Understanding and Working Through Fears
Getting Off The Rollercoaster
In the years after separation and divorce, my efforts in personal development have brought a dramatic shift in my thinking. At the same time, my music has gone from singing songs at home and simple gatherings of friends, to my lifetime dream of having my songs selected and recorded for use by other people. One of the most effective tools for songwriting is the ability to conjure up an image for the listener. As such, I have employed imagery with various aspects of this book to allow the essence of subject matter to enter into your mind, to then be seen in another light.
Imagery is the language of the Soul. This is why ancient mythology successfully spans the centuries. Because it does not speak in the language of the day, the use of imagery allows the message to settle peacefully in the heart of the spectator where it is rich in meaning.
By my own use of imagery, I can allow my thoughts to be placed in your heart in a most perfect way. That which cannot be communicated in words, will be complete by the stimulation of your own Love and imagination.
As you come out of your long waking sleep; (the sleep that came upon you as you entered into the dramas of adult life), you will find yourself in a strange room with two doors and a mirror. You came here through one of those doors to leave behind a painful past. Within your reach is a key that will fit both doors, however, it is not time to lock or unlock any of the doors ... this will be done later on. It will be done after you can go back to open the door you have just passed through, and acknowledge without fear that what you see is not your new reality. You will say to what you see in that room:
"Within this room are experiences that I do not need to be a part of anymore. Yet through them, I am closer to what I am to become, and I peacefully allow myself the right to progress in the understanding of my Life through the ways of Love. I will do this without the limitation of Regret, Shame, Guilt, or Blame."
Then you will continue over to the mirror, and in that mirror you will see a child. This child is the true essence of your nature, and the mirror is your own Soul. You will look at yourself and understand many things, and when you come to Love yourself, you can then use the key to lock the door of the things that Were, and open the door of the things that Will Be.
THE SUBTLENESS OF PAIN AND FEAR:
Recall that the Ego is the survival instinct of the animal raised to consciousness. Survival mechanisms are based on fear to prompt some action to ensure the safety and well being. When you see my use of the word fear, you may be tempted to think of a situation where there is panic, dread, or trembling. But the fear base operation of our Egos can be used to describe feelings of simple hesitation to feelings of confusion. There are also feelings of fear relating to apprehension and concerns, yet all these examples are only a handful of the descriptions that can relate to common aspects of fear. Fear does not have to imply the sort of emotion we might feel if we were confronted with a shotgun, or if we were to walk a dangerous precipice on a cliff. To employ the word "FEAR" when talking of the ways in which the Ego operates, requires us to thoughtfully consider the context in which it is used. Do not fear the use of the word fear.
The word Pain is also used in the description of the feelings that fear based thinking is preparing us to avoid. Once again, it has it's own context associated with each situation, so by virtue of the very nature of this book, we talk of emotional pain with regard to the fear base behind Ego thinking.
DEGREES OF FEAR:
The following hypothetical example is loosely, but essentially based upon an experience of mine.
If I were to ask a woman to share a meal with me one evening, she might fear it was a "come on", and politely suggest perhaps another time. Some time later, I would then ask her again, and that she might also like to bring a friend ... she says yes. She feels it would be a nice evening; she feels safe; she does not fear. The degree or intensity of her feelings did not bring her to a cold sweat, but her reaction to the original invitation brought about a response that delivered her from a pain, and the pain was the emotion that made her feel awkward. She may think...
"Oh oh!, what do I do here ?
I hardly know this guy.
Although we get on quite well and a meal sounds good,
I'd better l play it safe.
I'll tell him I'm busy."
The response is normal, good and wise; but it still illustrates a definition of fear and pain. For this purpose, fear and pain would have served her well. This is discriminative reasoning.
Fear based thinking does have its place in our lives, but to lack awareness in our actions and thinking, can limit the options for good and helpful things to be a part of our lives, even the fun things in life. If we were without fear based thinking, mankind would not have survived in the way it has. By crossing the road in a busy city, we employ fear to help us negotiate a safe journey. It would also natural to be fearful of getting involved in heavy drugs. In yet another light, fear also allows us to have a respect for electricity and therefore enjoy the benefits of many wonderful inventions. This fear part of our nature is normal; it is supposed to be this way. It is good.
