I must be in sync with some of my other blogger friends because they have also touched on this subject. It's a big one, so it's worth addressing again and again. Right now my Facebook status update reads, "What are you afraid of?" I'm sure some of my friends had an idea that one of my intentions of asking that question was to gather thoughts for a lesson here. The answers people wrote were: spiders, being a bad person, getting old, losing my loved ones, failure, success and severe pain (success and severe pain were mine and I questioned if those are separate things or if they go together). The list of what we all fear could very possibly be a endless blog post. Everyone fears something.
I have another blog called Writer's Rising. It's a collaborative blog for writers. Recently there have been several new authors added (If you are interested in writing for Writers Rising, leave a comment or send me an e-mail). One new writer named Sai from New Delhi, India (his blog is Waves Upon The Shore) really struck a cord with me about fear. Just as I was about to post this, he also posted on this topic in his introduction. He talked about how he used to be afraid to write because he worried about what others might think of his writing. He would edit his writing so much that nothing was left of himself. He let go of this. The result is beautiful. In his intro on Writers Rising, he talks about a chant he says to himself. It is "Aham Brahamsmi" or "I am the universe." I LOVE this. Basically this means that all the strength of the universe is ours.
It's no easy task to learn to let go of fear. Fear blocks us. It creates a shield and I believe it blocks our ability to realize that we are, in fact, the universe. That there is something beyond what our tiny minds can perceive. There is a greater force at work...call it God, higher consciousness, grace, or whatever you wish.
For me, when I realize that I am just a small dot in a much bigger picture of things, I lose a lot of that fear. In deep meditation, many of the parmeters of "myself" start to disappear. I start to expand. I no longer know where I begin or where I end or if there is even this "I" I speak of. There seems to be just space which encompasses all things within it.
I still have fear. I am not immune to it. I am human. It comes and goes. I still worry what people might think of me or my writing. It is still scary to open myself up. It's risky. Yes, it's a very big risk. But, I'm willing to go there. Why? I have learned so much by diving into this fear of mine. I have met other people, like Sai, who also share this fear. I feel that by opening up, I start to actually let go. I realize that there is not much difference between you and me and what we fear. It may be different things, but it's all the same. It's fear.
Other things I fear or have feared in the past are not having enough money, severe pain, my health, death of a loved one, having a car accident, technology etc. etc. This is all I can think of right now.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, "You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along. You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
Fear is debilitating. It is restricting. Fear tells us, "Don't do anything because it might be wrong or something might happen." If your intentions are good, how could something be wrong and what could really happen to you anyway? These are all just "coulds". We are saying, "This could happen or that could happen." These are all just thoughts. Nothing has happened yet, has it? If you are fearing a situation that happened in the past, who knows, it might be different this time around.
I have found that the only way to embrace my own fears is to believe that everything will be just fine. That I will be o.k. and so will others. That, as Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." The rest are just projections in my own mind of what might happen.
Ultimately, it is the fear of our own death that we are afraid of, isn't it? Of the extinction of ourselves and others. That everything about the lives we are living will terminate at some point in time. What happens after depends on what you believe. Knowing that we have such a limited time for this life, I intend to face as many of my fears as possible and expand and share with as many people as possible. Time is so precious and the time we have in this life is limited. Who has time for fear?