Guess What? Fear is An Illusion.
A FEAR-ALIGNED PAST
Since I’ve started to “wake up,” I’ve become fascinated by my experience with fear. My relationship to fear is an intimate one. In my 20’s I suffered from debilitating panic attacks. The kind that put you in the emergency room. For most of my 30s, I battled addiction; which at its core is about being in complete alignment with fear. Or better said, the negative ego.
What I’ve come to learn through my focus on expanding my self-awareness is this: Fear is mostly an illusion. This is not to say you don’t experience fear. Of course you do; and in some cases it’s necessary. But what’s driving the fear you experience is almost always, false. Not valid in terms of the possibility of it coming to fruition. Often anchored to limiting beliefs or areas of your life that require healing.
In fact, fear has a very ‘telling’ acronym: False Evidence Appearing Real.
When I refer to fear, I’m referring to ANY negative-based emotion, thought or feeling (e.g., worry, doubt, anxiety, jealousy, anger, etc.). If measured by our thinking alone, there is no question that humans are more “fear-aligned” than “love-aligned.” The average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those thoughts, 80 percent are negative, fear-based; another 95 percent are exactly the same repetitive thoughts as the day before.*
And guess what? Most of those fear-based thoughts never even happen! In the book, The Worry Cure, research found that 85 percent of what you fear and worry about never comes to fruition. And for the 15 percent of fears that actually do occur, most people find they can either handle the challenge better than expected, or that the challenge ended up teaching them a valuable lesson.
In short, most of us are spending our days repeating the exact same fear-based thoughts, over and over, that never even happen. The yogis refer to it as the “monkey mind.” I call it insanity.
But it can most accurately be attributed to what’s referred to as the ego. The voice of fear in your head that likes to present itself as the voice of reason. You likely identify this voice, as YOU. When it’s not; just a small part.
THE PURPOSE OF THE EGO
Much has been written about the ego, from spiritual and psychological perspectives alike. At its core it’s a false perception that you are separate – from everything – and therefore limited in some way. Eckart Tolle describes the ego as: “A dysfunctional relationship with the present moment.” In that, the ego is always in the past (regret) or the future (worry); never in the present. Not accepting what simply IS. Instead, resisting it.
When we’re in ego, we lose our ability to sense the interconnectedness of all that exists.
Moreover, when we’re in the past or future, fear is typically the currency. Using our earlier observation, the equivalent of some 25,000+ fear-based thoughts per day, for the average person.
So what is the purpose of experiencing such an overwhelming amount of fear? I believe it is to have the opportunity to expand the truth of who you really are. To step into an expanded awareness and consciousness.
FEAR AS YOUR TEACHER
What if fear simply existed to reflect back to you what requires healing within you? What if the majority of your worry, doubt and resentment was really anchored to something much deeper? And that through unlocking THIS – you could be free?
Well, this is almost exactly what I’ve come to know to be true.
This is not say that there aren’t real causes for fear. If someone is chasing you, I suggest you run. But the negative, fear-based repetitive, often mindless, thinking; is simply YOU projecting. It’s YOU showing you, what you need to work on. Here are some examples:
Repetitive fears about money might actually be about an inherent belief in scarcity that requires healing.
Constantly feeling that “things will go wrong” might be tied to lack of self-belief or confidence.
Fears about “not getting what you want” might be tied to a deep misplacement of, or lack of trust.
The key is to start observing, rather than identifying, with your fears. When you do this from a place of neutrality, you release the grip they have over you. However, if you engage with them as truth, you create your own self-contained prison. In other words, believing the voice of fear in your head is how you give over your power. Made worse when you make choices or take actions based on what it has to say.
Instead, practice engaging with fear as your teacher. Here’s a simple example to show you how:
Imagine it’s the morning and you’re on your way into the office. You have a big meeting that day and you’re feeling nervous about it. Overwhelmingly so. The voice of fear in your head is telling you: “It’s not going to go well,” or “You don’t have what it takes.” In this moment your goal is to: 1) Pause and observe; 2) Ask what is this fear showing me about ME (e.g., unworthiness, lack of confidence)? Then, 3) Choose a new empowering, present-oriented thought (e.g., ‘I am enough’!).
Most importantly, the goal is to anchor yourself back into the present moment. Focus your attention on whatever is right in front of you. Choose to be in the here and now. Not in the meeting that hasn’t yet happened.
This is how you begin to step out of being controlled by your ego; and claim the truth of who you really are. Aligned to your life purpose. Which is to remember WHO you really are; someone with limitless potential. Anchored to your truth, which is at its core, love.
When we shift our perspective on fear – seeing it for the inherent illusion it is – we become free. Free to unlock the underlying reason we are experiencing it in the first place. That is if we’re willing to do the work.
I know it’s not necessarily easy. But it’s the work we are here to do. And it is the key to your awakened consciousness. To learn how to rise above even the most convincing of fears and remember who you really are: Divine, whole and complete.
*National Science Foundation