Monday, March 12, 2018

Defining Your Fears. Undefining You.

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

Have any fears you’d prefer not having?

All of them? Yeah. That’s my answer, too.

But to rid ourselves of them, we first have to see them for what they are.

Occasionally, yes, fears may pass away without us ever consciously knowing what they are. But for most, we do have to become aware of them; we do have to consciously see exactly what our fears are.

The point of this writing is to offer clarity regarding fears and then present a simple process which you can use to see your fears for what they are in order to heal.

Fear-Finding Example 1

A lot of people claim a lot of different fears, but they often see or speak of their fears at a superficial level only.

Without self-inquiry you might think, for example, I’m afraid of driving. But the truth is, you aren’t afraid specifically of driving.

What you are afraid of is driving…
  • …and being T-boned by a school bus.
  • …and getting a flat tire and having to push your car out of a busy intersection.
  • …and hitting black ice and skidding off the side of a bridge and into a river.
  • …because your older sister told you it’s a really scary thing.
  • …because your daughter was in an accident, and it could happen to you, too.
  • …because your father threatened to take your car away if you ever got a ticket.

Fear-Finding Example 2

Or let’s suppose that you think you fear not having money to purchase a much needed item or service. The truth is, you may have no fear whatsoever about not having the money.

More deeply, maybe you fear being charged a late fee. You already see yourself as lacking, so being penalized a financial fee on money you don't have is very concerning to you.

Deeper still, it could be that the late fee doesn’t even bother you. After all, in neither case do you have the money. If you’re not worried about one, why would you be worried about the other?

What might really cause fear in you is your perceived potential future of having to ask a family member to borrow money and being shamed, criticized, and gossiped about.

The Consequence, Not the Circumstance

You may not fear what you think you fear, since what you think you fear may well be appearance-based, such as fear of driving or climbing a ladder or moving cross-country.

Where true survival or obvious harm is not at stake, you do not actually fear any particular action, event, person, place, or thing at all. What you fear are what you see as potential consequences in regard to any given circumstance.

Internally speaking, what you fear is repressed, past-based programming, from experience or hear-say, recollected, usually unconsciously, in the present moment and projected into the immediate and/or distant future as, When/if such-and-such occurs, this awful thing could/will happen to me, and I could/will hurt terribly.

Expanding Possibilities

There are certainly times when the removal of fear is not the proverbial walk in the park. Sometimes fears are attached to present or past-life traumas and a healer or specific practice of some kind will be needed for resolution.

Also, some fears require that we lean into them in order to actively deny them their power. In example, if you believe you deserve a pay raise at work but have avoided asking for fear that your boss will reject you in some way, no matter how much inner-work you do, you may just have to ask in order to fully overcome the physical uneasiness of the fear.

Many fears, however, can fall away simply by our seeing of them. Why? Because they don’t even exist; because there’s nothing whatsoever attached to them.

As with the two “fear-finding” examples above, you might fear driving or not having money only because you don’t know the real cause. You’ve made up some false, overarching rationalization such as, “Driving is very dangerous,” and so you avoid driving all together.

If you can, at a minimum, reach a state of awareness in which you realize specifically why driving is apparently dangerous, it should dawn on you that, “A-ha! Driving in and of itself is not dangerous. What I perceive as dangerous is driving on bridges around curves at night in frigid conditions with a headlight out and then hitting black ice and skidding off into a river and freezing to death and drowning simultaneously.”

Wow! What a weight! And even if this particular fear requires greater work to heal than simple seeing, imagine all the other driving opportunities now opened to you that have no relation to the specific fear you actually have!

Write Is Might

That being said, here is a simple bit of process work you can do to reveal, and hopefully heal, specific fears.

What you’re going to do is self-inquire. (Of course!)

You will have to engage your mind for this, but only minimally.

