Fear is a gift that wakes us up and cleans us out, allowing us to live fully in the moment and giving meaning to our life
- Fear is a natural, physical flow of energy in the body
- Fear of fear prevents us from using this energy as a resource
- When we allow fear, we can be creative in the face of the challenges we experience and live fully in the moment
Fear is a natural, physical flow of energy in the body
Our bodies are the result of millions of years of evolution. We came from the sea, and then moved to the land. From moving about on four legs, we became upright, walking the savanna and always on the move. We lived a wild life, an animal among animals, scanning and searching our environment to find the water, food and shelter which would enable us to survive, and to avoid the predators who wanted to make us their lunch. Our fear system is part of our evolutionary design. A twig cracks in the forest. or we perceive sudden movement in the tall grasses around us, and instantly we are more alert, with more clarity, our muscles become instantly strong and ready for action, we have more energy and we move quickly in one direction, away from danger. The ability to experience fear and receive its gift of alertness, clarity and energy is what has kept us alive as humans.
Fear of fear prevents us from using this energy as a resource
Somehow, over 70,000 years of being human, as we have become more “civilised” and “domesticated” and less “wild”, to be frightened has become seen as a sign of weakness in our society.
Instead of allowing and using this flow of fear in our bodies, we react against it, shut down in our body so that we won’t experience it, and as a result we feel weak, small and vulnerable. We are caught in a reaction of fear of fear in which we become tense, constrict our diaphragm, breathe only to the upper chest and become busy in our heads. In this place, we do not have access to the gifts of fear, but feel weak and powerless. And in this situation, we are more likely to end up becoming someone else’s metaphorical lunch, to feel we are being taken advantage of in some way, which makes us feel even more weak and powerless, and so the cycle continues.
Many of us carry within our bodies much “old fear’: the residue of many years of not being able to experience fear physically, and instead experiencing fear of fear. And each time we find ourselves in a new situation, in which we do not have the answers or are not in control, which means every new situation, more fear or fear will be generated, and so our bodies become receptacles for much stuck old fear, which prevents us from being fully present in the moment, and from experiencing ourselves as resourceful and confident.
When we allow fear, we can be creative in the face of the challenges we experience and live fully in the moment, which gives meaning to our life
If we can genuinely allow fear to flow in our body, and not be caught in our reaction of fear of fear, we can use the experience to perceive more fully our surroundings and situation, and to respond appropriately to it. A rush of fear flow takes many forms. It could be a cold shivering in the skin, a deeper shuddering from within the body, sudden changes in body temperature. The flow of fear sweeps the body, moves from down to up, and out through the arms and fingers or head. It is like a shower, refreshing the whole body and waking it up. The eyes sparkle with new vitality and often, with new insights, and a sense of calm that is present in the whole body. These experiences allow us to be fully present to what is happening now, not to be caught up in old stories, in inner dialogues.
Fear is a gift, and the capacity to experience it is a sign of health. To experience fresh fear in a new situation alerts us to its newness, its freshness, that we don’t know how to be, who to be, how to think or behave in this situation. It calls for us to step fully into our potential and to be here and now and contribute to it from that place.
This is what it is to be fully alive in our life. This is the only meaning that our life has, to be fully alive, in this moment now. And allowing the flow of fear gives us this gift.
Fear is a physical energy, our own physical energy, and it appears to remind us that we want to be free and alive. We can learn to experience transforming fear from the past into a resource of energy and strength in the present, and to know the difference between fear as a warning when we do something that could harm us, and fear as a sense of excitement that arises when we experience something new.