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Fear's Insidious Control

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Fear rules humanity and has done for a very long time indeed right back to man's creation in fact as original fear is still present in us. You may be reading this and thinking that fear doesn't rule your life but I promise you it does. You may be assuming that fear is about having wobbly legs, pounding heart and getting all sweaty etc. Perhaps you are thinking that fear is about panic attacks or anxiety.

Of course fear plays its part in all of these things but you may be surprised to know that the most common way it appears in our lives is in our rational justification and reasoning. Fear only needs to affect our physiology and create all those unpleasant symptoms when it isn't getting its own way. All the while it's pulling the strings in the background and keeping us in check it can get what it wants through our thoughts and without revealing itself too much.

Fear tells us we must be sensible when a part of us is yearning to be bold. Fear makes us follow the hive-mind of humanity and do what has been done before and what meets with the tribe’s approval. Fear talks us out of doing something and then cleverly covers its tracks by creating thoughts that rationalises the decision as being for the best somehow. Examples include "I don't need to take that job, it's not for me really", "I'm doing OK I don't need to change the situation", "I'm better sticking to what I know, after all this is no time to take risks", "I'm not ready to take the next step; I'll learn more then do it" and so on.

Some of the fears are unique to us as individuals and come from childhood and past-life experiences that we are here to overcome. Other fears within us are about being human and fearful of connecting to God and our true selves or exposing the shame and worthlessness held at our deepest levels of our consciousness. Most of us have these fears.

Procrastination is motivated by fear. Self-sabotage comes from our fear as does feeling not good enough, not clever enough or not sufficiently ready to do something. The little voice in our heads tells us lies about our capabilities to keep us small and limited. Our comfort zone is our limits, our excuses are our limits, our reluctance to take action and follow through on something shows us our limits and our self-diminishment also shows our limits.

The mind is change-phobic and uses fear to manage us. One of the reasons we cannot truly walk the spiritual path alone and work through our issues on our own is that we simply will not recognise or acknowledge how fear is keeping us stuck. Even worse, we won't be able to recognise that fear is tricking us into thinking we are moving forward when we are really going round and round in circles. We will be blind to it. I have experienced this myself on many occasions in the past. It takes an outside view to show us what we are afraid to see for ourselves.

If we are to be who we really are i.e. limitless, then fear has to be mastered. Spiritual growth comes from taking action and moving through fear when we are ready to listen to something greater than that voice in our heads that tries to run our lives. If, when that voice of fear chirps away, we can counter it by laughing and reminding ourselves that we are bigger, better and more talented than that the fear would have us believe, then we are well and truly on our way. Part of the trick to doing this comes from understanding identification and letting go of the notion that we are our mind and the thoughts that appear in our heads. We can then watch the thoughts rather than being the thoughts and that makes dealing with fear easier.

Sometimes the grip of unconscious fear can be so great and so deep in our consciousness that we can become paralysed and unable to do what we know we should do. We can end up creating a comfortable misery or arranging our lives so we can hide from ourselves and have people around us that enable us to do this through their unwitting support. I have done this myself and it needed to be pointed out to me before I would accept it. In this situation continued paralysis or further struggle is inevitable until one reaches out for help. It is a common situation but we can forgive ourselves for letting it happen and get the help we need to break free.

When we do push back against the fear, it will often strengthen as a response and test our resolve but if we hold firm and tap into our innate courage then the grip of fear begins to loosen. The fear will tell you that you have no courage but I promise you that you have.

© Phil Grant unless otherwise attributed