The spectrum of fear: paralysis-terror-fear-to be afraid-anxiety-nervousness-distraction.
What is the cause of fear? The situations that happened, happen or we imagine will happen.
What causes our fear? Our thoughts, the situation acts as a catalyst. This means that if we gain control over our thoughts we can gain control over our fear. When I am in a fearful state what are my thoughts like compared to when I am calm and relaxed?
A research study took a group of people, all with the same heart condition and all about to undergo the same operation, and asked then about how they felt about their upcoming operation. Their use of positive:negative words were recorded. This ranged from 1:1 positive:negative words (the negative thinkers) to 2:1 (the positive thinkers). After the operation this group of patients was followed-up and they found that the ‘positive thinkers’ recovered from the operation much more quickly than the ‘negative thinkers’. The quality of those individuals thinking directly impacted on their healing process.
Increasingly scientists -from all fields of science- are seeeing how our consciousness influences matter. It has been found, for instance, that ‘random effect generators’ are influenced by thoughts and there is what is called the Pygmalian Effect, whereby our vision of others impacts on them. A well known example is the teacher who was given the worst class but mistakenly told that they were the best class, thinking that she had the top students and having this vision of them ended up with them becoming just that.
In practical terms
1) Watch your thoughts and move them into a more positive outlook. Remind yourself that it is a known fact that only about 90% of the things we worry over never happen.
The other 10% do happen? These are likely to be the things that we have worried about the most. We are literally investing our time and energy into the very thing(s) we fear. We are inadvertently invoking these situations. When you find yourself imaging the worst remind yourself that by doing so you are increasing the likelihood of it happening; imagine positive outcomes; start appreciating more and look for what you can learn from things that have gone wrong in the past.
2) Move from reactive to more responsive thinking.
Most of our thinking is reactive and fast. How often do you say or do something without thinking and then wish you hadn’t? To move to more responsive thinking one thing we can do is to change our perception. Whether we stay calm or not in a situation usually comes down to how we perceive it to be.
Perception: there are three components: our past experiences, beliefs and choices.
a) Past experiences: When you recall the past are you selective in what you recall/don’t recall? Such as, a dog bit you once and now you run from every dog you see as you imagine every dog you see is going to bite you? Is this really true? We need to re-frame the past and gain understanding and insight from it if we want to overcome our fears.
b) Beliefs: We make judgments based on these, for example ‘What is your belief about conflict?’ Most of us would probably see it as being about differences of opinions and negative. On asking someone this question once they replied; that her mother had described conflict to her as being like the two halves of an arched bridge with the two halves pushing together being the force that held the bridge together, for her conflict was positive with it only becoming a problem when negativity came in. Just seeing things differently was a positive experience for her and not one of conflict.
c) Choice: What is the choice that is in front of me? To see it we need to be in the present. If I am in the past or the future I will miss the possibilities of the present. When I focus on something in the future, about which I am anxious, I close myself down to the opportunities of the present. I can use what I have learnt from the past to help me make my choice and I know my direction (my future is my aim) but the moment of choice is always in the present moment.
Is it possible to fear nothing?
I believe that it is possible, but only if I come from a spiritual perspective. If I embrace the spiritual perspective I can go beyond fear.
Image a white screen and on this screen there are 15-20 small letter ‘i’s; a few medium sized ones and 1 or 2 very big ‘i’s. Now each of these represents a different identity that you hold of yourself, the small ones being the ones that you play less often and the big ones your primary roles, i.e. the ones you play most of the time such as, the boss, employee, mother, father etc. One small ‘i’ maybe the squash player (you have played twice in your life) so if someone criticises my playing well I am not going to be that bothered. A big ‘i’ maybe that of being a mother, now if someone tells me that I am not a good mother… Who is the one who has all these identities though? Who is playing all these roles? This is I, the spiritual being.
This I, the soul, is non-physical but it does have form, the form of light. Being non-physical also means that it has no beginning or end, it is eternal. If I am this soul and eternal what do I have to fear? To move completely beyond fear I need to embrace this sense of myself as soul.
Now our consciousnesses are primarily caught up with the ever-changing physical. If I am the soul then I can move into soul-consciousness which is to be in the highest of everything; of peace, love, freedom, generosity, power, wisdom etc. Now we seek these things in the physical world. If I hold the awareness of the soul all my relationships -as the mother, the squash player, the boss-become ones which are opportunities for me to express my highest qualities and there is no fear.
If we explore our spiritual nature –our highest sense of self/ perfection– then there is the possibility for fear to go and never return.