How are we defining our lives? The quintessential question.
Too often, we allow fear, worry and doubt to dominate. Additionally, it seems we are dealing with more fear and anxiety than ever before.
Fear is a natural protective response to danger and for many, the world isn’t feeling very safe. What if we didn’t fear illness, aging, death, loss of money, climate change, our safety? Certainly, we would be happier. We very well might also be more collaborative, peaceful and productive.
It is a common self-help philosophy that the world is simply a mirror, reflecting our own inner state. If we are inwardly in turmoil then we are certain to see a tumultuous world. What if, instead of the world getting scarier, it is reflecting a society overcome by fear?
By design, our brains are wired to structure our worlds to be predictable, controllable, definable, and to protect us from harm. We attempt to create lives that are safe and prevent things that might stimulate fear. So much of our external environment is out of our control and yet we live in fear for how it might impact us. Life tends to be unpredictable and the uncertainty can really be scary. It’s human nature to be uncomfortable with change, upheaval and disharmony.
Life becomes a burden when we are fighting with everything. We get so bogged down regretting the past and worrying about the future, we can’t savor and enjoy the blessing of being alive! This is how fear ends up trampling all over our happiness.
Life is constantly changing and providing new challenges. The seasons change, we age, our children grow up, loved ones die, relationships end. Trying to manage and control the external world to create safety is futile. When we try to prevent the world around us from doing us harm, we are hiding from it. This makes the world a threatening and frightening place. If we attempt to arrange the people, places and things so they don’t disturb us, we begin to feel like life is against us.
Life pushes us to help us spiritually evolve. Life is helping us by providing the relationships, events and changes that stimulate growth and it’s the challenging ones that teach us the most about ourselves.
If change is inevitable then fear is as well. So how do we cope with fear? Many of us learn to squelch the fear down and push forward no matter what. From my experience, both in my own life as well as with clients, this causes a disconnect with the true self.
Einstein said: “The most important question you can ever ask is if the world is a friendly place.”
He went on to explain:
“For if we decide that the universe is an unfriendly place, then we will use our technology, our scientific discoveries and our natural resources to achieve safety and power by creating bigger walls to keep out the unfriendliness and bigger weapons to destroy all that which is unfriendly and I believe that we are getting to a place where technology is powerful enough that we may either completely isolate or destroy ourselves as well in this process.
“If we decide that the universe is neither friendly nor unfriendly and that God is essentially ‘playing dice with the universe’, then we are simply victims to the random toss of the dice and our lives have no real purpose or meaning.
“But if we decide that the universe is a friendly place, then we will use our technology, our scientific discoveries and our natural resources to create tools and models for understanding that universe. Because power and safety will come through understanding its workings and its motives.”
If we believe the world is unfriendly, our actions will change accordingly and we will do what we can to protect ourselves. We will constantly be expecting bad things to happen and we will live in constant fear. On the other hand, if we decide that the universe is friendly, then we will behave accordingly and do things that will engage and help others. Remember the concept of how the world is a mirror and mimics us? When we believe in the goodness of the world, good things happen to us.
How we choose to view the world will ultimately define how we live our lives and what comes back to us. If we approach people with an angry, frustrated attitude and an expectation that they too will be angry, they will pick up on this and fulfill our expectation. If we approach people with kindness and a belief that they will be friendly, then they will put down their barriers and respond with openness.
Fear arises from the neurophysiological processes that prepare us to respond to a perceived threat or danger. The fear response starts in a region of the brain called the amygdala. A threat stimulus, such as the sight of a predator, triggers a fear response in the amygdala, which activates areas involved in preparation for the motor functions involved in fight or flight. It also triggers the release of stress hormones. We create this same physiological response by just THINKING about what might happen. This can lead to significant distress and anxiety which limit our ability for success and joy in life.
The choices are simple.
Believe in the Universe as a friendly place. Trust in the goodness of life. Know that challenges aren’t a bad thing, they are opportunities to grow. Accept that change comes with this life. Accept that life is not within our control and that it is continuously changing.
When you feel fear, acknowledge it, allow it, and release it. At any moment we can feel frustration, anger, fear, jealousy, insecurity or embarrassment. Our tendency is to suppress the discomfort and try to push it away. When you feel fear, simply start by noticing it. Watch the inner experience as energy passing through your heart. Breathe and relax. Do the opposite of contracting and closing. Relax and release. Stay open and receptive so you can remain present to where the tension is in your body. You will not want to do this because it feels uncomfortable. Just keep relaxing and allowing the sensation. Relax your shoulders and your belly. Breathe and allow the discomfort to dissipate and move through you. Just see it as energy and let it go.
Holding yourself back from full living and doing your work in the world isn’t the answer – it is blocking your potential for happiness. You must allow the fear to pass through you. The fear created by all the possible future outcomes that your brain can create. Then do the thing you know you must do. This is what builds courage.
We must be willing to open our hearts in the face of anything and everything. It’s all there supporting us. Because the Universe truly is benevolent and is supporting our growth.
The world needs your creative and unique genius. Don’t let fear hold you back.
Join me this coming September 2018 for a FREE online webinar called Be Your Own Guru. I’ll be teaching you how to start where you are with the array of circumstances that life has offered you, to hear the infinite wisdom of your soul and liberate yourself from fear. Feel the infinite magnificence of who you really are! Register HERE.