It’s easy to misinterpret periods of great growth and advancement – in our personal lives and in our world – as dark and difficult times. As times of great fear. And in the face of these fears, we can find ourselves feeling disheartened and “at odds” with our growth.
But, in fact, we are never more aligned with our growth – and with our growing strength – than when we come up against our fears. Far from being a discouraging sign, our fears actually show us where we are growing … because as we grow, we will necessarily “push out” against our fears.
In another words, as we move forward in life – or, in these times of accelerated growth, as life moves us forward – we will quite naturally “bump up” 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 “catch” us, not to defeat us or plunge us into darkness … but simply because our progress is taking us beyond them.
DON’T TAKE FEAR TOO ‘LITERALLY’
So, the first mistake we make with fear – and the reason we can become “stuck” in our fear – is simply misinterpreting it. We give our fear far more meaning and power than it deserves. We understandably but quite incorrectly see the “rise” of our fears as evidence of our weakness. We “react” to our fears … as a warning of failure, as a sign that we’re not equipped for what’s ahead.
But nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, these fears are not coming to us. We’re moving through them. We “feel” our fears – yes, sometimes very acutely – at any particular moment only because at that moment we’re 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 they’re true but because they’re “not true.” We’re outgrowing them.
The challenge, of course, is that …
FEAR ‘FEELS’ 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.
We’re “designed” to be mobilized (or immobilized) by fear. Now, this reflex may serve us quite well when we’re in actual (physical) danger. But when we’re overcoming old fears and facing “dangers” we’re meant to outgrow, this “alarm” response gets in the way.
Our task then is to know the difference between actual and “imagined” dangers even when our minds and emotions do not. So when we’re moving beyond beliefs that merely “limit” us (rather than protect life and limb), we must be able to see that rising fear more as a “false” alarm.
Now, this doesn’t mean we won’t feel the fear. And it doesn’t mean we won’t feel the old “wounding” 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 “hurt” feelings (anger, sorrow, etc.). But we do not want to identify with these wounded feelings … or the fear that “protects” 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.
DON’T FIGHT FEAR, ‘DISPLACE’ IT
Releasing fear requires some finesse. Fear is sticky. Not only does it engage our primal responses, it will also “hook in” to old emotional memories and old wounding, making these “seem” very real and very present. Fear catches and spreads. Consequently, just about anything we “do” with fear will inflame it. This includes fighting and (especially) judging our fear.
So in order to avoid feeding and getting “caught” 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 – rather than “reacting” to our fear, judging ourselves for it, or feeling “victimized” by it – we must simply see it and see through it. We don’t 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 “constricting” 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 ‘UNSTUCK’ FROM FEAR
Admittedly, when fear does get a “hold” on us, it can be difficult to see “who we are.” Fear distorts. It’s important, first of all, not to “judge” ourselves when we get “stuck” in fear. And to clear this fear, it’s helpful to work from the inside out. So here’s 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 “connection” 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 “judge” 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 “vessel” of this pure white light – until there is no room within you for anything but light.
5. Once your body is completely filled, let the light expand out “around” 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 “fill out” with this light, becoming very full. Let the light make your outer energy field smooth, even, strong, and complete – 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 “break up” 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 Meditations2Go™ audio meditation collections and the Meditations2Go.com website. The Meditations2Go audio meditation CDs and MP3 downloads, meditation FAQs, and original articles – available at www.Meditations2Go.com – are drawn directly from the popular meditation classes Mr. Brookler has taught for the past 27 years in the Los Angeles area.