Times are bleak! A virus has cornered the human race and a man is breathing heavily with his back against the wall. He’s scared. He wants out. But he can’t. He’s too possessed by the thoughts of what all can go wrong. He’s too busy worrying instead of finding time to know about overcoming fear. Its understandable. These are stressful circumstances after all. He fears for the health of his loved ones. And so, to avoid the risk of contaminating them he locks himself up and decides to stays alone. But in his solitude, he comes face to face with his worst enemies. The enemies of fear and anxiety. So now he goes over to the internet and searches about ways to overcome fear.
He searches for ways of overcoming fear and anxiety in general. But the internet is full of articles about, how to get over the fear of public speaking. Or the fear of speaking or the fear of failures, and things like that. He doesn’t find very many articles about how to overcome fear in life in general. But after much searching, he finds this article. As have you.
So, to make use of this article fully, you are advised to put into practice what you read here. At least for a few days and see if it makes a difference. If it does please let us know in the comments section, about your findings. And so here are,
These 7 things about overcoming fear:
- Hello darkness, my old friend
The first thing about fear is that it thrives in situations where we are uncertain about reality. Like for example, we would be scared of walking through a forest on a dark night. Mostly because it’d be dark, and we do not know what might happen to us. In other words, there is lack of knowledge about what might happen, in the situation. We can term this lack of knowledge as uncertainty or darkness.
Problem: Our fear of darkness or uncertainty is so vast that it inevitably snowballs into the fear of death. So, we can say that the fear of uncertainty is the main reason, why we fear death so much.
It’s because in certainty we find solace and a sense of security. So consequently, in uncertainty we’re robbed off the same. Thus, we can reiterate the aforementioned as; certainty brings a sense of safety and security (light). While uncertainty brings dread and anxiety. (darkness).
The solution: in order to stop fearing the uncertain, we have to learn to embrace it. Like we would embrace a long-lost friend. And that can happen only when we let go of our attachment to the idea of being safe.
To do this would mean to let go off our guards and surrender ourselves to the will of nature. In other words, letting go of pride and humbling oneself.
- The Cause of Fear
As it has been touched upon in the previous point. Attachment to certainty is the cause of the fear of uncertainty. So, it can be inferred that the cause of fear is attachment.
This law applies to any and every kind of fear. Like e.g. fear of being judged negatively is caused by an attachment to be judged positively. Or the fear of being betrayed is caused by an attachment to the expectations of loyalty. Or the fear of being hated caused by the attachment to being loved, etc.
To let go of fear one needs to let go of attachments. One can do so through meditating upon the fleeting nature of material existence.
- The Effects of fear
Fear in its most fundamental state, exists as abstract impressions deep within the depths of the unconscious. But when contacted by the appropriate external circumstances. That impression of fear surfaces onto the subconscious and takes the necessary names and forms. And your body reacts instinctively to it in the form of a fight or flight reaction.
Say for example. There is abstract fear of spiders present in your unconscious. But when you see a spider outside. That very fear comes up to the subconscious and takes the shape of the dreaded imaginary super man-eating spider. Instinctive a cold shiver runs down your spine and your body tighten up. Now depending upon how crippling your fear of spiders is, you’d either chose to harm it or run from it. In other words, fight or flight respectively.
What is the solution? The solution is to stop reacting instinctively. Because instincts work at the level of the subconscious. If you stop reacting instinctively or blindly and start to calmly and consciously observe the mechanism. Of how the fear manifests into names and forms in your mind and unpleasant sensations in your body. You’d find out that the mental formations and bodily sensations become weaker and weaker and eventually dissipate. Thus, freeing your mind from that particular impression forever.
But conversely, reacting instinctive and not calmly observing, only feeds into the fear and makes it stronger. And so, the well fed and stronger fear happily drowns into the depths of your unconscious. Ready to make a volcanic appearance the next time faced with a similar situation. And next time the instinctive reactions would be more intense or more violent if you will.
- The Present Moment
As we learnt from the previous point that mindful observation is necessary to understand the mechanisms of fear. And understanding fear is paramount in order to destroy it. The apparatus of observation has to be strengthened and focussed (like laser). This apparatus will be our own minds. So essentially, we shall be using our own mind to rid it of the fear inside.
Most men are not able to rise above their instinctual and reaction-based lifestyles because of an untamed and scattered mind. So, to focus and strengthen the mind, it has to be trained through meditation.
And since our objective is to be able to observe the mechanism of fear. In our mind and body in the real time. We need to practice focussing it on the present moment. So, meditation too, needs to done on the present moment. This can be done through persistently practicing to focus our awareness on the breath.
- No More Running
Till now most of us have always run away from fearful thoughts. Either by trying to divert our minds by doing some activity as a means of escape. Or by using substances like alcohol and marijuana. Or having sought company and conversations instead of being alone. Since these thoughts strike us mostly when we are alone.
But if we wish to be free of fear and anxiety. We need to stop running. And start facing the thoughts.
We regularly need to give ourselves some alone time. In order to let the thoughts, come up. And tackle them as skilfully as we can.
- A Powerful Ally
Our mind once tamed and obedient, will be the most powerful ally in this fight of ours against our fears. So, its best if we keep on training it, with persistent and earnest effort.
- Be Ready
Our fears are cunning foes. We should not underestimate them. They often sneak up like phantoms and strike our minds with uncompromising strength. So, it’s our duty to always be vigilante, anchored in the present moment. Watching out for even the slightest disturbance. Like elite sentinels guarding the kingdom of our minds.
Have a great day!!