The spiritual path is full of joy, struggle, patience, growth, obstacles, miracles, and much more. But we do it because we know there is a different way of being in life, one with less struggle, less “obstacles” because we start to see life from a different perspective. Walking the path changes the lens of our perceptions. Part of this journey is looking at fear: why we have it, how to notice it, and how we can live life with courage to walk into the fear. No easy task!
Reflecting on the first nights Continuing Meditation class topic this week of “Stepping into Fear”, fear is present all around us. We learn it from parents “Be careful, you might hurt yourself,” teachers “Do your math, or you’ll fail class,” and especially the media (it’s what sells the news!) “Suicide bomber kills 22 people in…,” “Car crash injures 3, kills 1 person on Hwy…”. Fear helps control the people.
However, fear comes from within as well, and sometimes more so. How many of your daily decisions are based on fear? Fear of financial insecurity, fear of aging, fear of intimacy, fear of being alone, fear of being out of control, fear of making a mistake, fear of rejection, fear of success, fear of death…there are many more to add to the list. Fear is a natural human trait to help us survive, but it can also prevent us from being all that we can be, from being our full potential.
According to Wikipedia, fear is defined as: “a distressing negative sensation induced by a perceived threat.” It goes on to say “Fear almost always relates to future events.” We believe that in the future something may happen, without actual evidence for it. Which of your fears are reality based, where the fear arises while you are actually experiencing the circumstances you fear? When we are truly present in a situation, there is no room for fear, it cannot exist. When has life not worked out?
Worry and anxiety are also forms of fear, believing something might happen. Ultimately all fears lead to the fear of death, of life being impermanent. We are not in control of life, life is being lived through us. Each day we can choose to let go of wanting to be in control, of trusting in the universe or life, this is the opportunity fear gives us. Notice when fear comes up, notice how it feels in the body, and make a choice to honor it, to say thank you, and walk right into it. Do something that risks “failure”, take a dance class where you risk making a “mistake”, speak your truth to someone you have been afraid of speaking to. Step into life each day with courage!
Easier said than done you might be thinking! Yes, it takes practice, but it’s worth it, you are worth it, the impact you make in this world by stepping into your fears is worth it! Here are some helpful tips on Stepping into Fear:
•Stop reading the newspaper in the morning or listening to NPR news (this fills our minds and body with negative energy). Instead read something inspiring or uplifting.
•Notice when you make a decision to not do something based on fear such as not taking a class because you are afraid of not having enough money, or telling your friend how you truly feel for fear of being judged.
•Notice what fear feels like in your body. Is it a tightness in the chest? Is it an unsettled stomach? A feeling of dread or heaviness?
•Take a deep breath, and make a choice to do opposite of what your fear is telling you to do. You’ll be surprised!
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Categories: Conflict & Forgiveness