How To Conquer Fear
I'd like to take a few moments to discuss the subject of fear and how it affects our lives. If you are like most people, myself included, you probably let fear play a part in every decision you make, to a certain degree, whether you are aware of this or not. My goal is to try and make us all more aware of this situation so as to overcome, and conquer fear through alert attention, so that we can realize, as the saying goes, that there is nothing to fear but fear itself. I highly recommend the works of Alan Watts as an excellent reminder as to who we really are. It is truly amazing to me how fearful and worried we are as beings, and I wonder how much of it is natural and how much of it was placed there to allow others to ultimately have control over our actions. I suspect that if we were truly in touch with reality and aware of how much power and control we have over our lives we would see the futility and silliness of all our worries.
However, if this were the case, we could just imagine how little control others would have over such self-empowered entities and I suspect that this would be a major inconvenience for those who wish to dominate the world and future outcomes. Now as much as this might sound like a conspiracy, we must remember that we are all somewhat guilty of continuing to spread these fears through our interactions with others and the 'knowledge' we impart. Examine the things you say and do and you may be surprised to find that you have been hijacked and have become a promoter of the very thing you would like to conquer. That is the incredible genius of it all, we are all in on it and we don't even know it.
Therefore, I would guess that most fear is not natural, especially when we are talking about the paralyzing type of fear that prevents us from trying new things and causes us to stick to the safer path that we feel comfortable with. These fears were planted in all of us, passed down from generation to generation (now gaining exceptional momentum through modern media which can accelerate the process much more efficiently) allowing for a kind of self-governing population that does not have to be controlled directly. The fear keeps everyone in line, preventing radical/critical thinking, which could threaten government, and ensures a cowardly population that seeks reassurance and protection from those in power. If we slowly start to get out of line it seems a major event always seems to occur that scares everyone back into submission, just like clockwork. The mechanism has truly been perfected.
Take a moment, you probably have never given much thought to what you feel like in general terms, at any given point in time, but ask yourself if any of these thought patterns sound familiar; "Am I doing what I am supposed to be doing? Am I pursuing the right career? Do friends and family respect me enough? Maybe I need more money and more stuff to get more respect. Maybe I need more time to get more money and more stuff and more respect. Maybe I shouldn't neglect my friends and family while using all that time to pursue the money, the stuff and the respect?... Damn I'm tired from chasing all of this, but there is no time to sleep because time is what I need more of. Oh, it's probably just a tough period in my life, I'm sure it will get better in the future. Hey I've been thinking like this for awhile now, when does the future get here?"
Quite draining isn't it, and a tremendous waste of energy! Unfortunately, it is a disease that affects all of us. The root of all this is, of course, fear. You probably spend a lot of time, whether it is consciously or not, dividing up all your problems (we believe in the idea of 'problems' even though there is no evidence of them in nature) into a bunch of different little categories and overwhelming yourself in the process when it all really comes down to the fact that we are afraid, plain and simple. This realization, despite seeming quite negative, is actually a very positive thing in that it begins to open your eyes and once you awaken you will never allow yourself to 'sleep' again. Before you begin to start feeling guilty for being afraid just slow down. First of all it's not your fault (you are only at fault if you choose to ignore truth and remain fearful), and second, guilt will take you down the same road as fear!
You are afraid for the very simple reason that it is convenient for those who feel that they know better than you and therefore feel the need to control you. Therefore, parents, governments, religion, and all of us actually, use fear to control. It's the way we were taught and the way we teach; Do your homework or you won't pass the fifth grade, you won't get a job, you'll end up a bum, and nobody will like you. Wow, scary, better get serious or I'll screw up my whole life! Thanks for the good advice, I never realized how much there is to worry about, good thing you let me know, I'll be sure to tell others. And the cycle is born!
At this point you may be thinking to yourself, OK so what, no big revelations here that's just the way the world works so we should just deal with it. Yes there is a certain wisdom in accepting reality as it is because ultimately we cannot be anywhere else besides here and now, regardless of how we arrived. So acceptance is a good first step and resistance to what is can only be seen as a form of insanity because how can we expect the world to fit our narrow definition of how it should be. Billions of people with billions of different definitions, how could the universe accommodate everyone at once? It would be impossible and quite boring for that matter. So yes I agree, accept it but never stop seeking awareness because the more aware you are, the less power fear will have over you.
Remember we are not trying to eliminate fear because it is, in fact, a natural part of life. Our goal is merely to realize when we are letting fear control us. Any bad deed that you can imagine will be rooted in fear whether it be lying (fear of the truth), stealing (fear of lacking), cheating (fear of losing) etc. And how do we stop people from committing these bad deeds? We make them afraid of the consequences using religion (fear of God) and the judicial system (fear of prison). Ironically, if we did not make people fearful to begin with we would not have to later put fear in them! Therefore, it stands to reason that we should except where we are, but through this awareness and acceptance shed some of the worries and move forward on a new path that will feel instinctively more natural than living in fear.
This next part is the toughest, and it is here where most people will find it difficult to make the mental leap and may fall back into their old ways. What you have to ask yourself in almost every situation in life is whether or not you should truly be afraid or if you were only made to be fearful because it is in somebody's best interest. Once you begin thinking this way you will be astounded at how often you are being manipulated.
