Fear is as much a part of human nature as is breathing. We all experience it all the time, often without even being conscious of the fact that what we are feeling is, in fact, rooted in fear. As with every part of our human nature, fear plays an important role for us but the damage it can do when we are unconscious of it is important to examine.
I believe that all things in human nature are rooted either in love or in fear and if it’s not love, it IS fear. I know this is dividing all of our very complex emotions into two very broad categories which makes it even more important to thoroughly examine.
The mind, the seat of the ego, is never able to be comfortable with the unknown so we immediately fill in the missing piece of information as a default reaction to satisfy the mind that it has all the answers. The greatest problem with that dynamic is that the mind is rooted in fear so that is it’s “go to” resource for the missing piece of information.
The mind is a wonderful tool. It’s our built-in computer that records all of our history, every event and observation, all that we have learned and experienced in life but it has no capacity to understand faith because faith transcends mind into the realm of the unknown, the area of the spirit, the heart, the God-self of our essence.
To examine thought, consider for a minute all the things we “think” but don’t really know. Take a look at all the areas of fear we hold in our conscious mind that are really nothing more than unknowns that we have put a name to so we can organize them and convince ourselves we have everything under control. This is also called worry and it is where a great deal of our stress comes from…from things we don’t even know are true.
I am in no way saying we should never project, never consider all the possibilities and plan accordingly but I am saying we should see very clearly when that is what we are doing and recognize it for its good qualities and reject the aspects that do not serve our best interest. In fact, this is one of the very best ways of dealing with crippling fear. To imagine the worse case scenario, our worst fears, and then decide how we would handle that situation is simply good planning, it assists us in being prepared, in having a well thought-out plan in case something does go wrong; that’s a comforting thought.
But what about all the other times when considering our fears simply leads to worry, sadness, anxiety, release of stress hormones and interruption of our sleep. Those are the times when our fears cease to serve our best interest and turn to debilitating fearful thought, at times even to the extent of keeping us from doing the things we want to do in life, taking the job we are not quite sure we can do, asking for the raise we know we deserve and on it goes.
Books have been written on this subject but this is just a short reminder to take a second look at how deeply aware we are of our own thoughts and the effects they have on our lives. How often has fear intervened and kept us from acting on our inspirations? How and when have we been pulled into an endless dissertation of “what ifs” until we have made ourselves depressed, sickened or ineffective? How much time have we wasted in trying to understand someone or something when there is no real way to know the mind of another, only our own endless speculation based on the fear that it’s all about us, that at least in some way we might be at fault? I doubt any of us need to think about that for long before we can point to a number of times when fear has taken on an unproductive role in our life.
I believe that energy moves like a pendulum, always in motion and moving in an arc from one side to the other. As it does so, we move between light and shadow, the self and the other, the mirror and the subject, etc. I think it is in the examining of where we are in that arc, that will help us to see our fears more clearly and act then in our best interest rather than defaulting into a belief that we are helpless, living at the hand of fate rather than choosing our destiny. All things move from Light to Shadow and both are our excellent teachers. In the light, the voice of fear is simply caution, look both ways before crossing the street, be safe. But in shadow, the messages are much heavier and can appear as a void that is filled in with our endless thoughts of doom and gloom and its friendship is now that of the “noble friend”, the challenger. The tracing back of our darkest fears to their origins, to bring the light of understanding is of great benefit but the subject of another article. For now, I would just suggest that it is in our best interest to look with a clear eye at all of our fears, whenever they come up but noticing where they are in that arc of light to shadow, asking if they are still supporting us or have they moved into becoming a disability. Question how the fear is useful, how reasonable is it, how is it here to help me, what can I do to alleviate its’ concerns and always remembering that like all of life, this too is here for our growth and benefit; it is how we engage it that will determine the extent of its benefit.