What Not to Do When Facing Your Fears

By |2018-09-28T14:44:37+00:00September 28, 2018|Personal Growth Tips|0 Comments

We all want to overcome fear, conquer fear and be courageous, be bold to take big risks, so you can be successful. Because taking big risks means having confidence and therefore leading to success. Right? That is what is being marketed anyway.

As long as confidence and fearlessness are in the equation of having success – if you “cultivate” or have more of it you will become successful one day. Confidence is the thing that you are missing, or the fears are standing in your way.

Then you have things like “lean into fear” taking small steps and all sorts of methodologies to beat fear in order to become confident and fearless.

Meditation to beat fear without even knowing what meditation really is.

So, you do that.

You take courses after courses, workshops after workshops.

Yet…

The fears seem to persist, once you conquer one, another one creeps in. Or, it comes about in a different form.

You want to overcome your fear of rejection, so you go out and get rejected by people, you get comfortable with that.

And then you come across something else that you want to do – the fear is still there. Can you do this for every fear you have? To approach each fears one by one. I am sure there are others who made a list of fears and went after it one by one, “Facing it”.

I remember when I was afraid to approach women, I used to go out and approach one after the other and get “rejected” to have confidence. And then I wanted to start my own business, I am still afraid. So, one after the other, I am supposed to “conquer” these fears.

If you approach fear like this, to deal with one fear after another, it will take a lifetime be free of fear.

If you bring clarity into the nature of our minds and understand what fear is, that will help you be free of fear.

Marketing of confidence – To become something that you are not now.

First of all, the story of confidence is a big story that is being marketed around. For various reasons. Because if there is no struggle or gap between what you are right now, and what you want to become, others can’t sell things to you.

You are not confident now, be more confident.

You are not successful be more successful, take this 3-point formula to success.

You don’t love yourself, so become more loving. Take this course on loving kindness meditation so you can be more loving.

All these carry the same message of you are not enough.

Enough for who? Why should you be enough? Enough to do what?

Do you really require courage to act?

The magic pill is to take a course, follow a guru or join cult. Right?

But doing course after course, meditation after meditation none of it has done it.

via GIPHY

Confronting fears is not heroic

Confronting fears is not heroic as it sounds. We live in a world where a lot of importance is given to suffering. Struggling through and coming out at the top out of perseverance, with will and commitment is being heroic. People are fantasizing and in romanticizing the narrative of hero’s journey here. Romanticising confronting fears. There is an idea of how confronting of fears looks like.

For this very same reason, we fail to acknowledge what we have and what we have done, because it is not heroic enough. We are always chasing something to conquer to make us feel important.

The standard for happiness makes us unhappy

Happiness is a standard now, a measure of success, fulfilment is a standard. We talk about it as if it is an ultimate destination, but we don’t know what it is. The fear of ending up unhappy and unfulfilled makes us chase happiness.

Enjoying the present without the past interfering and without the need to sustain it, that is real happiness, joy.

There are moments of happiness and as soon as it happens, there are thoughts like “I am happy”, “wait, am I happy?”.  There is recognition and doubt and all sorts of other thoughts. The very thought takes us away from being happy. You are in your head.

Having an idea of happiness as a standard to compare against won’t make you happy. It will only help you to live in your head furthermore.

The moment you say this flower is beautiful you are not in touch with the beauty of the flower.

Out of the fear of not being happy, we chase happiness.

When you are not in touch with the present to see what is happening, what is happening stays incomplete and we are engaging with the idea of what is. So the cycle repeats, and the same dialogue happens in your head.

The moment you say, “I’m afraid”, you are not in touch with your fear. Therefore, you are not in fear and it stays incomplete. So, the fear repeats.

The nature of fear

In order to be free of fear, we need to understand the nature of fear. At the core of it all fears are created the same way. The occasion in which you experience each fear may be different, but fear is created in the same way.

Fear is created and sustained by thoughts

Apart from the primal fears, for example, you see a dangerous animal and run, in those cases you just run – but I would not classify it as a fear – that is intelligence. The intelligence of our evolved brain. You don’t think in these cases, a different part of your brain operates in these cases.

When someone was taking a walk outside of their cave, thousands of years ago, they saw their father and mother getting eaten by a lion, they recorded that memory as “if you see a lion, Run!” in the very primal places of your brain (reptilian brain).

That is evolutionary intelligence. Not fear.

The other fears like, I might lose my job, my home, I might die are FEARS. Which are usually irrational.

