Have you ever felt that there are times in your life where fear is holding you back? You are not alone in these thoughts. There is a parable about a man who has awoken in the middle of the night to find a poisonous snake coiled next to his leg at the foot of his bed. He lies awake all night, frozen in terror, praying that the snake won’t bite him. As dawn breaks, and light begins to shine on his bed, he finally realizes that it’s not a snake at all. It’s a belt he forgot to put away when he went to bed. Once he knows the truth, the snake disappears, the memory of the night is reframed, the fear is gone and he is filled with relief. Until he had seen the light, as it were, his imagination got the better of him and he imagined his own demise at the hands of the snake. When you shine a light on fear, you can make unconscious emotions conscious and see them for what they are.
So how do we work with fears in our everyday lives? There are countless examples in our lives every day, from the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep. When our pen runs out of ink, when our car breaks down, when a relationship ends. We can use everything that happens to us as an opportunity for ‘waking up’. Instead of trying to fight it we can embrace it. In the first moment when we notice our fear and anxiety beginning to rise, we can stop what we are doing and take a few minutes to tune into our bodily sensations. We may notice that our shoulder muscles feel tense, our breathing may become rapid and shallow, our heart rate may speed up, and so on. We can begin first by tuning into these feelings, and acknowledging that they are happening.
We can begin to deliberately calm these reactions by breathing slowly and deeply, relaxing our muscles and mentally staying in the present moment. Resist the temptation to let the thoughts race ahead and worry about what may happen, or what it might mean. All of those are merely perceptions – not necessarily what‘s really happening. A technique I really love to use is this: Imagine your thoughts passing through through your mind like clouds in a soft blue sky. Allow each cloud to drift on by – without attaching to them. From here notice the spaces between the clouds.
The above is a simple practice of “mindfulness”, where we can open our hearts and minds beyond limit. The result is we cease to cause harm to ourselves and others. We dissolve the sense of dualism between us and them, between this and that, and here and there. We can train in letting the story lines go. We cannot be in the present and run our story lines at the same time. Every chaotic situation is our teacher. Everything that arises is a manifestation of wisdom.
Love is the cure for fear. In fact, Fear and Love cannot co-exist – when one is there the other is absent. The way of the heart is through our own doorway of fear and separateness. There are always new horizons to explore when the heart’s calling is heard. It is is a life path of soul discovery that can only lead to the recognition of our oneness. As our learning expands and deepens, so does our connection to the divine or Universal oneness, and so does our natural ability as co-creators. Living with love will open you up to a world full of exciting adventure and experiences. Fear, on the other hand, keeps you trapped from being and fully understanding the love that you are.
So if you find things in your life right now that you do not love, stop giving so much of your attention to them. What we give our attention to expands. Start finding some things – it can be one thing that you can love about these situations. From this state of awareness then focus your energy on all the other aspects of your life that you do love. From here you begin to create your own experience. Think of the message in this ancient wisdom: “Fear knocked at the door. Love answered and no one was there.” As a wise person once said, “Fear is a rusty lock on the gates of adventure!”
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