One way to that the offering put forth by the true self is being smothered by the Ego, is the presence of confusion and difficulty in making a choice.
Since the Ego has this fear base, and plays a big part in the learning process of all people. The potential for lessons learnt based upon fear rather than understanding is enormous; especially in children. Fortunately we have at hand many positive and balancing influences available to help us gain complete and proper understandings, however, there are people whose lives do lack these balances.
Here I shall describe a fear that has been subtly affecting my own life for many years.
It is May 1991, and I have been attending a personal development course for about three weeks. I have come into the course at a time when a weekend retreat is about to happen. I say "Yes" to the invitation to attend, knowing that a full weekends' involvement with the group will be most beneficial. The theme of the weekend is to "Pinpoint Anxiety". We are told just prior to the event to think about some area of our lives that causes anxiety, and how you and the group could work on the problem. My particular source of anxiety was an absolute dread of forgetting peoples names. Most people I know can comically identify with this sort of problem, but for me, it had gone well beyond a problem and was a terrible burden. So often I would labour with memory tricks and other sorts of mental gymnastics in an effort to help me recall.
The group got into discussion, and I explained the nature of my problem. The group leader then said to me...
"What would you imagine would happen if you did forget their name ?"
"I think they might consider me rude or uncaring", I replied.
"Does anyone ever forget your name ?"
"Why yes. In fact, most of my life. People so often call me Andrew", I said while at the same time noticing a strange feeling coming over me.
Then he said something magic.
"And how does that make you feel ?"
In silence I sat there for a small time as that strange feeling evolved into an ever increasing choking feeling. There I sat with tears slowly welling in my eyes. Suddenly things were beginning to connect. I eventually answered his question.
He paused awhile for me then continued...
"What you have been doing through your labouring, is ensuring the other person does not feel the hurt that you feel. You are also protecting yourself from the concern of being criticized."
I continued to reflect on what I was feeling and what he had just said. "Yes! Yes!", I said to myself.
For me there was no conflict in any of this thinking. I knew it was the truth.
Here I had obtained a freedom through access to the truth. By having all aspects of the situation out in front of me, I instantly understood. The Truth had set me free. Now my problems with names has greatly diminished and it gets better all the time. Occasionally I will still stumble with people's names, but I do myself a service by reminding myself that it's O.K. to make mistakes. This is in fact the essence of my recovery from my anxiety with names. I have in fact forgiven myself. Seeing all the things that caused my anxiety, was the beginning of my freedom, but the real work began when I gave myself the approval to make mistakes. By consciously acknowledging the fact that I am not a rude person or an uncaring person, I remind myself to my commitment to all that is good. In future, if someone is to criticize me for forgetting a name, (even though this imagined scenario has never become manifest), then I will simply ask to be pardoned.
This freedom I talk of is a very simple one, but by now looking at my life through the eyes of my Inner Truth, I can begin the process of building a great and wonderful independence from many more subtle but significant discoveries. This is how I am rebuilding my life.
How complex this part of human makeup is. From a fear of being chastised, I had been a slave to an unrealistic concern which has revealed itself in behavior. I had never even thought that these two situations could be related.
Although my experience with names is valid and worth noting, I politely let it take a back seat when I think of other people and the links to behavior in those who are fearful and very depressed. I especially think of the emotional traumas that can be endured by the young.
When the innocent suffer abuse in any form, especially in childhood, a feeling is then associated with an event. (It may or may not remain with conscious awareness), this is the natural action of the Ego. Depending on the nature of the event, there may be so much pain involved, (Physical and/or emotional), that the event can be removed from conscious memory entirely, but will still reside in the unconscious as a lesson. The experience is not forgotten, it is stored. Its conscious memory is too painful, but the feelings associated with the event are still relatable, and will influence behavior.