Fear originates with a thought.

Thoughts are responsible for your emotions. When you come across a situation that is scary, there is remembrance and recognition of something that you have done in the past and therefore there is fear.

Thoughts are phenomena of memory.

The last time that you tried something risky, it went wrong, so there is fear to take risks again.

Wanting to be free of fear makes you more afraid.

All emotions are, are just some sensation here and sensation somewhere else. When we put labels on it, justify it or describe it, have an opinion about it – then we sustain it.

When you say I must do something with my fear, I should overcome it, I should conquer it – there is a part that is the fear and there is a fragment of the mind that says, I must overcome it. There is the thought “I must overcome my fear” trying dominate the thought “I feel afraid”. It really is suppression, where in one fragment tries to dominate the other.

These fragments are created when we are exposed to different conflicting messages from our environment. Hence, most of these thoughts are contradictory.

This fragmentation causes confusion and thoughts of helplessness, which is another fragment operating compounding the problem.

Ever heard of the vicious loop? This is it. This is the vicious loop of fear.

via GIPHY

Our opinions about the people and situations is what causes misery in our lives rather than the people and situations themselves.

And to say that we should not have these opinions is only adding oil to the fire. That is in itself is an opinion and part of the problem.

To demand that there should not be fear, “I should be fearless” is, in the same way, absurd.

The truth is that, who you are, the construct of “me” – your opinions, prejudices, likes, dislikes, preferences, wants, needs, reactions, emotions, sensations – all of that is the you. That is your humanity.

Dividing these into “fear and me”, “judgements and me”, “judgements and my judgements about judgements” only causes further division and conflict. And from out of that arises the need to control the conflict, wanting to make sense of it all, further fragments your mind enormously and multiplies your fears.

There is no “your” fear. There is fear. “My fear” implies that you can do something with it, and so conflict. That is definitely not the way to approach it.

You are the fear. When you see that, there is no fragmentation.

When there is no condemning of your fear, when there is acceptance of fear for seeing what it really is intrinsically leads to clarity.

Fearful mind is a product of a highly imaginative mind.

What facing fear really is. How do you see your fear for what it really is?

We talk about facing fears, if we have faced our fears, why do they repeat. The answer is obvious, you have n’t really faced it.

You are always seeing the past in the present – evaluating the present using past knowledge and are projecting the past into the future. Meaning you are re-living your past, making you more and more afraid.  Therefore, you have no idea what IS actually happening.

You keep on accumulating wrong information through this repetition. You never face your fears.

Confronting fears mean looking at fear without labelling or judging it – without prejudices, opinions interfering, without your idea of fear interfering. Because as soon as you do that you have moved away from it. You are not with the fear anymore, you are having sex with the idea of the fear in your head. You are not facing your fear anymore. In that way you have never faced your fears, how it actually feels to be afraid, you know how to think like you are afraid that is all. This only makes you more and more afraid and only confirms what you know. This is called confirmation bias.

If you are interpreting your fear and why that is happening – thinking that you are confident enough, not outspoken enough, not courageous enough and branding yourself as a coward through your thoughts – then you are not facing your fear. You are in your head.

Whenever you experience fear get to know yourself, in terms of thoughts and actions, observe that without a need to get rid of the fear. Without choice and without interference. That is facing fear. Do it without any motive just to be with the sensations and your reactions, without having to change it.

Self-awareness is the beginning of fearlessness.

What facing fear is not.

You cannot taste sugar by writing the words “Sugar” down and then licking it.

Labelling your sensations as fear is not seeing fear.

The description is never the thing. Do not describe your experience.

You see a flower and you say that flower is beautiful and walk on. What you have done is recognise the flower in your memory bank and recognise it as beautiful through your words. You have neither enjoyed the flowers beauty or learned the intricacies of that flower.

We do this with our fears too. We never observe its subtleties when the fear arises. We label it as fear and fight it, flee or freeze. Don’t label when the fear arises, there is always something new to learn. This is what facing fear is.

We do this to people and other things around us, we live in our own memories without living. We judge people and walk on – without observing. We have so many labels to brand people as. How is that justice? How is that the so-called connection?  You are connected with your own ego – there is nothing more to it.

What is known and understood does not repeat. If you understand the nature of your fear, it does not repeat.

Mechanical practice to confront fears dulls the mind

Do you practice being fearless?

There is no meaning to it. It is simple. Discipline to a practice means suppression and separation of the practice from daily life.

