I was watching Michael Beckwith at the Agape International center deliver his weekly message online, and he was speaking of, well, what he is always speaking of, which is where we put our attention, our trust. This time he was speaking of how we misuse fear that does not serve us and only serves the perpetuation of fear.
At one point he paraphrased the common FDR quote, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” And that hit me hard, because basically it is saying that fear deserves our fear. Does that make any sense or really help us? While I know FDR delivered the statement with passion, since we use it so regularly I think it deserves a deeper look-see.
Appropriate fear is more primal than this quote suggests, often completely out of our control. Our bodies are instantly activated in primal fear, not planned and only partially manageable without deep practice. But this common quote is regarded in society a lot to encourage people not to live in fear. I get that the basic idea is that fear doesn’t serve us. But it is also an example of how we take in information and don’t really critically analyze and apply it to our own growth path. Hearing this quote, probably for the thousandth time in my life, triggered a more comprehensive dive into the fear we do choose to live with and how to live by something that more deeply trusts rather than victimizing ourselves with fear on a daily basis.
Fear is fear is fear. When we feel fear, we are literally soaking in a bath of fear. Fear is an energy, fear is an energetic force that saturates our cells and our minds and bodies become drunk in that fearful fluid. And in many cases, fear is the experience we choose when we do not need to, and it feeds the inner saboteurs that would steal our highest life potential. Primal fear occurs instantaneously, like when we see a bear in the woods. Does it serve us? It makes us freeze, and we need to freeze and not run. But probably at least 99% of our fear occurs because we have told ourselves something in advance and it activates a perceived fear that our body responds to, usually when something hasn’t yet happened or will never happen. With repetition, this becomes habitual and cripples us. So I think the most important awareness we can have regarding fear is to know when it is occurring for us and investigate it within ourselves to heal distorted thinking and behavior associated with it. To the extent we can recognize when we are in fear in a general sense, get present to it and make empowering choices, we are rewiring ourselves to live from a different place than fear. Like so many things, it is about being present and honest, using our tremendous inner resources to make the highest decisions we can make, commit to them and act on them, and have the maturity and courage to accept the consequences. That means stop telling ourselves and others the false stories that are perpetuating our fear.
Another angle here to consider is this: we hear and read things all the time, memes, tropes, trendy vernacular, media headlines, and often just adopt it as true. Then we fit our lives into it. We want to belong, so we go along with whatever is trending. One of my pet peeve statements is when the media writes “Here’s what you need to know now...” I don’t want you telling me what I need to know now, I’ll decide for myself thank you very much. Especially because this bit of drivel gossip is definitely not something I need to know. A few years back we heard about FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out. So this statement literally triggers the part of us that puts high importance on what they are delivering because they have indicated that it is a critical “Need-to-know” topic without which our lives will not be complete. Well it goes on from there. But I digress.
We are bombarded by more information than we have ever been, and this inundation of material crossing our brainwaves keeps us from diving into much all that deeply. But if we are to be sovereign beings in control of the content of our consciousness, we must actually listen to what we are taking in and decide with our critical minds if it matches up with our values, our intentions, our hearts, our intuition, and our lives. We can slow it down and make deeper decisions on what we believe and what we will live by. We each have the resources within to make these decisions. And the world will be better for our depth.
Right now we have real-time world events happening that are evoking a great deal of fear. So take this time to go deeper within to find not only misplaced fear in yourself, but to open a space inside that can hold a greater understanding and even compassion for what is happening. For it is only the deep wounds within humanity that create the violence and unrest we see in our world. And collectively we have all participated in this creation, even if it is through our distraction from it or buying into the conditioning we have grown up with that perpetuate it. Below the violence and hatred, below the judgment, below the distorted thinking and behavior, there are simple unfulfilled needs just trying to be met on a human level.
In these volatile times, now more than ever, our greatest awareness is needed. We can’t eradicate all fear, but we can truly face it as a warrior and bring to bear all of the strength, courage, wisdom and clarity we possess.
May we all experience the greatest awareness possible in this new year,