Whether it is fear of death (or life!), or growing old, or cancer, we all have some fear. Perhaps it is fear of failing (or success) or fear of change, or giving up control, or truth, or fear of intimacy (or being alone). Maybe angst about the economy, or climate change. Many fear their dark side, or their powerful, bright side. We may fear any of the common phobias: public speaking, spiders, heights, etc.
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld says that studies show that the #1 fear is public speaking, and #2 is death, so if you are at a funeral, most people would prefer to be in the casket than giving the eulogy. 🙂
There are authentic reasons we are afraid. We have disconnected from nature, from the Earth, from the Divine, and from each other. We have forgotten who we are. We have harmed our environment–our very nest or home. We are surrounded by unwise leaders and false information. We have gotten ourselves buried in debt. We sense that something is not right. And our mind–rather than our heart–is in control.
Personally, my childhood was terrifying, and I’ve been worried or afraid most of my life, including most of the fears mentioned above. Georgia O’Keefe said: I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life but I never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.
How about you? What are you afraid of? And do you let it stop you from living your life?
Physiological or biological fear is natural, in its most elemental form. Fear is part of the sympathetic nervous system’s fight or flight response. It tells us there is danger, a bear or tiger on the prowl. Feelings work faster than thought. In other words, we need this intuitive, gut level emotion of fear to get our attention fast.
Unfortunately, most of our modern day situations do not require fighting or escaping, so we freeze. The energy that would have gotten dispersed or dissipated by fighting or escaping gets locked up in the mind and energy system, and we end up with a secondary type of fear, an ongoing, overly stimulated angst or worry. Our sympathetic nervous system is not meant to be turned “on” for so much of our life, and this contributes to stress and burnout.
So, while some fear is natural, it is a low vibration. Ongoing fear, not unlike guilt or shame, is very harmful, and we are not smart when we are afraid. Some fear tells you a warning; listen to this! Other fears are created by the mind; do not listen.
Here are seven remedies for fear:
1. Intuition: Move from head to heart. The head (mind and ego) sees other (duality), while the heart sees or feels Oneness. The Course in Miracles says, If you are afraid and ego is in control, you have every reason to be afraid.
2. Sangha / sacred community: Alone we are weak and afraid. Be with those who seek truth, and are willing to claim their power.
3. Presence. Connect to nature. Some call this “Earthing” (walking barefoot). Ground; connect to Mother Earth.
4. Spiritual Practice to Know thyself: Align with Divine or your Higher Self. Do yoga or meditate or pray. Ask for Spirit help. Know your true, loving Self.
5. Victim to Volunteer: Know that we are co-creators of our life. We are not victims of some evil, punishing God in the sky.
6. Clear Fear with Energy Medicine: It is important to heal the traumas from birth and even the womb experience, not to mention past and current life wounds. There are countless ancient, as well as new healing modalities: Vibrational or Sound Healing, chanting, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), eye movement desensitization technique (EMDR), and my favorite, the Oneness Blessing.
7. Face and Feel Fear Fully: This is the most important point I wish to make. We need to face and feel the fear fully (Remember the four Fs!)
My teacher in India, Sri Bhagavan said, “Fear is the greatest obstacle on the spiritual path. Confront your fears.”
A beautiful meditation to do is this: Each day, face and feel one fear. Take a few deep breaths, and feel in the body. Ask, what am I currently afraid of? Just be with the fear. You do not have to do anything with it. Just feel it fully. Breathe into it. Honor it, thank it. Then let it go.
We need to stretch our comfort zone. Practice facing your fears fully, not bypassing them. When afraid, take three deep breaths and ask yourself, is there really anything to be afraid of? You do not have to face all your fears at once, or re-traumatize yourself, but begin to face your fears one by one and begin to see that, as Jesus and other great teachers advised us, there is truly nothing to fear.