Fear is Not Our Enemy
There are several very efficient and innovative methods for dealing successfully with fears, i.e. reintegrating them back into our personality. But first, let me elaborate a little bit on the nature of fears.
What are fears?
Fears, together with desires, are some of the basic life dynamisms in every living creature. Fears drive us back from an experience, while desires drive us toward it. Those are two basic dynamisms within us – the repulsive and the attractive ones. Therefore, they are deeply ingrained in the roots of every human being, which makes them extremely important to deal with in any kind of psychological or spiritual work.
In psychology, fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion induced by a real or imaginary threat, which causes a change in our thought patterns, biological functioning or behavior (such as running away, hiding or freezing).
Types of fears
The function of rational or appropriate fears is mostly protective – they help us to survive and they are related to our primal biological needs – avoiding life-threatening situations and as such have inherently positive roles. Generally speaking, we don’t have to overcome them, unless they are exaggerated.
Irrational or unfounded fears are induced by some imaginary threats and they are responsible for undermining our health, confidence, desires, plans, hopes, and relationships with others. Therefore, we should deal with them as meticulously as possible.
These are the most common irrational or exaggerated fears in people (often referred to as phobias):
Every fear has its own trigger which launches it. It could be a concrete person or situation which appears from time to time in our everyday life. Or it’s the occurrence of a specific thought or another emotion within us.
For example, our boss has invited us to a meeting. Although you exactly knew that the subject of discussion shouldn’t be worrying you, it still triggered a strong fear within yourself that you could be attacked. The trigger had been formed much earlier before on many similar occasions. Our subconscious mind has connected these two types of occurrences and formed the trigger and its corresponding irrational fear.
The connection between the trigger and the fear is very tight and habitual, which often means that we need to deal with triggers too, in order to avoid the manifestation of their emotions, unless we reintegrate the emotion itself.
However, if we were able to remove all triggers of the fear (or any other unpleasant emotion), we wouldn’t remove the fear itself from our psyche. It would pose a dangerous situation because that emotion would need to express itself in some way, which would lead to some uncontrolled outbreaks or even to personality disorders.
Thus, if we deal with triggers, we must deal with their fears concurrently.
I recommend that you make a list of fears together with their triggers. Go through the list and try to reintegrate all emotions as well as triggers.
Now, here are several concrete ways to deal with fears.
We can deal with fear in three stages of its cycle:
What to do while fear is being initiated
They say that the easiest way is to put out the fire at the beginning. The same is with fears – we should try to intercept the fear while it’s being triggered. If we had been previously working on the triggers, it would be much easier for us to recognize the trigger itself and the initial appearance of the fear. That’s the ideal moment of entering the state of Pure Consciousness or Presence. Just be aware, be alert in a calm and peaceful way and watch the trigger and/or the developing emotion. If we manage to stay in that fully conscious state for a while, the fear will subside quickly and completely.
If you repeat the same process several times, you can even free yourself of the fear’s grasp forever.
What to do when we are overwhelmed with a fear
If we miss the trigger and find ourselves already overwhelmed by a particular fear, consider that as a good opportunity to immediately deal with it. But that’s easier said than done. First, we must regain our stability and confidence.
Breathe deeply. Many practitioners claim that breathing rhythm 7/11 is the best for that purpose. That’s simply counting to 7 while inhaling and to 11 while exhaling. Our attention should be on the breathing itself, like in a breathing meditation. Just try to consciously follow the movement of air into your body and out of it, along with any sensations that the movement produces. That’s the breath mindfulness.
By doing this way, you will calm yourself down and gain confidence. The next thing to do is to actively reintegrate the fear itself.
In his remarkable book “The Power of Now,” the German author Eckhart Tolle gives us some very useful advice related to the very moment when the “pain body” (in this case: the emotion of fear) attacks: “If you are able to stay alert and present at that time and watch whatever you feel within, rather than be taken over by it, it affords an opportunity for the most powerful spiritual practice, and a rapid transmutation of all past pain becomes possible.”
