We all experience fear. Fear can be of two types. It can be an instinctual survival mechanism to a perceived threat happening in the present moment. In such situation, the fight or fly response kicks in and we either escape or confront it. Fear can also be an emotion that builds up inside our body and mind about a future danger. When we experience the second type of fear, it’s like a wall in front of us that keeps us imprisoned, with no escape. Not going forward, just going back to that place of intense helplessness. This writing will focus on this type of fear.
We all feel fear, weather we are aware of it or not. Fear is not a pleasant emotion. We usually run from it and try to cover it, placing it under the carpet. Fear can easily turn into violence, either towards ourselves or others. Next time you are angry, ask yourself, why, what is the root cause of your anger? Fear can become chaotic, or, if we choose, it can lead us towards knowing us better and awakening.
All fears, I believe, go back to very primal fears: fear of death, of being alone, of the unknown, of survival, of not being good enough. They are deeply rooted in our unconscious. What are you afraid of? What triggers your fears? Where are they rooted? As Pema Chodron suggests, make a list of all your fears. Write them down. Tell them to a friend. Become intimate with your fears, “smile at them”.
Sitting with your fear is not an easy task. But if you give it a try, as fearful as it can be, you realize that it’s in your head. Fear comes from thinking. It is a game that your mind plays with you. Fear about a future event that has not happened yet. Fear about “something”. That “something” can be very real, but the fear itself, is an emotion that comes from thinking, an energy that can be felt in your body. When you feel fear, you are in the “future”. So the work is to be in the “present”, I believe.
What if that “something” happens? Then you would have to deal with it, but the fear itself is not there anymore.
And you have a choice. You can let it lead your life, or you can mindfully and lovingly decide to acknowledge it, understand it, let it be, and eventually let it go. What good does it do to you? Is it leading you to a peaceful place? This process requires a lot of courage, bravery, and kindness. Kindness towards yourself. It requires you to open your heart and be honest with yourself. It asks you to be vulnerable and in that place of shakiness, find a safe place to be. As we learn to stay there and be ok, we become stronger and find the freedom to choose what path to take.