Practice means time and a becoming, a becoming of something you are not. There really is nothing to do. Other than learning.

Mechanical practice creates a dull mind and creates separation. This means you are fearless during the practice, other times you are not.

Integrate it in daily life.

This is the essence of meditation.

Living in the present is what it means to be fearless.

Trying to control fearful thoughts

Are thoughts not useful? Of course they are, if what you do require the knowledge of what you have learned in the past, for example a skill, being a doctor, an engineer or a carpenter – that indeed requires the thoughts from knowledge to act.

Without knowledge I will not know how to get home, or how to make money.

You are waiting for a method or someone to tell you how to live your life by

If you need someone else’s rules to function, then you are not living your life, you are living someone else’s

Waiting for someone to tell you what to do implies that you don’t trust yourself, or you don’t think that you are a good person, you are afraid of the harm that you can do – because you believe that you are a harmful person. With all these rules, ones that make sense ones that don’t make sense, when you have a desire to want something that is against these rules, that must mean that you are a bad person right?

Then that will mean something is wrong with you. You are an adult, you have the intelligence to make your own rules.

You are not to have desires for someone else’s wife, but you do. Does that make you a bad person? Who defines it. If you have sex before marriage, is that bad?

Religion, governments and family and society, schools all do the same thing. They create the rules. These rules create fear, because some or many of these rules go against the natural instinct of people. That creates conflict. Rule, when it is against what is, what is happening – whether internal or external creates conflict.

You need a mind that is capable of standing completely alone.

Don’t accept a system from anybody.

Learn for yourself, a system means – mechanical. There is no formula. A formula implies a practice, it implies division of the practiced and the practice. That creates conflict, and puts you back in your head.

Condemning fear is not facing fear

Condemning means you are in your head again. Positivity out of condemning your negativity is negativity.  Condemning being afraid IS fear itself.

When the thoughts of condemnation occur, notice it, include them in the process. And look at it, that is your whole experience of fear.

Escape from what is brings about the division. I am lonely, I must not be lonely, things like that.

When you are condemning you are evaluating what is against a superficial rulebook. Now, no one exactly knows how that rule book came into place, but it is clear that it is the messages from the past. That is obviously a fragmentation, the rules are made up by something kind of authority, whether it is society or your nation, parents, siblings or by YOU to survive your childhood or whatever, to not be rejected.

Hiding under Spiritual superiority and egotism – don’t buy into any ideology – even if it is spirituality

Many people accept a spiritual lifestyle in order to convince themselves that they have got something that others have not as a way of running away from the fact that they are experiencing life like anyone else. That is wilful separation from others that brings about feelings of superiority and egotism.

The so called spiritual beings are in the most denial of the basic nature of life, that is sadness, anger, fear, and our feelings of powerlessness, and helplessness. And goes on believing that they are beneath them. Only to realise much later that they have been doing the same things over and over again, but in a different form.

They still feel as lonely, as stupid, as fearful as others, sometimes even more. Because they have separated from others ‘the common folks’ ‘the ones in the matrix’ whatever you want to call them. They have no way to relate to “others. You try to convince them with your newfound spiritual concepts, things that you don’t believe yourself. That is a great joke.

Superiority intrinsically bring about loneliness and is born out of loneliness.

People do all sorts of things to make them feel special and above and beyond others. To feel somehow that they are special and free of the nature of life, the suffering, the loneliness.

A conditioned mind cannot learn – trying to get rid of the conditioning.

Even an acute motive to get rid of the conditioning is actively trying to condition your mind to strip off your conditioning.

I have met people, who wanted to strip off all the conditioning and were so adamant about it. They were so eager to do that, without realising they were conditioning themselves to a new set of ideology and even a language that is invented for them. Talking about separation and delusion. They used to use the word “turn on” whenever they are afraid, denial at its highest. This is wilful blindness. To make it something that it is not, to escape from what is happening, people do all sorts of things.

To be aware of one’s own conditioning brings about I don’t know what I am. Because when it is conditioned – you know the conditioning but not you.

I don’t know what I am, but I am going to find out – that is enquiry without your image. In that there is no assumption and no conclusion, so that the mind is free to observe.

You must understand this if you are to observe your fear. Not to assume that it is fear, or you are afraid. Any kind of conclusion that you are helpless, or thinking that I can observe and I have the power and choice to respond accordingly, all these are presuppositions, assumptions and conclusions.