Because of limited worldly experience, children obtain little or no capacity to gain any understanding of a terrible event in their young lives. The issues are unresolved and manifest them selves as behavior patterns linked to past experiences. This is why the counseling of Psychologists and other people who work in guidance and care is so valuable and important. Its purpose is to allow the identification of feelings, and raise forgotten memories back to a conscious level. Since growing into adulthood delivers many understandings of life, the act of bringing these memories to the forefront of thinking enables the person to understand and resolve issues that have been operating from the darkness of unconscious control for so long. The process of discovery and revelation can be painful, but a wonderful new freedom is found as stolen years of innocence are returned. Years of childhood energy become available to the adult, and the Love that never had a chance to fully express itself, bursts forth like a late bloom. The person discovers that they were not bad, the person simply understands, and in that understanding, forgiveness of self becomes instant and automatic. Layer after layer of negative Ego thinking then peel away as the Love that was always within, is finally given a chance to show itself.
A SIMPLE LOOK AT GUILT:
I have always thought guilt to be destructive and limiting, and I admit to have carried its burden as much as the next person, yet to sit down and define it was a very strange task. There was no immediate answer that came to me. I needed to dwell, ponder, and even live out some situations to allow myself a chance to capture whatever I would feel at the moment. I needed to be in "THE NOW" to seize the emotion at hand.
This aspect of Ego thinking called guilt, can be subtly modified with varying degrees of low self esteem. An imagined unworthiness is a negative affirmation which keeps restricting our best intentions. This emotion can be reinforced by an ignorance of facts, and a fear of acting to ones truest feelings.
As I try to think of a past experience, the phone rings. It is a friend of mine who asks me if I can mind her children one evening while she sees her sister perform in a play. I immediately say Yes, but find myself being confronted by a barrage of excuses.
"I tried this and I tried that, I asked her, and I asked them;
blah! blah! blah!...".
I had to interject.
"Cathy! ... I said Yes!."
How marvelous it was that this opportunity came to present itself when I needed it.
"Stop feeling guilty... I'd love to do it."
She paused, but I could feel another wave of excuses about to break so I stepped into the conversation again to quell her concerns.
Cathy's situation highlights an everyday event where fears can cause us unnecessary worry. She new that she could rely on my friendship at any time, (that's why she called me), but she was influenced in a way that made her think she was exploiting me. All Cathy needed to do was to stop for about thirty seconds and examine her thoughts. It would then have become clear that her concerns were totally unjustified. Within herself, she knows she does not exploit people; she knows I would never refuse her help; but Ego thinking guided her actions to bring her a small degree of unnecessary emotional pain which became a reality through unawareness. The pain in this case was only a subtle awkwardness or discomfort, but by looking at the situation in this way, we have enabled the subtleness of her fear to be exposed.
In another example, if I fail to live up to a promise, guilt could bring me a fear of causing someone hardship when my efforts were being relied upon. In this common example, my thoughts have been guided to the value of having someone who can be counted on. If I come to this understanding all by myself, it is a good thing, but if I labour in the service I have offered through guilt projected from the other person, then we are both victims of Ego thinking.
Harbouring feelings of guilt and low self esteem to any degree will manifest itself outwardly in your behavior as you interact with people. These subtle effects are often transmitted in the forms of body language and speech, and also the way in which we react emotionally. We may "Laugh something off"... or we may "Freeze Up" and go cold to someone or something. When we are forced to shelter our truest feelings because of guilt, we then limit the extent of our commitment to many and varied situations.
Imagine meeting someone in the street that you haven't seen for a long time and it suddenly becomes apparent that you never got around to answering their letters. There would be a fear of being criticised for a lack of common courtesy and of offending a friend. Could you see that in this scene, conversation and mannerisms would most probably be withdrawn through guilt, and excuses of having to go somewhere in a hurry would be dispensed.
In yet another example, if you withhold from being yourself through a guilt fear that your truest thoughts and associated actions will not be accepted, then you will only prolong the inevitable encounter that will in time come to light. By not letting others know of your feelings and wants, you deny yourself the expression you NEED... you deny an incompatibility between yourself and other people which cannot go on being masked indefinitely. To limit yourself for the sake of another's comfort while they maintain their own Ego based thinking, is to continue in a cycle of pretence based on a fear of "loss without any chance of recovery."
