You Have No Idea How Safe You Really Are: A Story about Buddha’s Fear of Fireworks

**This article was originally published July, 2014**

Not unlike most dogs, my dog Buddha is petrified of fireworks.  

buddha

Unfortunately for Buddha, our little corner of the world (maybe also not unlike your corner of the world) is positively cuckoo for fireworks. The past couple of weeks have been rough on her. (That’s her in the picture on the right, in happier days).

The night of July fourth, my family sat around our backyard fire pit roasting marshmallows and enjoying the multiple fireworks displays our neighbors put on.

It sounded like a war zone. Because she couldn’t bear to be in the house alone, Buddha was outside on my lap, in the thick of it all.

Huge blasts randomly going off in all directions, and little Buddha with absolutely no understanding of what it was all about.

At one point, as she dug her nails into my lap and scrambled to get more nuzzled in than she could possibly get, I heard myself say this to her: “It’s okay Buddha. You have no idea how safe you really are.”

That little comment made me think of how true that is for all of us when we’re sitting in the middle of what we can only see as a war zone, digging our nails in to what smells familiar.

I’m quite confident there is some bigger force with a vision far wiser and wider than ours, telling us all the exact same thing when we’re in a panic. You have no idea how safe you really are.

When we perceive our world crumbling down around us, we’re just like Buddha. It looks like all hell is breaking loose but we’re only living in a misunderstanding, viewing one tiny, biased speck of the world and assuming we are seeing the big picture.  We have no idea how safe we really are.

Watching Buddha jump and scramble and hide reminded me of myself.  Her mind appeared to work the same way mine does, feeling discomfort and rushing to make some change in the outside world that will make everything better.

When I’m feeling overwhelmed with work I fantasize about becoming a vagabond (or giving up my business to work at Applebee’s). When I’m frustrated with my kids, I try to get them to be quiet. When I’m upset with my husband, I tell him what to do differently next time.

And those things never make me feel better because none of them are the source of my feelings.

I have no idea how safe I am. When I feel overwhelm, frustration, or upset I am perfectly okay. My okay-ness can’t and won’t come from rearranging the outside world, just like Buddha’s safety didn’t come from nuzzling or digging in or hiding.

She was safe without those things, she just didn’t know it. We are all safe without the things we scramble to use for protection.

One hundred percent of the intense fear Buddha was feeling came not from the noise, but from the fact that she couldn’t see the truth of the situation.

That’s true for your fear, and mine too. All of that outside noise looks like it can hurt us, but we have no idea how safe we really are.

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