FEAR. As promised, I will tackle fear after we talk about the intelligent way of dealing with criticism (if you missed that post, check it out here https://harpingbyapixiecom.wordpress.com/2021/04/15/how-to-deal-with-criticism-intelligently/) and how to use it as a tool for learning.
FEAR, as defined by Wikipedia, “is an emotion induced by PERCEIVED danger or threat, which causes physiological changes and ultimately behavioral changes, such as fleeing, hiding, or freezing from perceived traumatic events. Fear in human beings may occur in response to a certain stimulus occurring in the present, or in anticipation or expectation of a future threat perceived as a risk to oneself.”
FEAR is a smart leverage that can be applied to sell anything as well as to effect control – from products to services to ideas (and God knows what else, probably even a virus called Covid). Make the people afraid and one has a captured market (or should I say “captives”).
Fear of not having commercial beauty and perfection (ergo, not being enough) bred a myriad of businesses including eugenics of various kinds. Fear of financial downturn and instability resulted in establishment of countless banks, insurance, financing and investment companies. Fear of death and eternal damnation gave way to religions and sects and gurus.
See? I mean, many people are aware of that fact – and yet, like an addiction or bad habit, we let it.
A mind that is not awake – a mind that is asleep – is subject to karma, to conditioning, to ignorance, to internal turmoil, to almost anything that makes our life human.
Now, depending where our maturity level is, at this moment, being human is not a bad thing. Not at all. Neither is being a spiritual being having a human experience. Whichever way we subscribe is good for as long as we understand what each point-of-view entails – and for as long as we can be happy with whatever choice we make.
Going back to our subject matter…
Just like criticism, understanding the root cause of fear will make us learn and finally change our attitude or reaction towards fear.
Fear is the counterpart of pleasure – both features are required for our survival as living beings. We cannot have one without the other. We can only lessen the degree of feeling either fear or pleasure but we cannot do away with either of it simply because we are humans and as humans we live through perception. Hence, it comes as a package deal. Nothing to do about it except to acknowledge and accept that it is part of our humanity.
Of course it does not mean that we should allow ourselves to be crippled by multitude of fears and, by doing so, suffer incurable insecurities and different kinds of dis-ease such as phobias, anxiety, paranoia, depression, obsession, compulsion and the like.
Like an ugly thing, we cannot sweep it under the rug and forget about it. The more we suppress it, the more it will rear its ugly head and manifest in a dozen ways and forms screwing our existence.
What we should do, therefore, is to understand that fear is rooted from ignorance. To cure it, we have to shine light on it. The light of understanding. And we can only understand it by breaking it into small parts. What is fear? Why do we fear what we fear? What causes or triggers it?
For example, we have heard stories of people who used to be poor and hungry. When they get rich, they make sure that they have plenty of food but can still wake up in the middle of the night fearing that they may not find food in their house.
If, say, I am suffering from this kind of fear, what I should do is to understand that this fear has its roots from my previous poor life. I experienced being hungry and I still remember the feeling of an empty stomach, the grumbling sound of hunger, the pangs of hunger and the craving for the food that was not to be had. But, I am no longer that past. I have food now and therefore I have no reason to be afraid of hunger. I can eat now to my heart’s content. My fear is just a phantom of the past. And I have to remind myself constantly that it is but a phantom and I am okay now. I will, most likely often forget, so I will need to remind myself just as often. Constantly shine light on the fact that I can now afford to buy enough food and I can now rest from stressing about food.
If say, I am suffering from fear of loneliness – or of being lonely forever. What to do? Firstly, understand that loneliness is part of being human. Every one of us had been lonely one time or another. How else would we know what happiness is if we did not get acquainted with loneliness? But both loneliness and happiness are states of the mind and therefore something that we can choose to be or not to be.
If I am lonely, I have to understand the why of it. I have to understand what I could possibly do in order to address it – not by applying band-aid solutions; but by deeply looking at it – by finding the root cause. Most of all, I have to understand that my loneliness cannot be solved by having someone around to entertain me and take away my boredom and unhappiness. I have to understand that I can afford not to be lonely if I will it – or if I relax into it and not fight it. Just like the fear of hunger, the more I stress about it, the more it aggravates my condition and makes me miserable. What is there to be lonely about being alone anyway? Being alone does not limit me from doing anything I want to do. Including my wish to be happy. For I can be happy alone and can be content alone – with my own company.
IT IS ALL IN OUR HEADS. This is a phrase that many people do not like to hear as it connotes being sick. However, if understood just the way it is worded, it really is true. Our being happy or our being lonely is just in our head. In the same manner, our being afraid or not afraid is also just in our head. In which case, the solution lies also in our head. It is a matter of shedding light to the darkness that is in our head – as simple as changing our lens of perception.
So, next time you worry or next time you are faced with a challenge, instead of running around chasing your own tail, pause and reflect. Shine light on the problem to find the solution because the solution is in the problem itself.