The root cause of stress is fear, as all fear is the threat of losing our attachments. If we’re attached to a desired outcome, anything that threatens it will be something we fear. The fear of losing control underpins stress, for example, and creates frustration over what can’t be controlled. As desirable as it is to be in a position of control, our attachment to it ultimately creates a fear that can manifest as stress, worry, anxiety, and panic.
Fear brings disorder into our experience when it is within us, and it’s an energy that suppresses consciousness.
Activation energy is the force required to get you from doing something when you’re on autopilot (such as habits, routines, procedural awareness, or relaxing) to doing something new. It is a manifestation of willpower. When we are in a state of fear (stress), our activation energy is diverted toward doing things to ourselves that are primarily against our will.
Running late for work and caught in a traffic jam? You can either become frustrated and upset because you fear arriving to work late (which brings you no closer to your goal of getting there on time), or you can accept the present moment and use it as a learning lesson to leave earlier next time. You can also choose to enjoy the unexpected free time in the morning and listen to a podcast or some music. There are many choices you can make in that space of time that can affect or degrade even the most minute increments of your personal development.
Stress causes you to divert attention and willpower away from your initial goal, bringing you no closer to it than when you began. In a state of stress and fear, your willpower gets diverted toward the threat, not the goal, and this is against your own best interest. Time is currency, so pay attention to what you spend your time on.
Now of course there are valid situations where your willpower MUST be diverted toward dealing with the threat or there might not be any willpower left for you to use in the future!
There are two types of fear: survival based fear and ego based fear. Ego fear includes fear of rejection, failure, humiliation, loss, uncertainty, lack of control, etc. These fears are not real, but may feel so to you. Ask yourself, what’s the worst that could happen? Is it death, the loss of freedom, a loved one suffering? If it’s none of those then you’re too attached to an outcome that is not essential to your wholeness. When we’re mindful of our awareness, extraordinary things await us on the opposite side of fear. Believe.
Believe in what?
Yourself? A higher power? Both?
Believe in the truth of your situation by first accepting everything that is happening. You can’t move forward in a state of denial because denial is resistance. Then think about what you’re afraid of (an outcome, for example) and why it is making you feel afraid. What will you lose that is causing your anxiety? What is this thing that you’re holding onto that is vital to your security and wholeness?
Fear should be an alarm, not a program. An alarm alerts you of danger, while a program controls and runs the show. When ALERTED by fear we can use the logic of our conscious mind to analyze if we are in any real danger, rather than allowing the subconscious mind and its primal instincts to impulsively control us. Even if we don’t lash out during times of stress and frustration, we may remain divided and chaotic internally, throwing emotional temper tantrums no one else sees. Do your job to parent yourself and take control of the inner child embedded in your subconscious mind (we all have one).
Fear is an insecurity, and insecurity is the source of many malfunctions in the human condition. However, if it wasn’t for fear, we would never know who and what we really are. Fear is illusion. Life is designed to strip illusion from you by bringing you face to face with your fears again and again until you have no choice but to face them, release resistance to them, and become fearless. Once you become fearless you’re free from illusion because you have discovered the truth of what’s on the other side of your fear.
We design our lives to run away from fear so we don’t have to feel it, but whatever we resist persists, chasing us into the corner. It’s understandable why we do this but it’s not helpful because this daunting tool that keeps offering itself to us is the tool of our expansion, the tool of truth if we are ready to accept it.
You would be oblivious to yourself without fear, which makes it one of the greatest tools of awareness. You shouldn’t feel ashamed of it; regardless of how tough you are, every human being feels fear. People who suppress fear are glorified. Rather than suppress it, feel it and come to terms with it. This way you won’t feel the need to suppress it because you have already gotten to its source: truth. And the truth will always wipe out fear.
By suppressing fear you’re ignoring your personal lesson. We often ignore what our emotional guidance system is trying to tell us because we don’t think fear is valid. Fear is a red flag within us that we should pay closer attention to so we can dig deep and find the source of that fear. Suppressing it is only ignoring the shadow, masking it as courage. We don’t examine the fear that we have; instead, we try to focus on anything that decreases the level of fear that we experience. Sometimes fear is legitimate and sometimes it is not, but we must always pay attention to it so we can get to the Truth of why it’s there.
Fear of the unknown is also common. Since we know nothing about the unkown, what we actually fear is whatever we ourselves project into it. We think we know what potential negative thing the unknown might hold for us and we are running from the projection of that potential pain. We fear what we project into the unknown based on our previous experiences (mostly from childhood) of uncertainty and discomfort. The reptile brain seeks comfort, so anything that is uncomfortable alerts our primal survival drives. These red flags create anxious moments to our pleasure-seeking and pain-avoiding ego. When faced with the unknown, the mind goes to work projecting its already acquired fears into the unknown so that it can predict what lies there. It’s those projections that we fear. It’s not the unknown of that experience that it fears, it’s what it thinks it knows that experience will create. We need to be brave enough to face and admit to what we actually fear.
This may sound counterintuitive, but everything we do, regardless of how stupid or damaging it is for ourselves, has a positive intention at its core. Anxiety responses aim to help us — usually to get us out of a situation, to protect us. Every behaviour that we generate, even if it’s detrimental to our long-term growth and happiness, has a positive intention behind it, and recognizing this will allow you to change the behaviour. Your subconscious mind wants to protect you but it doesn’t think long-term with respect to your growth and happiness; it reacts in the present moment, and wants to deal with the perceived danger NOW. The subconscious is always thinking about what’s happening now, and how to fix it now. It thinks, “How do I get out of it? How do I survive it?” While your subconscious mind is intuitive, smart, and integral to the mind-body system, it is also deeply irrational and has the cognitive capacity of a 10-year-old child. Ask yourself, would you let a 10-year-old run your life?
We need to educate and guide the subconscious mind using its own language and worldview. The subconscious mind’s job is to keep you happy, healthy, and safe, so when you give it a way to understand that what it’s doing is hurting you, it will stop the behaviour. If the subconscious mind has to choose between safety and happiness, it will always chose safety. Self-preservation is its primary objective, to protect you and keep you alive so you can move your genes forward.
Do not justify your fear. While something could have happened to you that created the fear, such as a traumatic event, you must still move beyond it. It may be difficult, but when you justify your fear, in whatever terms, you remain a prisoner to it. You give yourself a reason to hold onto the fear because you’re telling yourself that this fear is coming from the outside instead of its true source, the inside. Once you become aware of something, you have the choice and power to change it.
Your belief systems determine your ability to overcome your fears. If you tell yourself, “I can’t overcome this fear,” you ensure this remains true. As long as you believe it, it will be True in your reality. The perception we have of ourselves is greater than the perception other people have of us. Your perceptions will determine how you will react, which in turn determines how long the fear will last in your life.
Facing your greatest fears will be your greatest liberation. Your fears are your unresolved issues; once you get to the Truth of why they exist, you can resolve those issues and stop feeding the fears. We must let go of and reexamine what we think is good and bad because our perspective shapes our fears.
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