Managing Fear

Managing Fear

Fear is the mother of all negative emotions. Fear is the root cause. Fear manifests itself in many forms and situations. Fear arises out of our mental habits of (a) focusing on the negative, and (b) proliferating thoughts. The root cause of fear is delusion. Thus the often quoted acronym for fear – False Evidence Appearing Real – is very appropriate and accurate indeed.

In managing fear, the goal is simply to find relief. Once relief is found, it can be a springboard to better and more positive thoughts and emotions.

Some of the thoughts that I find useful for me in finding relief from fear are listed below:

1. We are spiritual beings coming here for a physical experience. We are NOT physical beings coming here for a spiritual experience. This thought removes us from the trap of seeing ourselves from the perspective of a physical being, and elevates us to see ourselves as spiritual beings. This important shift is necessary as it frees us from the attachments to certain expectations and outcomes that we desire but may not get.

2. Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God. This passage comes from “A Course in Miracles”. In viewing the situation from a spiritual perspective, we are reminded that Absolute Reality cannot be threatened by anything. The physical world is simply a mind-created world, and is often regarded as an illusion or “maya” by the ancients. Since our essence is of the Absolute, our safety is assured, although in our delusional thoughts this fear for our safety is the underlying root cause of all fears.

3. “Lord, grant me the courage to change the things I can change, the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference”. This is from the Serenity Prayer of the Christians, and is a strong reminder that there are situations that we can do something about and situations that we cannot do anything about. In the first situation, we need courage to affect change. In the latter situation, we need serenity to accept what we cannot change. Acceptance may be easier to come by if we have faith in the fairness of the universe, in knowing that whatever unfolds for us is just and appropriate for our spiritual learning and growth.

4. What-Is is done. Direct our attention to what we can do NOW. This is a reminder that whatever we are experiencing now is the fruition of our own manifestation. Through our unconscious mental habits in the past, our present reality is the unfolding of those negative mental habits or kamma. So What-Is is already done. We cannot do anything about it. What we can do, however, is how we respond to this current reality. We can choose to respond to it unconsciously and negatively as we have habitually done before or we can choose to respond to it more consciously and positively. In choosing to respond more consciously and positively, we can affect a better outcome and experience.

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