For example, think about the cycle in the media/news that plays itself out constantly. An event takes place that puts fear in the general population. The people in power explain how they can protect us from this new threat by perhaps taking away just a few of your civil liberties, attacking the groups responsible for the event, tightening up security all around us, etc. And yet, although this has been going on since the beginning of recorded history, the people in power never quite succeed at making us free of fear... something new always comes along to keep the cycle alive, whether it be a new attack, disease, threat, etc. Take a step back and the picture will be crystal clear, and you will realize that this is no accident.
Another example would be the fear of death. If you were brought up under the influence of most western religions then there is probably quite a lot of fear and misunderstandings around this concept. Even if we would like to think of ourselves as brave, there is still, most likely, a little uneasy feeling concerning the idea of death and the unknown which is of course normal, but I use the term 'normal' loosely. Yes it's normal given that you were basically taught to fear death from a young age. However, it is not normal in the sense that we have taken a perfectly natural event, as natural as being born for that matter, and turned it into something we think of as unnatural that should be avoided at all costs. In fact what meaning would life have if it were not for death. We would not be able to even understand what life was if we had nothing to contrast it with. Besides, nobody in their right mind would actually want to live forever, despite the fact we may think it would be great at times. This truly would be an unimaginably torturous and meaningless existence.
In reality, the only reason that life can be enjoyable is that there is a 'time' frame that motivates us to try new things. Without that illusion of time it would be meaningless to do anything, considering we would have an infinite amount of time to get it done. We also conveniently forget that we 'die' more or less every night when we go to bed. We are not conscious of our surroundings, have almost no recollection of our past, and cannot communicate with the 'living' very well at all while asleep. We were 'dead' for that period before we were 'born' but don't seem to have any problem with that period of time of our existence. In fact as the years go by our new self is nothing like the old self of a few years back (all the cells in our body are different and our thoughts are probably very different but we try to maintain a little bit of our personality as to not confuse others too much). The truth is that our ego plays a big part in our deceptions. We are incredibly consumed with the entity we think of as 'I', so much so that our life mostly revolves around protecting this 'I' at any cost whereas everything else in nature just seems to exist fairly effortlessly without all the drama and self-pity.
Imagine how different life would be if we all saw death for what is, nothing really at all, just another kind of illusion that helps the rest of the illusion make more sense. There really shouldn't be much mystery associated with death at all, that just helps build it up into something scary and unknown. Another way to see things is that if life truly can be compared to a dream, then being born would equate to falling asleep and dying would be waking up! As you can see there are many ways to look at the whole situation but for some reason most of us choose the depressing, uninspired outlook that gives us that sense of impending doom in the back of our minds. As if we are really qualified and understand the universe enough to make that judgement. It's pretty arrogant and possibly a bit insane!
So now is the time to ask who has anything to gain from us being under these delusions. Well since, as we discussed, everyone is afraid of loss and is consumed with protecting the 'I', the next logical thing to do is to use fear to exploit others weaknesses and get what you want from them, so as to make yourself better off. Therefore the television, which is used to convey most of the fears that are out there today, tells us to worry about war, terrorism, not having enough stuff, not being liked by others etc. This, very simply, exploits our fears and has the effect of making us give up civil liberties and elect certain people into government who we believe will protect us. This fear also ensures that we will blindly go to work for corporations, to make money to buy products and pay taxes. Doing what we are told to do from a young age, thinking it will one day make us free of fear, is an exercise in futility that can unfortunately last a lifetime if we are not careful. If we don't stop, take a step back, and realize that the fear has to be confronted head on, instead of trying to avoid it all costs, we are doomed to be caught up in the cycle forever.
The only way fear can work as a tactic is if all the players of the game believe there is really something at stake... something to lose. We often tend to get sucked into the game, as well others around us, and we remind each other how critical the game is and get each other worked up when the reality is, there really is nothing at stake, nothing really to fear. Everyone thankfully wakes up from the dream, and just like a bad nightmare you realize that there was nothing to be afraid of, it was just an illusion.
I am sure the point of certain things being out of our control was meant to give us peace and tranquility (since it takes some of the weight off our shoulders) but we decided instead to try and get everything under control despite the futility in that. I realize that you probably don't see the way out of all this since we are all so deeply entrenched in our daily routine, and to be honest, I don't either at times. However, remember that the goal is not to magically drop all the fear, jump up and immediately change your whole view of life. Start by vowing to not be manipulated every time the television, friend, or family member tries to make you fear the things they feel you should be afraid of (remember they only do this because they are afraid too). Simply by being aware, and making others aware, of the tricks that are used to keep us on a certain path is a great first step to becoming the free and powerful entities that we are meant to be. The more people are aware that the only reason they are afraid is because it is benefiting someone else, the more people that will wake up and realize there really is nothing to be afraid of....absolutely nothing. It is as it is.
Trying to make a small difference that will lead to a big difference.
Mystery Of Life
- Mystery Of Life
I warn you that after reading this you may never look at the world around you in the same way ever again. We rarely take the time to look at the world closely and I suppose one of the reasons for this is that...