen.
Another may be to explore it through Process Work, unfolding the process behind this symptom of generalized and existential terror (I haven’t tried this yet).
And through inquiry, we can explore this by examining corresponding beliefs, such as… Something terrible is going to happen. I am a victim of circumstances. Life is dangerous. The universe is a hostile place. Through this inquiry, we can find some clarity and peace with it. We can also explore even more essential beliefs such as… I am a human being. I am. I.
The only resolution to this undercurrent of terror seems to be an awakening to selflessness. What is – Spirit, Mind, Buddha Mind, Emptiness – awakens to its own nature, absent of any I anywhere.
Here, the remnants of the terror may still go on in the human self, but it is just part of the landscape, not identified with. It just happens along with everything else. It is not a “problem” anymore. It just is, until it isn’t.