Fear of the Dark

by Josh

Dark Forest

Dark Forest – felinsky.tumblr.com

As a kid, I was incredibly scared of the dark. I couldn’t sleep by myself until I was around 13 because of all the monsters that dwelled in my head.
“You’re the biggest monster in the valley” my old man used to say.
Cognitively it made perfect sence – but the fear was still there and had me paralyzed.
The worst thing I could imagine then, was to be in the woods by myself.
Once, when I was around 15, I spent a night in a french mountain forest – scared to death and not wanting to do it again.
But as so often, I’m fascinated by this fear and somehow it seems to call me still.
So my newest goal is to become comfortable in the dark. And in the dark forest.
Not to beat or conquer my fear, but to become comfortable around it.

Last evening, at dawn I went into the woods with my girlfriend.
We had planned to do this for a while, but never got around to doing it.
We hadn’t planned very well, so it was a bit of a rush to get there before the end of dawn to spot some wildlife.
Still – once we had settled on the hunters seat we sought out, it was truly amazing.
It was surely the best meditation I’ve had in a while. You have to be very still, not to disturb the silence. The silence is great – when it’s there. We heard pigs rummaging and screaming, the flutter of nocturnal birds of prey and mice rustle under the leaves.
But then there was also a lot of human noise. An almost constant and tremendous hullaballoo coming from the towns below and planes above, that makes you wish people would go back to leading slower lives.

At some point, I fell asleep and was surprised by how relaxed I felt when I woke up. Not tense or scared at all.
Of course, I had Alex by my side who loves being in the forest at night, which made the whole thing much easier for me. But facing fear doesn’t always have to happen by shock therapy. I’m fine with taking baby steps.
Thanks sweetie, I’m already looking forward to going again.

My aim is to be comfortable with my fear of the dark forest.
To notice it, but not to be constantly on the run from it.
It’s been a while since I thought about the whole comfort zone thing, but last night brought me back in touch with it.