For one thing, facing fears is the last thing the mind wants to do. “Hey, Mind, do you mind helping me to face your fears?” Yeah, right. Also, merely thinking of a self-inquiry question and mentally arriving at answers has a way of bypassing the very answers you seek. This is so because
  1. the ego will distract and avoid,
  2. the mind has to step aside to allow answers to arise from the subconscious, and
  3. thinking self-inquiry can be like trying to divide 27,364 by 54.213 in one’s head—it’s too much for the average mind to process unaided.
Therefore: Write it out.

This does not mean type up your self-inquiry on a computer or a smartphone. It means get paper and a writing utensil, sit comfortably where you won’t be disturbed, and ask the question(s) you need to ask.

Make a meditation out of it. Write a question, place a bullet point on the line beneath the question, and then maintain a quite mind with eyes closed while “listening” for answers. When an answer comes, write it down and create another bullet point. Stay quiet and see what else comes up. Repeat the question in your mind a few times if this feels useful.

After you fill in each bullet point, be sure to create another point right away; don’t wait until a new answer comes to create a point for it. Be proactive. You want to be telling your subconscious, Yes, I want to do this, I want the truth, I want to heal. Avoid sending messages such as, I’m not putting another dot because I think I’m done, or, I already have twenty answers, that’s more than enough.

When is enough? I don’t know. I’ve done written lists like this many, many times, and I’d say that the majority of times it just feels to me as appropriate to stop. I hesitate to call it an intuitive nudge, and I feel like maybe it’s just part of being honest with myself: I question and answer and don’t shortchange myself by saying I’m done if I don’t feel I’ve given myself adequate answerless time since the last answer given.

Inquire, and Keep Inquiring

There is often depth to whatever is being inquired of.

For instance, you may ask, “Why do I fear driving?” and one of the answers you get could be, “My father said he’d take away my car if I get a ticket.”

When deeper issues are unaddressed and overarching reasons are used, it’s normal to carry those issue throughout life and thus suffer a skewed perception and an inhibited free will.

If you don’t immediately see that you’re now 48 years old and your father hasn’t had the power to take your car away for 30 years and so you are free, then you need to address this. You would also need to ask questions such as, “Why do I fear my father’s threats?” and, “Why does my father make me feel powerless?”

You may have begun self-inquiry with driving, and by self-inquiring only of the driving issue you may resolve it. At the same time, if you’re doing the processing, you would help yourself tremendously to continue down the rabbit hole. Something like powerlessness around one’s father is not limited to a single incident. Such a theme will run rampant throughout your life experiences and must be destroyed at its root.

Only self-inquiry and self-awareness will reveal this, and only by understanding an issue in its totality will it fully pass.

Self-Inquiry Is Power

Defining your fears as described here is a most useful tool for self-discovery and healing.

To more or less reiterate: How any given fear will resolve once noticed is somewhat uncertain; some may fall away instantaneously and some may require more extensive processing. Yet of the latter, it’s still better to be aware of what exactly a fear is than to not know at all.

Be aware, too, that this kind of self-discovery and processing isn’t necessarily different from that provided by a trained professional. A little while back I had seen a psychologist for a 5-month period. While I needed the practitioners help to work through a certain issue, I’d already done around 10 years of this kind of self-help work. As such, I had a much greater self-awareness and ability to answer the psychologist’s questions—which were not unlike the very questions you’d be asking yourself in this process—and I’d been able to reach a resolution far quicker, I'm sure, than had I gone in blindly.

There is much healing and positive change the average person can bring about simply by regularly utilizing a process or practice such as that provided here.

Indeed, although I acknowledge that the use of self-inquiry probably doesn’t occur to many people or they may not even understand a need for it, it seems to me that many others don’t use self-inquiry (or only do so in a half-baked manner) because they inherently recognize its power—they fear change and so they just don’t ask at all.

Considering the immense force of fear and how drastically its release could potentially change one's life, that’s saying a lot.

That power is now in your hands.


If you found this post useful, be sure to learn: "How To Remove False Beliefs and Fears".

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