Inner Security

hei! member Andrew Baguley reflects on the personal meaning for him of The ELK-Foundation’s new tagline

A foundation for inner security

taken from a letter written by Albert Einstein in 1950 to a father who had lost his inner security, after the death of his child, and wrote to the scientist asking for possible meaning upon which he could possibly build a future.

The ELK-Foundation, together with the Jermyn Street Theatre, runs the hei! campaign for a healthier industry for people in the arts and entertainment.

I’m rarely free from worry. “Will I keep healthy? What’s that spot? Is it cancer? Why has nobody called me? Have I upset my friends? Will it hurt when I die?”

And these are just the normal existential worries!

I also have to throw the stress of being an actor into the mix. “Was I any good last night? The Director said I was. But did she really mean it? And even if I was any good last night will I be any good tonight?” When I’ve finished worrying about those things I can always panic about where my next paycheck is coming from.

I’m not saying these thoughts cripple me. I still function. But they do degrade my happiness. I imagine a peaceful city-state of inner security floating calmly somewhere in my upper cerebellum, just waiting to flood my body with pods of lithe, sexy endorphins. But they can’t get out! They’re trapped! Surrounded by evil tentacled worry monsters like those things from the Matrix. Always attacking, crowding in.

Ok, I’m being a drama queen. It’s not just me who worries, not just me who get stressed. It’s the human condition, isn’t it? All we have to do, surely, is simply keep it in balance. And a bit of stress is good for you. I read that in a magazine. A hangover from early humans, fight or flight. That’s why we have adrenal glands. Although perhaps I could have mine removed. They probably do that in California somewhere.

But joking aside, worry and stress is a curse. And when the foundation of my inner security is breached it stops me from being the wonderful human being I could be. Perhaps I should look for someone to blame. It’s not my fault surely? My parents? Or maybe it all started when that dog barked at me in my pram. Yet the more I analyse the further I get from a solution.

Recently I’ve been reading about “Inner Security.” Inner security is described “as an awareness, found in a moment when we have chosen to pay attention to our safety, that we can cope with the uncertainty of what another moment might contain.” And that jogged my memory.

Half a lifetime ago I did Tai’Chi. I’d been doing it for 6 months and was just beginning to get the moves into muscle memory. And randomly, as I moved my body, out of nowhere I saw the whole of creation, understood everything, and realised that the universe was unfolding as it should. A second of instant total happiness, and then I was back to, what, normal?  I’ve never experienced that again, although I did come close once in a dream.

Now the universe has been in touch again. By email. It’s told me about the mindfulness course I can do for free through hei!

hei! stands for A Healthier Entertainment Industry and I think the exclamation mark stands for Wow! The money comes from a charity called The ELK-Foundation. Of course I worry that there will be no places left on the mindfulness course. But that aside, if I can find a way to bolster the foundations of my inner security through a structured programme that will be wonderful. And then, I’ll eat my worries for breakfast.


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