Monday, May 05, 2014

Intimacy With Fear

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At some point in our lives we all encounter fear. Whether we are embarking on an adventure or our world appears to be falling apart - fear lurks and is there.

The common questions may arise, "Will we be able to have the courage to face the unknown? Will we overcome the circumstances and be okay? Will we make it to the other side?

So many times when fear or anxiety arise we want to run away and find something that can comfort us to forget about it. This ignorance only makes things worse. The fear is still there and growing. The problem is unresolved, we are stuck and the fear has a higher likelihood of coming true.

So what can we do when we experience fear?

Intimacy with Fear
We can stop running and trying to comfort ourselves to numb the pain. We can move closer to the fear and just be there with it. By encountering and befriending the fear we cannot be paralyzed by it.

Every fear that arises is a moment to be with life and increase our capacity to encounter what is alive in the present. It is a time to be tender with what is important to us. Fear is connected to something that is precious to us. For instance, if we fear losing someone it means that we really value that connection with that person.

It is important to connect to what is so important to us, what it is that we value that we are afraid to lose. This connecting involves being compassionate with ourselves and our fear. Entering in instead of bolting out the door is the key.

Fear and other unpleasant feelings are "like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we're stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it's with us wherever we are," says Pema Chodron in her book When Things Fall Apart.

These are the moments where we can embrace what is happening to us or suppress the current reality. When we step back and take a closer look at what is happening we gain awareness. We can see what we do to numb our pain and how we try to avoid it. This knowledge can help us to choose healthier strategies to deal with our fears.

Reaching our limits and coming undone can be a sign that it is time to move on and for change. For many it is a moment of truth. A moment of awakening.

Name The Longing Of Our Heart
The first step is to have the courage to be with the fear. The second is to discover what it is that is so precious to us. Once we name what is important to us we can meditate on that and imagine it being in our life in full. That is the third step. This will give us the motivation to go after what is important instead of falling prey to the lack of it in our lives or in the world. When we focus on what is possible instead of scarcity we can move toward it.

As we begin this practice of meeting life face to face we begin to be with life in a way that is not dibilitating but empowering and leads to self-growth. We are no longer resisting life but in the flow of life.

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