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Fear

[Photo: eclipse by hodgers]

My belief is that fear is the cause of all suffering. It is the root of all our insecurities, prejudices, and limitations. Our fears hinder us from fully revealing our true selves to others and also inhibit living a joy filled life.

Our challenge during our lifetime is to identify and accept our fears, exposing their roots and weaknesses. It is only then that we can eradicate them from our psyches, giving us emotional and intellectual freedom. It is only then that we will experience unconditional happiness!

What fear do you most want to be rid of forever?1

Personally, I struggle with a fear of not being in control. Trying to be on top of every situation and person in my life can be emotionally exasperating! Learning to go with the flow, instead of manipulating the flow, is definitely a lesson I need to practice much more often!


1Question selected from The Conversation Piece by Nicholaus and Lowrie

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I agree that fear hinders our ability to experience joy. It's a shame that society is constantly trying to bandage our opportunities for growth. However, a challenge is only realized after we have face our own truth and not liking what we see, walk a different path in search of our true self. Few are gifted to begin the path from the very beginning. I found it and am grateful for the joy when I feel it, trying to temper my expectations of joy.

Fear begins as a thought, feeling, belief, or expectation, but it ends up as stored tension in our body, so with that said i believe that it isnt fear that hinders us from joy but our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and expectations of fear. If we can only loose our mind, our expectations, and let our feelings flow and learn to release our tension through proper breathing then and only then will fear be just another feeling that passes through our body like changing weather in the sky.

Personally, I dont struggle with fear anymore, because I let my feelings flow and then let them go. Whatever happens in my life is perfect and will always be perfect.

Our fears hinder us from fully revealing our true selves to others and also inhibit living a joy filled life.

Such a big pause for me reading this.. fearful of my answer to the question, interestingly enough. I think it's probably semantics, but my fear lies in that question spun around a smidge.. I'm cautious revealing myself, because by doing so I'd be accepting (and challenging [taunting, even?] ) the risk of being abandoned by the person I open up to. The "reveal" itself could inhibit the joy I was hoping to attain. And at that point, the Genie's out, as it were. My fear is of the resultant loss.. not in the reveal itself.

...we can eradicate them from our psyches, giving us emotional and intellectual freedom. It is only then that we will experience unconditional happiness!

"and they lived happily ever after"

I find it interesting that this is always left so vaguely at the end of stories.. leaves me wondering if these authors know something I don't about the proper formula for that.. and if they themselves found that happiness that was so easy to write about :) Is it out there? Can I get there from here? And, will we recognize it when we arrive?

Angela,

Thanks for encouraging this important discussion about fear. You are so right that fear is a powerful deterrent to our growth personally and spiritually.

Fear has been a life issue for me and I find it requires daily attention, even though I've made great progress in dealing with this "habit of mind" in my life. In my way of understanding, it is a habit formed by the mind preventing us from experiencing our true nature and keeping us from the here and now.

While on one level, we could argue that a certain level of fear is healthy because it is a way of telling us to pay attention. We'd all agree that an unhealthy level of fear is something we need to deal with.

The Buddhists would argue that the root of all suffering is the "dual mind," or seeing the world in terms that separate, bifurcate, and splinter our sense of reality. Fear fills us as thought and feeling causing us to pull back or withdraw from whatever we see as the cause of our fear. In most cases, this cause is thought and feeling itself. The single biggest source of fear in people is "death."

Most of my fear in life is rooted in my ego (non-real self) that clings and attaches to ideas, feelings, beliefs, and things because the ego believes clinging to these things is a way of surviving. As my ego-self shrinks, my fear shrinks. The implication of this is the willingness to allow the ego-self to die throughout our life. That's not easy because of the years of conditioning we have in clinging to our ego-self and using it as a way to preserve the illusion of a self separate from other selves. Seen as "one," there ceases to be any function for the ego-self and fear falls away.

That is at least my own understanding of fear. Know that I work on this on a daily basis, which I think is the best any of us can do.

Thank you.

King Leo: Thanks for stopping by! I found it interesting that you mentioned that society bandages our opportunities for growth. Your comments made me think about how people with certain fears tend to be attracted to each other in order to protect and foster their shared fears. In addition, groups of people tend to have ingrown fears which are shared among the collective whole, causing them to clash with others who do not share those fears.

How true it is that we must go through a self-realization process before we can begin to confront our fears. Congrats on finding your own path to joy!

