What are we all so afraid of?

 

When you begin to walk the path from fear to freedom, you’ll notice a shift in energy.

It’s empowering to explore, like an archaeologist digging for answers from the past.

Because really..

What are we all so afraid of?

photo of figure against turbulent black and white sky by Hartwig HKD

Krishnamurti said, “Fear of any kind breeds illusion.” 

This illusion stops us in life, for where we are afraid we are not free.

This illusion keeps us from being with our fears in a way that contributes to our growth and development.

Instead, we try desperately to crush fear, escape it, and worst of all, suppress it – but none of these lead to freedom.

What can you do instead?

Witness your fear as an observer.

Be with it.

Learn from it.

Fear has much to teach you if you show up open to learning.

And that’s how I found myself unable to sleep one night, kept awake by a fear I was trying to avoid.

There in the dark, I decided to face it head on and discovered some truths that grounded me and helped me fall back asleep. There in the dark, I hung out with my fear.

 

Pulling Back the Curtain on Fear

“Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.” - Jim Morrison

It’s true that what you are most afraid to face is also your doorway to freedom. Like the proverbial ostrich with its head in the sand, we let ourselves become paralyzed by fear, giving away our power.

  • Face it. Call it out into the light where you’ll see it’s rarely as bad as you imagine.

 

“Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom.” - Marilyn Ferguson

At first I wasn’t sure this was true, but often the knowing is unconscious. Sadly, this makes very little difference to how we face our fear.

  • Trust yourself to get through any fear that comes your way. You have everything you need, and way more than you imagine.

 

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.” - Paulo Coelho

What you imagine is always a thousand times worse than the reality when you actually face the fear.

  • Stop engaging with the fear. Talk to your heart instead.

 

“Becoming fearless isn’t the point. That’s impossible. It’s learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it.” – Veronica Roth

Becoming fearless isn’t the point, but neither is controlling it. Then why does so much popular wisdom encourage the futility of becoming fearless? It’s time to give this bogus call to action a rest.

  • Feel the fear, locate it in your body, and breathe into it. Going back to its source and feeling it deeply leads to sweet relief.

 

“Don’t give in to your fears. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.” - Paulo Coelho

So much truth in these words. Fear and love are two sides of the same coin, so when you give in to your fears, there’s no way you can feel love at the same time.

  • Again (because it bears repeating), find the fear and feel it. Then ask yourself, “What would love do now?”

 

“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.

When you develop the practice of feeling your fear, you’ll discover the depth of this wisdom.

  • Get clear on what’s beyond the fear, what’s worth your time and energy. This makes it so much easier to move forward.

 

“Forget safety. Live where you fear to live.” - Rumi

Fear triggers our primordial need for safety, but remember, it’s an illusion 99% of the time. Rumi was talking about the lizard brain, but even he understood its illusion.

  • Be with the thing you’re afraid of, and hang out there a while. You’ll find it doesn’t have the same grip as you see past the smoke and mirrors.

 

“There are two kinds of fears: rational and irrational – or in simpler terms, fears that make sense and fears that don’t.” – Lemony Snicket

It’s the irrational fears that shut down your capacity to live life fully. It’s time to get real about what’s so.

  • Say them out loud. Notice how little sense they make, then forgive yourself, and move on.

 

“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.” - Natalie Goldberg

Whether writing or living, the wisdom of these words whispered to me in the middle of the night. That which you can’t be with owns you, so it’s essential to start speaking up.

 

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” - Joseph Campbell

Truth is, what keeps you up at night will rarely happen. What have you got to lose by entering this metaphorical cave?

  • Imagine the worst AND the best case scenarios. Understanding that you’ll usually fall somewhere in the middle will give you the courage to step into the ‘cave.’

 

“The greatest danger facing us is ourselves, and irrational fear of the unknown. But there’s no such thing as ‘the unknown,’ only things temporarily hidden, temporarily not understood.” - Captain Kirk, Star Trek

And here we come to one of our deepest fears – fear of the unknown. Let’s stop succumbing to it, and instead seek to understand. Facing the unknown will expose the faulty rationale that keeps us stuck.

  • Get curious. Look for that which might be hidden from your view, and from this new perspective embrace the unknown.

For surely, if Captain Kirk says it’s so, it must be true!

 

Over to you: 

Tell the truth – what are you so afraid of?