Unless You Are Staring Death In The Face Right Now, No, It's Not in Question
Fear, what is it really? It is a state of mind that comes from our learned behaviour. You aren’t born with pre-existing fear for anything, you learn to fear things, situations, people, etc. The ultimate fear is death, which is inevitable after being born. Fear was used in less secure times to protect you. This learned behaviour exists in your subconscious, so that when you had a sabre tooth tiger chasing after you, you didn’t have to think, you could just react and get yourself to safety. The same way you don’t think about breathing, pumping blood around your body by contracting your heart, etc.
What’s happened over the generations since we actually had threats of being mauled by sabre tooth tigers is that we’ve replaced real threats to our lives with perceived ones:
- Work hard or you don’t make any money (i.e. you can’t feed yourself and you die)
- Fear God or you will end up in hell after you die.
- Be attractive or you will end up alone.
- Don’t speak your truth because then people with think you’re crazy.
These are the ones we are told. You then have the plethora of conclusions we draw as children about traumatic experiences relating to; love, connection, belonging, unity, security, etc.
The fears we experience as modern evolved humans are far more commonly related to future events as opposed to facing death in the very moment you experience fear. We generate fear based on assumptions about people and situations. Basically we fear an illusion that has not happened and might very well not happen! Crazy, isn’t it? The political climate we are witnessing right now should make this craziness quite obvious to us and we should all be able to act to remove this illusion of fear from our very beings, right? Most of these fears are far enough away from our reality that we have to take someone else’s word for it; fearing minorities, immigration, trade imbalances, etc. This is how politicians manipulate us to follow them, irrespective of party affiliation. We make a conscious decision to buy in to these fears. If the issue that you fear is close to your person, e.g. unpaid bills, family illnesses, divorce, etc, they are harder to see as illusions as they are actual threats to the stability of your life, not a threat to your actual life, just life as you have thus known it.
The ultimate fear is death. However, do we even have to fear this finality of our very human experience? A friend of mine always says:
“The most dangerous thing you can do in life is to be born.”
Isn’t this the truth, huh? So, why would we even bother fearing the inevitable? It will come one day, so why don’t we make the best of the time we have here? Many must experience some form of dying to realise that there is nothing to fear. Basically, when you are faced with stepping into the unknown from a life that you have known dying behind you, you are experiencing something akin to a near death experience. Your old life that you knew is dead and you are in the void between the moment of death and your future; the present! That is when you realise you have nothing to fear, you’ve survived “death” so nothing life now throws at you will be big enough to overcome.
Until that moment most of us will avoid taking risks and stepping in the unknown because of fearing what will be on the side of that threshold. We would rather hang out in our mundane existence than take the risk that there is a something better on the other side. Who knows, it could be worse! I would argue that as long as you pursue your passion and follow your heart and gut you will never end up worse than in the place where you are stagnating. If you rid yourself of your fear, that leap of faith will be a foregone conclusion. In that state of fear you build up a negative reality because you are not living an authentic life. The fear will kill your joy of life.
I went through that process of a ‘near death’ that I describe above and realising that as long as I wasn’t dead I was alive and I owed it to myself to make the best of it. Friends have told me I need to keep some elements of fear otherwise I will end up on the street. Oh, ye of little faith. Removing fear from your life opens the floodgates to your intuition and bliss that is your natural state of being. Remember, fear is a learned behaviour and we were not born with it. Intuition we were born with and it gives you guidance in a similar way that fear does in a situation of a threat, but just far more beneficial and accurate. Fear doesn’t care what lies ahead, it is concerned with protecting you right now. Intuition does the same thing, but has a focus on the results of your reaction and thus allows you to act with integrity and authenticity. Hence, removing fear has not put me on the street, it has set me up to leading a rich life benefiting those around me.
Try this exercise. Write a list of all your fears on a piece of paper. Now, cross out all fears that are not associated with an imminent threat to your life. No, unpaid bills are not imminent threats. Ok, are you left with anything? If you are, then run for your life! Even if you have a terminal illness, you are still alive and have a fighting chance! Remove your fears and focus on what you want in life and fill it with passion, joy and bliss.
Side note: Fear, like anger, is a very short lived condition that results in an adrenaline shot to your system to overcome the threat you are under. If you’ve seen an antelope, zebra or some other animal being attacked by a predator, they rush into action and run for their lives for only a few minutes until the danger has passed, they then return to grazing like nothing has happened. Animals don’t attach themselves to the fear, they use it to survive and then move on. So when you experience that really unnecessary fear, just observe it and understand why it appeared and then let it go. Breath and relax and it will pass.
Also published on Medium.