Billie: Thanks for stopping by! I agree with your statements, however I also believe that fear is the instigator of the thoughts, beliefs and feelings that cause us tension. Without the fear, the body would not need to react to, or compensate for, the negative influences.

LV7: I found it interesting that you wrote that thinking about what your fear is causes you anxiety! However, you have conquered half the battle -- you have identitifed what your fear is! As King Leo said, it is only once you recognize something that you don't like that you can choose the path toward healing that part of yourself!

I was a little concerned that you questioned whether or not happiness is out there. However, I think you hit the nail on the head when you asked if we will recognize it when it arrives. We often believe that we can achieve happiness by searching externally from ourselves. It is only when we realize that we have everything we need inside ourselves to make us happy, that we truly will be happy.

Don: Thank you for sharing your personal story about confronting fears in your life! I disagree that even a little bit of fear is potentially healthy in that I think that if we could fully eradicate fears from our mind we would achieve a higher level of attentiveness and a heightened ability to objectively view situations and things, ultimately allowing us to have a greater appreciation for the true necesseities in life. And, as you said, this probably ultimately involves the death of the ego, thereby removing our filter in viewing the external world.

Fear. It's interesting to think that fear stems from some sort of change to our status quo, or what we think status quo should be.

I dance with fear every day, both with my personal life and my life at work. In some ways it's healthy to be afraid -- some innate fears of our ancestors sheltered our lineage and gene pool so that we can be here today as armchair philosophers in the blogosphere. I think that you have to learn to accept some fears, acknowledge them, and then figure out how to overcome them.

I wish there were a cookie-cut system to "get over" the things that create fear in us. People who argue that "it's the journey" would poo-poo a magical pill that would obliterate fear, and I can't say I'd disagree with them. It's the journey, the fears, the potholes that define us.

Hi genderist! Thanks for visiting and commenting! You bring up an interesting point about fear sheltering our gene pool and ensured our survival as a species. I have to wonder though if these fears have stunted our development as a whole as they have caused humanity to bifurcate from our fellow, non-human, inhabitants of the planet.

However, I totally agree with you that when we recognize and identify our fears, and realize that our negative behaviors are motivated by fear, this provides the impetus for us to grow and helps us to continually evolve!

Fear is a mindset that people impose on themselves. There is so much abundance of great possibility presented to us as human beings, most people out there do not want to take the time to seek, educate and move forward. I feel they use fear as an excuse not to better themselves. Instead of thinking so much about things you want to do, take action and there are others out there who are like min ded that will help you.

I think people are more afraid of success then failure. They fear once they acheive success they will not know how to handle it. So they are afraid to move forward and face challenges that will arise along the way. Fear of the unknown is what keeps people complacent and in turn keeps them grounded and live by the status quo.

Once people stop living by the status quo, look and see what is available to them on an infinite scale, and are willing to follow the leaders (mentors) who have proven it before them, only then, you will understand how to get past your fear.

Anonymous: Thanks for stopping by! And thanks for sharing -- I think your comments are quite accurate and provide some great advice. I have to admit to being guilty of such myself at times in my life. It is odd how humans tend to gravitate toward, and feel comfartable in, the negative, instead of seeking out the light.

Hi Angela!

Yes, humans feel comfortable being in the negative for some unexplainable reason. I don't know why. I think people tend to gravitate towards that because they are not happy with their lives. They need to gossip and talk about others to make their lives look better, but deep down inside they are miserable and the fear of trying is holding them back. They don't know where to turn to next.

I personally took it upon myself to better my life. I stopped being around negative people or walked away. Stopped watching the 'shock value' news on T.V. and I feel so much better. I still keep up with what is going on, but I can't expose myself to it for very long.

At times in your life when you feel guilty about certain things, as you mentioned in your response, ask yourself, is this really worth my time and energy to focus or dwell on this issue, knowing it bothers me? Let it go, and you will feel better. I know it may sound difficult to do at times, but do you want to be stressed with something that, on the surface may be trivial, or do you want to let it go and be at peace mentally.

Bertrand Russell said something along the lines that fear of intimacy costs us most dearly.

I have to admit that intimacy scares me. In a way it should scare us though -because one is throwing in one's lot with another and the outcome is unpredictable!

Of course fear and anger are two sides of the same coin.

Thanks for your post Angela...it is thought provoking.

Here is a great quote on fear.

"Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy."

Dale Carnegie

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