The antidote to fear and anger is compassion… Dalai Lama
First – notes on the physiology of fear
Fear is a powerful energy. Once triggered it immediately releases adrenaline and other chemicals into the body to help us cope. Our breathing becomes shallow as we decide whether to fight or take flight, our physical selves are on the alert, ready to take action to defend ourselves. Pulse becomes rapid, hearts pound – sometimes even stop… Our consciousness becomes focused on the object of our fear while our peripheral vision scans our surroundings for any signals and methods of retreat or escape. In a truly dangerous situation, all of these physiological effects work – they help us to act quickly to defend and protect ourselves, to even save lives, including our own.
The trouble is that fear becomes such a habit, stress such a way of life, conditioned into us from our earliest days on the planet that we don’t realize that the physiological effects are burning us out. And interfering with our ability to psychically tune into our worlds so we can accurately choose the most effective way of achieving our goals.
Fear has a useful place: Fear is a useful emotion, it warns us when danger lurks… the trouble is that we’ve become so taken up with fear that it rules our lives… and gets in the way of our progress…
One of the key challenges in our spiritual and personal growth in general is coping with fear… Fear either freezes us in place or it sets us on the run, neither of which is very productive in terms of personal development… In its extremes, fear blinds us from the truth, triggers us to fight, (losing battle or not) or into flight and avoidance. Fear locks us in denial, and thus into anger, resentment and frustration. Fear is at the bottom of every one of the seven deadly sins in life, at the root of every war and every act of violence.
The trouble is that it seems the more we try to protect ourselves from our fears, the more we find ourselves walking right into them. Fear is such a powerful force that it acts as a magnet, attracting the very thing that we are most afraid of into our space… we are after all, in this life with purpose, and a good part of our purpose as a species is to learn to specify, understand and move past fear, to embrace Love as the driving force in our lives… The more we project fear into our worlds, the more reason we will have to be fearful… the more we project love and trust, the less we will have to be afraid of… it really is that simple.
To be fearless would seem to be the desirable, loving approach to life. Being fearless is about being brave, courageous, trusting, confident, adventurous…. to be fearless means being open to opportunity, willing to take risks… But fearlessness can be reckless when it places us in dangerous situations.
People’s reactions to the COVID-19 protocols provides an excellent example of the value of being fearful and the risks you take when you choose to be fearless….. those who are fearless will attend parties and gatherings without wearing masks, they are unconcerned about social distancing. The trouble is that they are not only placing themselves at risk, but they risk passing on the virus to anyone they connect with….