Let Fear Be Your Teacher
We all have fear. It’s a driving force behind many of our actions, and non-actions. When we can learn to utilize fear as a tool, we can experience great fulfillment and peace in our lives. In particular, we can feel empowered and not cower to the very things we want to accomplish such as positive relationships, self-confidence and at large, living our purpose.
To learn from fear, we have to first identify the root issue – the underlying symptom or experience that is hiding behind fear. Most all anxiety is a result of unresolved emotions. Understanding the limitations of the mind helps us transform negative thought patterns into positive, transformative healing. Here’s the 3 step process:
Realize You Are Not Your Mind
Your mind is here to do important functions. To think. To analyze. To rationalize. It will also give warnings of pain, danger or concerns. Fears of the mind are signals that something is out of balance inside (or outside if we are in actual danger!). We heed the warning and recognize that although this moment feels scary in our mind, we need to address the real issues at hand, which is often deeper than we want to admit. You are much bigger than your mind. The emotional, spiritual and physical bodies are equally part of your experience, with each having a mind of sorts and it is these areas where we need to give more attention. The mind will always alert you of danger and warn you of pain, but it also can be deceptive and create false illusions from the limitations of its thinking.
Feel, Don’t Think
One of the quickest ways to get into healing from mental stress or fear is to bring your awareness to your emotions. When making decisions or any time your mind is reeling, simply ask yourself “What do I feel?” We often forget to check into our gut and emotions as we depend so much on our rational mind to make decisions. When the mind signals “danger!” or fear, know that your mind is often reacting out of limitations or false illusions to the world, or that there is certainly something inside that is out of balance or integrity. Perhaps fear rears its head when you start a new job. That’s likely self-worth issues from old shame speaking. Knowing that fear shouldn’t stop you, you have the opportunity to go deeper into your awareness and pay attention to the real emotion in need of attention.
Once you are aware of your feelings, the best thing to do is be present with them. Practicing meditation or simple acts of conscious mindfulness can bring a stressful or scary situation down to a manageable one that may not be nearly as threatening as the mind was suggests. Getting control of the mind and being willing to accept your emotions allows you to be present to life, not distracted and worried but plugged into your authentic experience. This is when you experience freedom to feel, act and make choices for yourself that are positive and healing.
Leah Guy is author of the new book The Fearless Path: A Radical Awakening to Emotional Healing and Inner Peace. She is also a transpersonal healer, survivor and media personality. For more info visit www.LeahGuy.com/book