He adds another concrete instruction: “Focus attention on the feeling inside you. Know that it is the pain-body. Accept that it is there. Don't think about it—don't let the feeling turn into thinking. Don't judge or analyze. Don't make an identity for yourself out of it. Stay present, and continue to be the observer of what is happening inside you. Become aware not only of the emotional pain but also of "the one who observes," the silent watcher. This is the power of the Now, the power of your own conscious presence. Then see what happens.”
Another effective and pro-active way I would like to recommend here is one of the basic Reintegration techniques, Accepting the Temporary I (ATI). It is based on the concept of the “Temporary I,” which is your subtle feeling of self, your I-feeling within your body at the moment, while you are experiencing some mind content.
It is typically located in your head, neck or upper chest, although it could be positioned in another area of your body, depending on the experience itself.
The Temporary I shapes your life experience. It tunes yourself to particular thoughts, emotions or external circumstances.
If the foundation of the experience is eliminated, then the experience itself will vanish. Therefore, if the Temporary I disappears, so will the experience that it produces.
As soon as you learn this technique, you will instantly recognize its astonishing efficiency. Whenever you become aware of your anxiety or fear, apply the ATI method and you will sense an immediate relief.
So, when you want to dissolve an unwanted experience with the ATI technique, you will:
1) Direct your attention to it and pinpoint its location (if possible);
2) Feel your “Temporary I” from which you are experiencing the content, and finally,
3) Completely accept the “Temporary I.”
The only criterion you could use for examining the success of the process is whether you find your consciousness pure, empty of content and diffused afterward, or not.
The ATI technique is described in detail here, while the concept of Temporary I and how to find it is depicted here.
You can do the ATI in countless common situations. For example, if you become aware that you are overwhelmed with fretful thoughts, you can accept and dissolve your Temporary I from which you are experiencing them. They will disappear, at least for a while. Or, if you find yourself flooded with emotions of fear, worry, angst, or anger, notice the location of your Temporary I and accept it.
Of course, if this mind content on which you were doing the ATI arises again, just repeat the procedure until it vanishes. Similarly, if you are in the company of a nervous or irritating person, you may quietly accept several times the Temporary I from which you are feeling the annoyance.
There is no limit to the practical implementation of the ATI, as it requires only seconds of mild, conscious effort to profoundly detach from the unpleasant situation or emotion.
How to deal with fears when they are in a dormant state
Although it may seem paradoxical, fears do have inherently helpful roles in our maturing to a well-integrated, spiritual person. They have deeply hidden genuinely positive intentions for us, but those intentions have been gradually distorted into apparently negative behavior during long periods because of numerous misconceptions, limited perception, and challenging environment.
However, we should reintegrate them. As we are expanding our consciousness, we don’t need them anymore. And nobody of us likes to have fears, so are already motivated pretty well to overcome them.
As is the case with all other parts of the personality, we should always face them, accept them wholeheartedly, and finally, transform and reintegrate them completely into our being, using an appropriate technique.
We should never fight them! If we fought them, we could suppress and push them temporarily into the depths of the subconscious. We were actually doing that many times in our past, but this approach has only strengthened fears, in the long run, enabling them to surface out from time to time and overwhelm us with much more power than before.
So, if you missed the chance of dealing with fear in its initial phase or while being fully expressed, it’s still not too late to reintegrate it. As it is now in its “dormant” state, waiting for the next appropriate situation to express itself again, the fear must be cautiously invoked within our mind.
Visualize one of its triggers. That should be enough for the emotion’s partial re-appearance. Stay fully conscious and aware. Stay present. Then do the ATI technique several times.
If you are determined to deal with all other fears from your list that was mentioned above, just go boldly through and relentlessly reintegrate the fears, one by one. You will probably need to repeat the whole circle a few times, if you are using the ATI.
