“Bless your fear for it is a sign of wisdom. Do not hold yourself in fear. Transform the energy to flexibility and you will be free from what you fear.” | Yoko Ono
Everyone knows fear. It can come in an instant and throw you into chaos, yet it can also save your life. Fear is a natural response to physical danger, but it can also be self-created.
Fear of failure, fear of being out of control, of being different or being lonely. There is a fear of the future and of death. You may fear love because you fear being rejected; fear being generous because you fear you will not have enough; fear sharing your thoughts or feelings in case you appear wrong; and fear trusting because you are dominated by self-doubt and insecurity.
This self-generated fear is found in its acronym: F.E.A.R. or False Evidence Appearing Real. It appears real, even though it is a fear of the future and is not happening now. Therefore, it has no real substance, arising when the ego-self is threatened, which makes you cling to the known and familiar. Such fear creates untold worry, apprehension, nervous disorders and even paranoia.
The immediate effect of fear is to shut you down, and—in particular—to shut off the heart. Just for a moment, let’s observe fear.
Most people hunch their shoulders forward, fold their arms across their chests, or assume a similarly contracted position to shield the heart, fear having triggered the need to be on the defensive. In this self-protective place, the heart goes out of reach, and you cannot feel love or even friendliness.
As long as you push away, deny or ignore fear, it will hold you captive and keep you emotionally frozen, unable to move forward. In that place, you become untrusting of love and spontaneity; you get angry or hide.
But where fear contracts and closes the heart—resisting love—love expands and opens the heart, embracing fear.
So now let’s watch the posture of love. Observe how people’s bodies respond, their arms reaching outward, accepting and inviting. Fear may still be there, but love can welcome fear—it can embrace any negativity. Watch how their breathing gets deeper, fuller. Where fear shuts out love, love holds fear tenderly. It is like the sky that contains everything—the stars, the moon, the wind.
Remember, there are times we have all met fear and moved through it. Those are moments are filled with courage. And above all, love. Fear may close the heart, but courage comes out of heart-fulness, out of releasing resistance. Fear will stop you from facing your shadow and participating fully in life, but love will give you the courage to dive into the unknown.
In other words, courage does not mean you deny fear, it is not a state of being without fear. Rather, it is fully experiencing the fear, naming it, getting to know it and taking it by the hand so it can become your friend and ally.
Do you see their fear – when you look at other people? What about your own?