Thursday, March 01, 2007

You can stick your hand through fear

Fear is an illusion. That's easy to say and pretty easy to understand intellectually. How, though, do we get this realization from our head to our gut?

We believe our fears come from outside us. Perhaps we have a fear of public speaking. Are we afraid of the audience? We may think so, but the real fear is that we'll appear foolish. Or maybe we're afraid of getting close to another human being. Is this about his or her emotional unavailability? No, it's about our own inability to get close to another human being so our fear is really about ourselves, that we, through our own defects, will lose the other person.

As one Buddhist practitioner put it, fear is "The belief that you are going to lose power and control. It is about believing that you are going to lose something dear to you. It is about you and your projections of what you believe is going to happen. A key word is 'believe'. A second key word is 'going'."

If we stay in today and especially in this moment, fear is less likely. Most of the time when I feel fear, I'm living in tomorrow. "What if I don't have enough to pay my bills at the end of the month? What if my dog dies? What if my boyfriend leaves me? What if I get sick again?" This is the constant parade of thoughts that go through my mind if I'm unaware of my "squirrel cage," as my sponsor calls it, in my brain.

Prayer and meditation can calm this cage. So can calling people we love for a "reality check." This is a simple technique that can help. One of my friends found herself worrying or projecting into the future. When she would realize she was doing this, she said to herself, "Oops, worrying!" This allowed her to recenter her thoughts on whatever it was she was supposed to be doing, which was definitely not worrying.

Fear is an illusion we create throughout our lives. In recovery, fear no longer serves us. If we look at our fears squarely, they are transparent. We can stick our hands right through them.

Until tomorrow, I'm taking a day off from worrying.


Meg Moran said...

I am such a believer in the eastern way of observing life. True so true....Fear is all about our own reality. Thoughts held in mind, produce their kind. This works on our entire life, prosperity, relationships. I choose my illusions carefully today. I hope they are reflections of God.

lushgurl said...

Fear and worry used to take up so much of my time that I got stuck doing nothing. When I was in hospital a way back (for eating disorder), my shrink told me that everyday I was to set aside 15 minutes and do nothing but worry!
It sounded ridiculous but then it freed up much more time to live my life!
Love your interpretation Two Dogs!

Anonymous said...

A very powerful post, my Dawg.
I have spent my life as a very fearful person underneath a very tough exterior. The program says the "fear is a lack of faith." While I have lost some of my fears, the ones that really block me from G-d are still present.Whoah --i'll just stop there....
perhaps this is something i need to write about.
Thank you.

woof said...

Fear has a twin brother called the "bielievable lie" fact I think it is the believable lie. Fear comes from the (debil). Fear is the opposite of faith in my humble opinion. When my fear is high my faith is low and conversley. When I am afraid I believe that God is able but won't or can't do anything for good in my life. When I have faith I know he can, he will and I think I'll let him. You are the daughter of "a KING" small one. Cast all of your cares upon him for he cares for you! LU

A Tampa Realtor said...

This is one of my favorite posts!! I copied it and sent it to my email so I won't forget.