UNAWARENESS, EGO THINKING, AND CHILDREN:
It is in our childhood that the most significant aspects of our identities are formed, and children need to be taught of their goodness, their greatness, their light. Children do not need the teaching of confused ego thinking impressed upon them. Children need to be taught of their spiritual connections with life and the universe. They need to be taught the concept of Unconditional Love. They need to understand and recognise the futility of fear based ways of thinking and acting, and the concept of compassion and understanding. They need to be taught of the oneness of all people and the need for Patience, Tolerance, and Sympathy.
FEEL YOUR FEELINGS:
As you develop an awareness of emotional responses to situations that come your way, you give yourself a chance for freedom from future pain. By acknowledging the emotion that you feel in "THE NOW", you can release the energy that is built up inside you by expressing what you are feeling. When you have the need to cry, there is a part of you that is wanting to work for your good. Sometimes we have felt the weight of frustration's and at one time or another we have all said, "I want to SCREAM!". When you think this way, your instinct is supplying you with a most efficient way of releasing this energy. Many times though, a desire to scream gets held back, but our natural desire will still maintain itself.
Sometimes there is a need for physical release of emotion. The need to scream was a good example. We can also burn off energy at the Gym; We can pour our energies into our work; We can have tender and fulfilling sexual experiences. All these can serve you for your good as you learn to know that it's alright to be your self.
Can you recall a time where you might have been prompted into bouts of laughter, but had to withhold your outbursts because you may not have been in the right place?
We know that to withhold an extreme desire to laugh can bring on a great deal of discomfort, but eventually that laughter must come out. When we find a suitable place and re-live the situation, the laughter bellows out of us and we then feel a contentment afterwards. The energy was still within and needed to be expressed, but if we were to think of that funny situation at some other time, we may raise a smile, but we most probably won't laugh as we did the first time. The power of the joke is diminished. We have let out the energy from within; we feel good. We are restored to a balanced state.
This very same principle applies to sorrow and other emotions. When tears, grief and other emotions are truly given the freedom to be expressed, the next time we are prompted to think of that sad situation, we are not returned to the same level of sorrow as we first experienced. We have cried the tears that had to be cried. The power of the sadness is diminished. We have let out the energy from within; we feel good. Again, we are in a state of balance.
For all the emotions that we feel in our lives, there are those which we could say are 'for' and 'against' nature. There is an anger which is in accordance with nature, and an anger which is against nature. There are fears which are for and against nature, there are feelings that bring pleasure which are for and against nature.
We might be angry when we hear of child brutality close to home, or in another light we could be angry if someone were to make a noise while we're trying to watch the football on the television. Clearly the correctness in each of these situation needs no further explanation to illustrate this concept. From this, we must then see why we feel as we do and whether or not it is highlighting an area which needs change, or whether we are expressing an emotion which is in tune with our circumstance.
Feel your feelings; don't deny your humanness by denying what you feel. Acknowledge the emotion that you feel and experience it. It is a real part of you. If there is ongoing conflict within you, be kind to yourself and acknowledge that there is a part of you that needs understanding. Inner conflict is not a state of being that is natural to the True Self. When there is conflict, there is fear. Where there is fear, there is work to be done. Denial of emotion is to maintain a lack of unity with yourself. Your purpose is to become whole and you WILL become whole.
Those who have gone through a traumatic experience where they are left with no conscious memory of an incident, are carrying energies that are unresolved. Emotional energy requiring expression to release unconscious tension will then manifest itself in persistent patterns of behavior. The sad thing about this situation is that the core issues are hidden and unknown, and the energy expressed from unconscious tension can leave a person perplexed as to their behavior. Further complications then come into their life through images of low self esteem, shame, guilt and unworthiness. These continued feelings bring a pain which the Ego then becomes duty bound to try and suppress. The one in pain seeks gratification to relieve sorrow; remorse can then be felt later, and a cycle then becomes complete, yet never ending.
Such insights into the unavoidable releases that people suffer, enable us to come to understandings of peoples behavior which they, and even ourselves, could otherwise have difficulty in comprehending. Through unconditional Love, we transcend the unknown quantity in ourselves and others, and our Love shines through our own being to pierce the shadows that hide the Love that is in all of us. When we believe in someone whether they be stranger, friend, or even someone who means so very much to us; regardless of what they've done, we are giving them a chance to believe in themselves again. Since unconditional Love carries no demands, the one in need is able to feel the truth in the person that cares. That truth then allows them to freely and peacefully choose to accept the offering of a healing through Love and friendship.
