The Only Practical Way To Let Go Of Fear
Don’t get trapped in conceptual solutions – they just keep you in your mind.
To be truly fearless does not mean being some kind of brave warrior! It simply means that our heart is free of contraction and tension, because this is how fear manifests in our physical body. When fearful thoughts are engaged with, the response is always contraction in the body, and because our heart is so very sensitive, it tightens up to protects itself more than any other part of the body.
Therefore, the most practical and effective response to feeling fear in your body is simply to relax, because relaxation and tension cannot exist in the same space. As your body relaxes, it is affirming a feeling of safety. It is affirming that it is not threatened, and in truth there is no real threat contained within the thoughts we have. We are simply envisioning a scenario as if it were real, and our body responds to this vision, this thought. But it is just a thought, and no matter how convinced we are that our thoughts are accurate, we must bring our attention out of thinking, back to our experiential reality of where we are and what we are feeling, and relax. As soon as we relax, tension and fear dissipate, and harmony and peace are restored. And we can do this in any situation.
The Importance of Breathing
In partnership with relaxing our body, it is very useful to become aware of our breath flowing in and out of our body. When we get stuck in a thought, our breath usually stops, or becomes very irregular. It is almost as if the body freezes in time, as it holds a particular thought in its mind. The flow of our breath stops and we become disconnected from the feeling of energy flowing in our body. This is what people call being ‘in the grip’ of fear. But as soon as we allow our breath to flow once more, as soon as we become aware of the sensation of energy in our body – which is a very grounding thing to do – the anxious thoughts are no longer held in place by our attention and they can pass on by, as all thoughts do when we disengage from them.
So, if we get used to choosing not to engage with any mental fears, there simply will be no contraction within our heart and it can expand as it needs to. Love will be the predominant feeling in our body and we will perceive the rich beauty and depth of being alive. There will be no movement towards aggression or hostility, because the heart is at peace, and has no need or desire for conflict. It is only the insecure ego which creates such things.
The ego needs opposition to maintain its existence, thus the ego is always pitting us against something; perhaps another person, a life circumstance which we do not want, perhaps something which is occurring in our own body, or even life itself. The ego just needs opposition. Without opposition, the ego has no opposing force with which to energise itself, and it simply vanishes. It is replaced by a sense of harmony, ease and loving co-operation with the forces of life and the many ways in which they manifest in the material world.
So ultimately, fearlessness means disengaging from the ego, which is purely a mechanism of fear, lack and insecurity. If a fear arises in our mind, it has been produced by the insecurity if the ego and if we engage with that fear, we are thus identifying with the ego. This means identifying ourselves with fear and insecurity, and it very much feels like this in our body. It inevitably creates a feeling of inner weakness, which people often try to counter by building up their body and making their muscles strong. But strong muscles are not so important. What we really need is a strong heart which is open and trusting, and not afraid of life in any way.
As we learn to identify with the sense of peace, trust and inner-strength which our heart brings us, our ‘external’ reality becomes totally non-threatening. No longer do we constantly perceive danger upon the horizon, but instead we learn to trust that we are safe, and that life has no desire to hurt us or punish us. In this space of trust where we are trusting in the power and benevolence of love, we are simply free from the pull of the ego’s fearful thoughts. Thus, we do not feel their influence in our body. We feel peaceful, calm, relaxed, happy and free. Our heart is liberated from fearful constriction and our outer reality simply mirrors this inner freedom.
In this way, we can clearly observe that our inner choice of awareness (thinking or feeling) determines our outer perception of reality (fearing or trusting). To quote Aldous Huxley, “The world is a mirror, reflecting his image to the beholder.”