Not Being Afraid of Fear

fearMary O’Malley – We all experience fear.  Even when your life is going well, it is still there, concealed in the core of your inner story, running you from underneath your everyday awareness.

You have big fears – the unknown, your imagined inadequacy, the dark side within you, your constant companion, death.

And you have smaller fears – your hair doesn’t look good so people won’t see you the way you want them to see you; you will be late to the movie because the stoplight is too long; a cold may stop you from singing with your choir.

Fear not only causes you to lean away from what is showing up in your life, resisting what you don’t like, but it also causes you to lean forward, trying to grab a hold of something that will quell your fear.

It is astounding when you see how afraid you are of fear itself.  When you stand back and observe your thoughts, you can see yourself secretly hoping that if you just move fast enough, collect enough material things, and stave off death by the illusion of a perfect body and a perfect life, fear will disappear. Unable to be present for what you are experiencing, you miss your life.

If you had a little door on your forehead and you could open it up to watch all the thoughts you have in a day, you would see how much fear is woven throughout your storyteller.  It is afraid of not being enough, and of being too much, of being rejected, of being late, of being sick and aging, of not looking good, of not being a success, of being stupid, of not being accepted, of being alone, and most especially of not being in control (for your storyteller believes that without control, either something bad will happen or nothing will happen).

With all your energy directed toward managing your experience, fear has had free reign in your inner world.  When you try to manage your life, you fear that Life won’t give you what you want and you fear that it will give you what you don’t want.  You fear your full empowerment and you fear that you are not powerful enough.

Trying to get rid of fear only causes more fear, for what you resist and try to contain only becomes stronger.  And yet most of our therapy and spirituality is about some level of managing our lives, especially fear. But there comes a time in your journey when you see that managing only takes you so far.  You see that healing fear is not about getting rid of it or controlling it.  It is about getting to know fear so that you relate to it with equanimity and wisdom rather than trying to manage it.

So the invitation is, for just today, when you see that your mind is running a story of fear, instead of saying “I am afraid” or “I am anxious” simply say, “I see you fear,” or “Fear is here,” acknowledging that it is here rather than resisting it or believing its stories.

Every moment of relating to your fears rather than from them is a moment of healing.  And just like drops of water in a bucket, one day the bucket will overflow, and you will not longer be afraid of your fears.

SF Source Mary O’Malley May 2018

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