My last article addressed the issue of love and fear. It is my hope that it helped us separate when we operate out of love and when we operate out of fear. It is not fun or comfortable being in fear and it is definitely not easy to overcome it. This article will address how we can continue to move through fear as it arises in an effective way of overcoming it.
Fear is a reactive mechanism that operates when our identity and safety is threatened. Sometimes, this mechanism can save us and another times can debilitate us. We either move to destroy the threat, seek revenge, grasp at safety, pursue distraction, or protect our position. Because we are less present to what is actually taking place, our actions are correspondingly less appropriate and less effective. We get stuck in our beliefs and ignore the consequences of maintaining them.
If we threaten others or are threatened by others, that also results from fear. On the other side, no one can threaten us unless we have fear. If we can get rid of our fear, threats no longer exist. Resistance to something different, especially if it attacks our core beliefs, creates more fear of it and we get stuck in operating out of fear.
How to experience fear and not react? Sit consciously in the experience of fear, become aware of the feeling itself and how it resonates with other areas of our life. Have we experienced it before? We may become aware of older, uncomfortable, buried feelings. We may understand and know directly the reactions that formed in us to keep us from being present in our life. The task is to dismantle the projections and know fear directly as it is, a movement of emotional energy.
Continuously, asking ourselves the question “Why am I doing this?” cuts through the layers of projection or suppression until we arrive at “I don’t know.” Right there we will be experiencing an emotion. Ordinarily, we do not experience feelings because we either act on them and the energy goes into the action, or we suppress them and the energy goes into the body.
Stop all action and all reactive thought. The feeling will be right there. Take residence in it and be the feeling. Being the feeling is different from being with the feeling. This feeling can have all kinds of secondary feelings that may conflict with one another. Open to all of it as fully as possible. What emerges is a distinct and identifiable feeling.
The next step is to evoke the feeling at least once a day and be it. It will release. When it does, evoke it again. Keep entering the feeling by evoking it until we can stay in it. Our relationship with the feeling will change. While being in the feeling, continue to engage in daily chores. Look at the world while we live in the feeling. In this step, we can see clearly that the way the feeling causes us to experience the world is purely projection.
Once we can be the feeling and know its nature simultaneously, the feeling no longer has any power over us. We are free from its projections. We no longer believe what the feeling says about the world, so the impulse to go to war, to fight, to grasp at security, or to protect status dissipates. We let go of our own limited beliefs and perhaps see someone else’s in a different light. We let go of trying to make the world or ourselves into something solid as we understand that all experience arises and subsides. Instead of reacting to fear and terror with hatred, discrimination, or confusion, we live in awareness, not looking to the past or the future for meaning or motivation, but responding precisely and appropriately to the needs of the present.