Fear and Awareness
Fear and awareness are two important words in our lives.
Fear limits us, but it also helps to recognize danger; it prevents us from risky decisions and, sometimes, from risking our lives. The problem is not fear, but how we deal with it. But how can we deal with fear if we try, by all means, to get rid of it, and turn to rationality?
If we accepted fear as our adviser, avoiding to trust, but also to fight it, we would start a more conscious path that leads from fear to fear management – in this case fear and awareness would proceed together; and we could then perceive solutions, instead of trying to get them through limited reasoning patterns.
“If I am in a carriage, and I take my hands off of the reins, the horse will take me wherever she wants to.
Ninety-year-old Frida – a lovely woman – told me she had only one major regret:
“In my life, I almost never did what I wanted! By the time I noticed, it was always too late. You have no idea how much I regret this.”
“Why did you never do what you wanted?”
“Because whenever I was faced with any new situation, or project, or change, I became anxious; I didn’t have the clarity to decide. So, usually I just gave up and chose another path.”
We turn to rationality
“I was scared; my whole life I’ve been running from fear. Can you imagine how that feels?”
It is not enough to simply realize this is the case – although it is extremely important to do so. Simply, if we live in a superficial way, managed by our forces, we will not be able to choose our own path.
Usually, when we are afraid, we will turn to our rational part to help us avoid this fear. While this part obliges and gets to work, its proposal does not take into consideration what we want or need; its only function is to avoid fear. Ultimately, this ends up making us unhappy.
If we turn to rationality, it’s because our fear is of facing fear itself. And, since rationality cannot rid us of either of these instances, we remain hooked on an illusion.
In fact, it is not the job of our rationality to save us from our emotions, and all it can actually manage to achieve, by causing us to overthink, is to help us turn away from our emotions. We are thus faced with a problem which is not easy to solve:
• On the road we would like to follow, there is a “wolf” of fear;
• Another path is open to us, but we don’t want to take it.
So, what is left for us to do?
If the way that rationality leads us does not satisfy, we can ask for advice from our most profound, intuitive part, which can suggest to us a way to pass by the wolf, so we can proceed to follow the road we like…”
Fear and awareness. What happens inside us?
The first step is to check if we are in an emotional Lockdown.
Even if this may seem easy, it is not; realizing what is happening inside us is difficult. We try to escape the feelings that come from our inner world; whether we feel unable to master them, or we have the illusion that, if we ignore them, they cannot control our life. For example, many of us do not accept fear. FEAR is just an emotion we dislike and do not want to have. So we instruct our mind to distract us and replace our perceptions with rational explanations (“Why should I be afraid? Of what? Of course, I am not scared!”).
That’s why, in order to reach awareness, we must have experience in LISTENING with intensity and determination at the messages that come from our perceptions:
- We look for example at our emotional reactions when we deal with someone (are they balanced and measured?);
- We listen to our mood (are we restless, tense?);
- We test our inner condition (need we to move, or do we feel sluggish and bored?);
- We check the level of our energy, (are we tired, perhaps without a tangible reason?);
- We listen to our body (how is our sleep quality? How do we relate to food? Do we feel physical pain without a cause?);
- And much more.
After this check-up, we could realize that something is not going as expected. But we have contacted our inside, and this is a first excellent step towards reality. From here we can start an introspective work that focuses on the emotions we reject; we can learn to welcome them, until they become harmless, manageable and useful.