Let your truth begin to heal you. Your truth is your freedom, and in your truth is your Love. In your Love is your Life, your future and your dreams. In your own Love, is the direction of the Love that you've always been searching for.
WHEN YOU'RE READY:
Be patient with yourself. Be Kind to yourself. No one likes to bear a burden. Begin to do the things that you've been denying were really good for you. Open up to the real Loving you. BELIEVE that things can change for the better.
By your willingness to become new, you will give yourself new strengths and a motivation to begin and continue on a road to freedom. Your advancement will be in stages, and each stage will be consolidated by Life actions to get you ready for the next stage.
When YOU are ready, Life will be ready.
By understanding the way in which fears are born, you can come to a gentle understanding of yourself and others. You can learn as you interact with all people, that quite often you are only being allowed to see as much of someone as they want you to see. By always being positive and genuine in your intentions, you can allow others to always see the value in your truth and sincerity. Through your own peaceful nature, you can give a gift so subtle, that it can go unnoticed as it lays to rest quietly in peoples hearts.
In my deepest sorrows, there is a part of me which has revealed itself and come to my aid when I was most downhearted. There in the background, is a most perfectly gentle part of me that is always ready with the right words. It's like I have at my disposal someone who is completely removed from the emotion of my situation, yet knows it fully and understands perfectly. It is never prone to anger and does not fear, and it would bring me a comfort as a friend could by placing an arm across my shoulders. Its wisdom is never clouded by sadness, and its loyalty is constant since it knows not fear. Because it is always with me, yet does not suffer as the part of me that does suffer, I use the word "Witness" to describe this curious aspect of my nature. It sees my situation and is always ready with the truth.
"How amazing.", I thought to myself after a tide of sorrow finally withdrew. "That gentle thoughts would come to me as an aching heart pounded within to tell me that 'Everything's going to be alright...Things will get better one day'". This prompted an awareness that perhaps the next time a sorrow might come my way, my Witness would be there again to guide me. Through this availability of having the most perfect thoughts at the most perfect time, I gradually learned that the simplicity in the comfort was so pure, that the wisdom of its guidance brought me out of my sorrow earlier each time.
To get to know as a truth, that no sorrow lasts forever was a great help in learning to deal with sorrow and to be able to come back to being peaceful. This pure and shining aspect of ones self is available to all and its purpose is to help you learn the lesson that no sorrow lasts forever. However, it is difficult to learn such a lesson by simply reading these words. Though you may quite easily accept them when you are peaceful, to have learnt this lesson fully, is to believe it when you are in pain.
CYCLES OF LOVE AND FEAR:
As your consciousness expands, your wisdom and Love will also expand. For every good and kind action and thought you commit yourself to, you perpetrate another kind of cycle, but it is a cycle within a Love based system. The link between Love based and fear based cycles, is that they both expand outwardly to profoundly affect one's own life and the lives of others around it. To expand and grow in Love will then bring about Growth, Harmony, and Peace, but when you contain yourself within a fear based cycle, you bring about Decay, Chaos, and Conflict.
As the way of living guided by the Ego can bring you recurring situations and sadness as well as recurring character types to your life, living in Love through refined instinct will bring the goodness that you have always been searching for. Mistakes are just mistakes. They are part of a journey; they are not the journey. Learn to treat a big mistake, the same way that you would treat a small mistake. You are not obliged to labor in thought and deed over the past. You owe it to yourself to seek; to know; and to Love yourself. You owe it to yourself to Grow.
By at last awakening to your thoughts, you have shown that your willingness to Love again is well and truly underway. Don't be concerned at this point if acting out any of your thoughts makes you sad for your awakening far outshines the end result of any deed. Your Love is piercing its way through the layers of your old self... just like a plant that forces its way through a stone path. One day that little plant will produce a magnificent flower and the wind will carry its seeds far and wide.
To understand fear is to possess a key,
But the door to the place of light has rusty hinges.
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Staff, H. (2008, November 29). Understanding and Working Through Fears, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, September 25 from https://www.healthyplace.com/alternative-mental-health/still-my-mind/understanding-and-working-through-fears