Don’t forget to remove their triggers. If you don’t do that, the triggers will continue to re-create the fears and aversions, driven by corresponding neurological habits previously formed within your brain. Apply the Accepting the Temporary I (ATI) technique again.
However, there are other techniques for reintegrating fears that are even more advanced than ATI: the Inner Triangle (IT), Single Chain (SC) or Double Chain (DC) techniques, Dissolving the Temporary I (DTI), Dissolving the Temporary I Plus (DTI+) and Gentle Touch of Presence (GTP) – they all are thoroughly explained in the book “Inner Peace, Outer Success.”
For those of you who aren’t in a position to get the book, I recommend using the ATI technique only. Done several times (which depends on the complexity and severity of a particular fear), it will be still enough for this purpose in many cases.
Love dissolves all negativity in us. Of course, I’m not referring here to a kind of romantic love, but to a universal, unconditional Love, deep compassion, like the love parents feel toward their children, or similar. That kind of love has also a great healing power, including healing fears. We can heal ourselves and other people as well, just with Love. If we were able to open up our hearts entirely and lastingly, I believe it would be absolutely enough for complete healing.
How can you wake up Love in your heart?
I can recommend only some of the numerous ways to do that. For example, imagine that a little child, or toddler, is approaching you. It’s smiling innocently at you, wobbling in its walking. It’s so cute, with bright, smiling eyes staring at you. The child is giggling with its sweet voice, telling you “I love you!” You are embracing it with warmth. How couldn’t you feel Love toward such an innocent being? Let Love rush out from your heart.
When you open your heart, let Love fill you completely. Extend it also to yourself. Love yourself with your whole heart! Feel that you deserve the deepest Joy and Happiness. After all, you have always been giving the best you could. You, as that child, need only to be happy. You only want to be happy in your life and you definitely deserve that! Love yourself, your body, and your whole being. Wish yourself all the best.
Love all parts of your being and personality, all traits, flaws, mistakes and imperfections; love the body that has served you so dutifully your whole lifetime; love your life, your past, present and future, anything that comes to your mind.
Let Love amplify and expand to encompass all people around you. Love your family, your children, spouse, parents, friends, colleagues; love your job, your errands and annoying things; love your enemies, too; let Love pour out from your heart toward all of them. Extend your Love to all humanity. Feel yourself as a part of it. Love your darling pets; love all animals, plants and all living beings. Love your Mother Earth, the entire Universe, the entire Existence. Feel the fact that countless beings exist within Creation, and all of them are trying to be happy in some way. Wish them all true happiness with your whole heart.
This is Love and it is miraculous. It can potentially heal, harmonize and mature everything. Try not to expect healing, but love yourself and all beings around you. If the healing should come, it will come, to both you and inevitably those around you. Something wonderful will surely happen, although you cannot know what it will be.
Additionally, here is a well-established procedure for the loving-kindness meditation, as practiced in some of the Buddhist traditions. Basically, it boils down to this:
1. Sit in a comfortable position. Relax.
2. Do the ATI a few times.
3. Move the center of your being into your Heart (you I-point in the chest).
Repeat the following loving-kindness phrases:
4. Think of someone for whom you have very warm and loving feelings. This can be a parent, friend, sibling or even a pet.
Repeat the same loving-kindness phrases toward that being:
5. Think of someone for whom you have neutral feelings. This can be an acquaintance, a neighbor, or even a person you know of from the media. Repeat the same loving-kindness phrases from the previous steps for this person.
6. Think of someone for whom you have negative feelings. Repeat the same loving-kindness phrases for this person as well.
7. Radiate loving kindness to all beings in the Existence. Repeat the loving-kindness phrases for all beings.
Practicing the loving-kindness meditation in any of the described approaches will lead you not only to gradual reintegration of all your fears, but also of other “negative” elements of personality and lead you directly toward the final liberation, Nirvana or God, whatever expression you prefer.
Reintegrate your fears. You will feel immense relief and deliverance. You will release yourself from an inner prison. You will sense the limitlessness.
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