Five Lessons in Fearlessness

fearless.jpgThere is a bit of a contradiction in the title. Here is why: I don’t believe that any of us can be fearless on a consistent basis. The reason for this is that fear has a purpose; it was hardwired into our brain for a reason. It can save us from death, it is a survival switch designed to kick in during moments of danger. Great for when a saber tooth tiger is chasing us!

The problem with fear is that it’s been running our lives in this crazy out-of-control, achievement driven culture we live in. It is like we are encountering tigers around each corner. And while it might not be possible to be 100% fearless, it is 100% possible to learn to control the fear and use it as a messenger, or better yet – as a catalyst for action, rather that letting it run our lives.

For simplicity purpose, I’d like to split fear into two categories: the chronic and the acute. This short piece will address the former, as the latter was hinted at above with the tiger example.

When we are chronically inundated with fear, it has several damaging effects: it robs us of stepping into an unfamiliar situation that could offer a great opportunity, it keeps us in a distorted framework, and wrecks havoc on our bodies, blocking energetic channels.

However, despite what many might think, treating fear as the enemy creates contrary effects. If we resist it, it will persist and grow. Instead, if we are open to its messages and approach it with openness and kindness, the way we would approach a friend who needs help, or a a traumatized child. By acknowledging it, hugging it and not judging it. Over time, it will dissolve and perhaps even, reveal interesting insights.

Short Practice

If you are currently sensing fear in your body, sit down or lie down in a place where you will not be disturbed for a few minutes. If you are at work, go to your car.

  • Close your eyes and take three slow deep breaths.
  • Locate the sensation of fear inside your body and rather than trying to get rid of it, embrace it and give it your full attention.
  • Try not to think about it, just feel it. As you do so and continue breathing, you will gradually notice the fear lessen.
  • Now, begin to include the open space that holds the emotion and permeates your body, while still welcoming the emotion. Feel the fear lessen, more and more, until only space remains.

Five Faces of Fear

Paradoxically, being truly fearless is not about banishing fear from your life, but rather welcoming it, and thus not letting it control you. You are in charge. Remember:

  1. Fear is a feeling, a result of a thought, not a fact. It is real but it is not in control when you are conscious of it. It can become habitual, but with regular practice of welcoming it, its presence will diminish.
  2. Fear is an emotional vector pointing you towards a nest of treasures that can reveal your deeper blueprint. Every emotion has an origin and a reason for existence. Inquire within to discern it messages. Journaling helps with this process as it slows down your thinking, making it more focused.
  3. Fear, as any negative emotion, is a reminder to get present! The practice above was inspired by Dzogchen meditation. By dropping within and embracing ourselves just as we are, we honor ourselves and prepare the ground for our awakening to what’s truly real.
  4. Fear can be isolating, in our daily lives, it is good to cultivate a community and reach out to others to grow a sense of connection. We all experience very similar emotions and feelings. Knowing that can be very soothing in moments we feel lonely.
  5. Accept it and go for your dreams! The more dynamic approach to fear is to acknowledge it and move right past it. Since you are in charge here, you can transcend it into excitement, such as when you are about to give a presentation, get on stage, jump off a plane or speak your truth.

As you can see, there is no one way to reach fearlessness and stay there. Life is constantly changing and our emotions are barometers informing us of the degree of resonance that exists between our inner and outer worlds. It may take some time to get there but overtime it is easier to feel more free and unbound from its clutching hold.

However, there is one way to achieve a state of fearlessness that lasts, but it requires a strict discipline through self-observance to build a relentless state of kindness. Because only the truly kind have nothing to fear.

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