Itâs easy to misinterpret periods of great growth and advancement â in our personal lives and in our world â as dark and difficult times. As times of great fear. And in the face of these fears, we can find ourselves feeling disheartened and âat oddsâ with our growth.
But, in fact, we are never more aligned with our growth â and with our growing strength â than when we come up against our fears. Far from being a discouraging sign, our fears actually show us where we are growing â¦ because as we grow, we will necessarily âpush outâ against our fears.
In another words, as we move forward in life â or, in these times of accelerated growth, as life moves us forward â we will quite naturally âbump upâ against our fears and our old limiting beliefs. We should absolutely expect this. More to the point, we should not be intimidated or dissuaded by this encounter. We must understand that these fears rise up not to âcatchâ us, not to defeat us or plunge us into darkness â¦ but simply because our progress is taking us beyond them.
DONâT TAKE FEAR TOO âLITERALLYâ
So, the first mistake we make with fear â and the reason we can become âstuckâ in our fear â is simply misinterpreting it. We give our fear far more meaning and power than it deserves. We understandably but quite incorrectly see the âriseâ of our fears as evidence of our weakness. We âreactâ to our fears â¦ as a warning of failure, as a sign that weâre not equipped for whatâs ahead.
But nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, these fears are not coming to us. Weâre moving through them. We âfeelâ our fears â yes, sometimes very acutely â at any particular moment only because at that moment weâre in the process of pushing them out of the way.
So the last thing we want to do is take these fears too seriously. These heavy, constraining thoughts and feelings are not accurate signals of limitation or impending difficulty. In fact, they surface not because theyâre true but because theyâre ânot true.â Weâre outgrowing them.
The challenge, of course, is that â¦
FEAR âFEELSâ REAL
For better or worse, fear engages our survival instincts. As human beings, our fear-response mechanisms are hard-wired into our bodies and minds.
Weâre âdesignedâ to be mobilized (or immobilized) by fear. Now, this reflex may serve us quite well when weâre in actual (physical) danger. But when weâre overcoming old fears and facing âdangersâ weâre meant to outgrow, this âalarmâ response gets in the way.
Our task then is to know the difference between actual and âimaginedâ dangers even when our minds and emotions do not. So when weâre moving beyond beliefs that merely âlimitâ us (rather than protect life and limb), we must be able to see that rising fear more as a âfalseâ alarm.
Now, this doesnât mean we wonât feel the fear. And it doesnât mean we wonât feel the old âwoundingâ underlying that fear or limiting belief. In fact, this is a critical part of the healing/releasing process. So we must by all means acknowledge and honor these âhurtâ feelings (anger, sorrow, etc.). But we do not want to identify with these wounded feelings â¦ or the fear that âprotectsâ them.
We are never our wounding. We are never our fear. Our fear and wounding rise so that we may see them and release them.
DONâT FIGHT FEAR, âDISPLACEâ IT
Releasing fear requires some finesse. Fear is sticky. Not only does it engage our primal responses, it will also âhook inâ to old emotional memories and old wounding, making these âseemâ very real and very present. Fear catches and spreads. Consequently, just about anything we âdoâ with fear will inflame it. This includes fighting and (especially) judging our fear.
So in order to avoid feeding and getting âcaughtâ in our fear, we must work somewhat against our instincts. We must exercise some discipline. As compelling and alarming as fear may feel, we must treat it with a light touch. Rather than engaging with our fear â rather than âreactingâ to our fear, judging ourselves for it, or feeling âvictimizedâ by it â we must simply see it and see through it. We donât want to give the energy of fear any additional form or substance.
In fact, in a very practical sense, fear is not an energy at all. Fear is a âconstrictingâ of our energy. And the distress we feel as fear is nothing more than our strength pushing out against this constriction.
So grappling and engaging with our fear only tightens that constriction. We need instead to relax around that constriction. Fear is something we release. Fear is something we displace with our own knowing: the knowing of our strength, the clarity about who we are.
A FIVE-MINUTE EXERCISE TO GET âUNSTUCKâ FROM FEAR
Admittedly, when fear does get a âholdâ on us, it can be difficult to see âwho we are.â Fear distorts. Itâs important, first of all, not to âjudgeâ ourselves when we get âstuckâ in fear. And to clear this fear, itâs helpful to work from the inside out. So hereâs a five-minute exercise or meditation that awakens your true strength so that it can displace your fear.
Stand or sit with your back fairly straight. Then,
1. Focus lightly on your breath, breathing smoothly and easily for a moment or two. Try to let your mind rest.
2. Visualize above you and aligned with your body a great source of white light. As you breathe, feel a âconnectionâ with this source of light.
3. Now, see or feel a flow of this white light stream down from this source and begin to fill you (through the crown of your head).
4. As you inhale, let this rich white light fill out and expand within you. And with your exhale, breathe out easily any fear. Just feel or visualize that feeling of fear (the panic, the constriction, the heaviness or worry) being released and expelled easily and naturally with your exhale. (Do not âjudgeâ the fear, just let it go.) Spend a few minutes with this. Let this pure white light flow through and fill your mind; let the light fill your heart to overflowing. Let it fill your body and energy completely, until you become a âvesselâ of this pure white light â until there is no room within you for anything but light.
5. Once your body is completely filled, let the light expand out âaroundâ your body, letting the light gently clear and displace any fear or tightness caught in your outer energy field. (Remember to breath and release easily with your exhale.) As this constriction is relaxed, see your energy field âfill outâ with this light, becoming very full. Let the light make your outer energy field smooth, even, strong, and complete â all around you. Continue this for a moment or two.
Do this five-minute exercise once first thing in the morning, and once at night. Understand that you may not feel the effect immediately. (It can sometimes take 2-3 days to âbreak upâ the fear energy.) But keep doing it anyway. Make it routine, like brushing your teeth. Just do it.
Copyright 2010 Planetwide Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.
Rob Brookler is the founder and creator of the Meditations2Goâ¢ audio meditation collections and the Meditations2Go.com website. The Meditations2Go audio meditation CDs and MP3 downloads, meditation FAQs, and original articles â available at www.Meditations2Go.com â are drawn directly from the popular meditation classes Mr. Brookler has taught for the past 27 years in the Los Angeles area.