Using Your Fear
Reclaim Your Life
We Are Controlled by Fear
"What is needed, rather than running away or controlling or suppressing or any other resistance, is understanding fear; that means, watch it, learn about it, come directly into contact with it. We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it." ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
Western society, Americans especially, spends a lot of emotional energy and money trying to suppress the natural yet uncomfortable emotional states.
- And ... FEAR
The above emotional conditions are in some way or another rooted in fear. Fear makes us anxious, angry and sad; it also breeds guilt and nurtures a sense of loneliness. This culture invests much of its material and emotional resources to deny, suppress and anesthetize itself from 'negative emotions'. We have no inclination to look those emotional states in the eye, and own them. Only by possessing, then mastering our minds and emotions, can we then truly live courageously. We won't eradicate fear from our lives, but fear will not control us anymore.
Fear is a broad theme that manifests in infinite ways. For this writing I will focus on the most intimate expression of fear; fear in our relationship with ourselves, and in turn others. Our primary relationship with others, intimate and casual, are a direct reflection of our relationship to ourselves. This is especially evident in our unconscious behaviors, things we instinctively react to. Our unconsidered relationship habits, patterns and preferences. Those are dictated by our subconscious fears more times than not. This hinders the enjoyment of ourselves, of our lives and those that share our lives, fear is the root of this enjoyment obstacle, fear of intimacy.
Our fears are rooted in our subconscious. The beginning of self mastery is grabbing your lantern and walking naked into your sub-conscious. Defenselessly facing yourself. Counter intuitively, overcoming fear of intimacy happens when we allow ourselves to be completely vulnerable.
"The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek" ~ Joseph Campbell
That is the substance of the hero's journey. Gazing into the dark abyss with a small lantern that illuminates little more than more dark recesses.
Does your curiosity and wonder accompany your fear?
If so, good. Because wonderment and curiosity are good companions. Fear accompanied with a sense of wonder is liberating.
You're managing yourself in the darkness.
"The soul is calling you to a deeper knowing, a more resonant experience of life."
The deepest buried fear of relating to others is fear of being alone, that and its partner, fear of rejection, wreak havoc on our relationships. Many times the fear of being alone or rejected, grows out of irrational self-judgement and self criticism. We think many aspects of ourselves unacceptable, so we try to deny them to ourselves and hide those facets of ourselves from others. That is a malignancy to the trust and transparency that true relationship requires. This is not to say that we should blast our partners and friends with blunt honesty about ourselves all at once. This is about self-acceptance, warts and all. Once we are honestly self-accepting, and unafraid of being alone, then we will be relaxed enough, willing enough, to be vulnerable and be able to share our beings with others.
Knowing Oneself is critical to self acceptance. All too frequently we enter relationships simply out of fear of being alone. We mimic the act of being with another. We reenact the relating habits of others, be they parents, siblings, close friends or even movie characters. We're not even relating to the other person, or ourselves, as we or they really are. We're relating to a self-created, subconsciously generated image of what a relationship should look like.
Know Thyself...It is Your Imperfections That Make You Beautiful
Thoughts Can't Hurt You
As stated above, fear operates in our deep, dark sub-conscious. Negative self thoughts and the feelings associated with those toxic self judgements are suppressed by our ego-minds. Our egos are the protectors of the self. Its intention is to protect you from the judgmental rejection of others by judgmentally rejecting aspects of the self, to yourself. We need to start digging into our sub-conscious minds to examine what our overly zealous egos have buried there, and reclaim the buried quirks, characteristics and peculiarities that make us uniquely ourselves. Otherwise we're simply being a not so faithfully rendered facsimiles of ourselves. Here is an exercise to begin the process of self-reclamation.
I call it the 'murky waters' meditation. It is akin to wading into a murky lake or pond...things touch you that you can't see, you don't know what may be right in your presence...until you feel it.
- Find a comfortable seat, or even lay down. Make sure this is a place that you will not be disturbed at least for 15-20 minutes.
- Close your eyes. If you have an itch, scratch it. We're not seeking silent stillness here. We're going to explore our minds and pull the strings on our thoughts to unravel the unsettling images about ourselves, the thoughts we usually suppress into our sub-conscious.
Now simply watch your thoughts. Do not engage any one in particular, do not judge any thought that arises. In self-reflection, judging the thought is to judge the thinker. Simply observe. Do this for a while, maybe a few minutes.
Did you notice any thoughts about yourself that gave you a twinge of self-regret, or something you looked away from quickly? That is a thought that you're reflexively judging yourself about. That is the thought you want you recall.
Sit with that thought. Notice the thoughts and feelings that arise associated with it. They're percolating up from your sub-conscious. Keep reminding yourself to not look away, or judge the thought or the feeling associated. This is where you're remembering to trust yourself.
Listen to the unsettling thoughts and feelings. Let them tell their stories. Your honesty will be a huge assist now. Remind yourself of this constantly. All good relationships are honest. Especially your relationship to yourself.
Converse with yourself now. If the thoughts that arose were reminders of past unsavory behavior, then remind yourself that you didn't know any better then.
Initially don't overdo this exercise. The first time shouldn't be any more than 20 minutes, if that long. You want to get acquainted with your sub-conscious, and it needs to learn to trust your conscious presence. With your growing ease exploring the dark recesses of your being, your subconscious will reveal more valuable pearls that are buried there.
“To know a species, look at its fears. To know yourself, look at your fears. Fear in itself is not important, but fear stands there and points you in the direction of things that are important. Don't be afraid of your fears, they're not there to scare you; they're there to let you know that something is worth it.” ~ C. JoyBell C.