I was surfing the Internet recently and came across an article on: "how to stop being afraid". Just reading the title inspired me, because I sincerely disagree with 'stopping the fear'. Why is it that we think that to become enlightened we need to let go of some of our feelings? To me that makes no sense at all. We are born with...
... natural instincts like love, hate, joy, kindness, doubt, anger, compassion and fear. They arise in us effortlessly. These instincts take care of us and others. The fact is that we need all of these feelings to survive. How can we ever think that any of these natural given gifts are wrong?
To stop being afraid can make you ill. It can even kill you. Once we loose the ability to feel or fear our lives become dangerous. We get burned, we fear, so we learn, prevent or know what to do a next time. A good healthy fear tells us something incredibly important: that we are putting ourselves in a situation that is not safe. A healthy fear helps us to make good decisions in what works for us and what not. All we really have to do is to listen to the message that this fear is bringing to our attention. We need to hear it with all our heart and soul. This is the opposite of stopping the fear. To stop fear often means we'll suppress it and distract ourselves from it. This locks the fear inside, which can make us ill or it turns us into a pressure cooker. We hold the fear until it becomes an unhealthy fear and unhealthy fears are not only dangerous to us but also to our partners, family and friends. They lead to explosions, fights and arguments that are unnecessarily damaging to yourself and others. We should always listen to our fears, even when they are unhealthy. Listening balances it. To really listen is a great spiritual tool, maybe the most important one. By listening to ourselves we open and become soft and loving again, to us and to others.
Even an unhealthy fear, one that is out of proportion, tells us something really important: that we have gone too far in suppressing our feelings and our safety. We should always take the time to listen. Hearing our fears, paying real attention to them and maybe even speaking about them helps us to go deeper and this releases it. So we become safe again.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that you should always act on a fear. What I'm saying is that when you start to listen to what you feel and you start to hear the inner cry for attention to your fear, you'll often release fear naturally and effortlessly and a deeper truth will reveal itself just like that. Fear often is the protector of what lies underneath; that vulnerable part that we are trying so hard to keep safe. Once you have understood and experienced this mechanism and you know how to work with it, fear becomes your best friend. It keeps you on a path that is less difficult and problematic, it becomes easier and less painful because you pay attention to yourself, because you are getting to know how things work for you. When you know how it works, you become stronger in using it to your advantage.
It really is quite simple and yet we create the most amazing difficult unhealthy safety strategies, habits and techniques to avoid what is natural to us all. So please, never stop fearing or feeling, never loose your ability to be human... To not fear, is to not be at all. Fear is like a wave, you just have to learn how to ride it. Listening is the board. You’ll fall off the board a million times but once you get the hang of it, the wave and the board become exciting and fun friends that carry you forward without effort.
To love is to learn how to enjoy all of it's aspects and that includes all the 'negatives' that actually are not always that negative...