We talked in group tonight about fear. One of the women said she had heard fear described as "Future Events Appear Real". Wow, so true. What is it that makes us repeatedly hurl ourselves into an imagined and horrific future. The Buddist teacher, Tara Brach said in a recent podcast (highly recommend her) that as humans we are hardwired for a certain amount of anxiety. That we all actually wake up about 10 times per night,(only the insomniacs remember it)and it is an old hard-wired survival mechanism. I guess our ancient ancestors needed to be sure a venemous spider wasn't sitting on their chest or a hungry tiger prowling a breath away. So basically to think we will banish fear completely is not realistic. But how often do we add "insult to injury" by criticizing ourselves for our fear or anxiety. What if we just were able to
1. Recognize it. ("Oh yes, hello fear....")
2. Accept it. (no eating it away, drinking smoking, avoidance behaviors)
3. Locate the story. What are my thoughts? What is fear saying about this situation? Is there a more balanced way to think of this?
4. Compassion. Real change only comes from treating ourselves, even our unrealistic fears with the utmost compassion. Our self talk needs to be like a mother to a young child. We also need to feel the feeling. The current fear may be unrealistic or imagined or exaggerrated but fear is still there and maybe just connected to our helplessness in controlling the future or maybe connected to really old pain. We need to feel it.
5. Healthy Detachment. This may be the hard part. Allow and experience the fear without attaching to it. The part of you able to see that this is your old pattern,is the healthier part of you. That part helps you see that you are more than your fear or anxiety and that you certainly do not have to be ruled by it.
For those of us with a lot of fear, it is usually a very old pattern. Worrying gives us the false impression that we are contolling something we may really be helpless too. Think about your relationship with this primal emotion. Are you a fearful person, a worrier, a planner...What do you know about your relationship to this universal emotion?