But that means, putting aside any Christian, Hindu, Muslim or whatever conditioning that you have or any ideological conditioning that you have, and the image that you have made up for yourself.

Purpose – wanting purpose

Wanting to be a part of something that is greater than ourselves, or be involved in a meaningful job, have some meaning, is completely egotistic. Running away from the thought and fear that we might be actually be nobody.

And not finding security and permanency you mind turns towards some other kind of ideology.

Knowing the cause of fear

And we also go after the causes of fear, to heal the trauma – that does not help either. You are jealous, and you know why you are jealous does not free you from jealousy. You are still jealous, understanding the cause of your emotions does not free from your emotions.

Rather it will give you a justification to why you are like who are, and hold on to the image you have created for yourself.

Trying to be fearless is fear, trying to be yourself is not being yourself

When there is no contradiction, there is no effort.

There is no effort to be fearless. When you are not trying there is no effort. The fear is you, the dualistic approach to fear only creates more fear. Thinker does not exist without thoughts, is there a thinker without the thought? Fear only exists because there is a need to be courageous. Or that you want to get rid of it. If you understand this paradigm, you are facing your fear. There is no need to be fearless. You are not anymore afraid.

Effort or control distorts the experience. Forcing courage is not being courageous, it is overcompensation and insecurity, which are still rooted in fear.

The controller is the controlled, who are you trying to control, that is one way to get confused easily. Still we do it.

Control implies suppression, rejection or exclusion division between the controller and the thing to be controlled, therefore conflict.

The one who is angry and trying to control anger is still angry for example.

Similarly,

When you hope you are moving away from despair, you have to understand despair, not search out hope.

If you are negative minded, one has to understand negativity, not search out positivity.

Don’t search out for the ideal of courage in the hope of being fearless.

Desire for security

Brain is constantly seeking security and creating stories in your head to give you that sense of security. Brain’s fundamental nature is to seek security, it creates stories to protect you from emotional pain, even if that means blowing up your own self-importance. To say that “I am the shit to not see that I am a nobody”.

Hiding under planning

Plans are of the past, based on the past knowledge. That is a prescription-based approach to something. There is nothing new in that. We hide in planning to not to actually act it out.

It is analysis. Planning in your head is just a series of. Thinking about sex is not actually having sex.

You prefer to be in your head. Saying “I will go to the gym, and mentally fantasizing you lifting weights is not the same as going to the gym and lifting weights”.

Coming up with a perfect business plan is not the same as starting a business and dealing with the daily matters of a business. A plan means nothing without the execution. It will not have any meaning without the action.

Something is holding me back – I am aware of my fear, I am observing it

This is another bullshit statement that I usually hear from mostly the spiritual kind.

That is a good story is, right? Something is holding me back, so I don’t have to do it. That is the voice of the fear itself, it is not the awareness of fear. They say “I am aware of the fear that is holding me back? I am letting go”. What do you mean? You mean you think about your fears. It is just an excuse that is out of fear.

It is a good story.

In Summary

Thoughts create fragmentation of your mind.

Do not accept a system for anyone, find out for yourself.

Experience life as a whole, with all the negativity, prejudices, anger, sadness, envy, jealousy, with everything.

Do not create practices that is separate from your daily life, practice throughout life.

Don’t condemn your fears, apply effort, or strive to be fearless.

As long as you buy into the belief that you need to be fearless to do things, or need more confidence, you can be sold to, you can be controlled and manipulated. As long as you believe in the mystery of fear, rather than knowing what fear real is, you continue to be afraid and mystify fear even more, you live under the grips of your own emotions or worse under someone who will tell you what to do.

It is really, really, REALLY hard to let go of the unimportance of our feelings. Your feelings really don’t matter, not because I am trying to belittle anyone’s experience, mostly because it is imagined. That is the real meaning of “your feelings don’t really matter”. It is merely the past repeating itself. Feelings aid in your survival.

Don’t unnecessarily create division.

Don’t lie, to others, and to yourself. Don’t buy into opinions of others and their way of living.

Question every guru or system. Skepticism and doubt are good tools. Don’t just stop at doubt and reject – that is meaningless. Enquire further.

As long as you don’t allow your intelligence to operate, it won’t operate. If you constantly suppress it using the ideas, thoughts, judgements and rulebooks in your head – which really is you, given to you in a way – in the form of ideas.

Discard any kind of prejudices.

Say only the things that you mean – that means say only the things that you understand and live by.

Don’t create external and internal divisions.

Don’t talk about philosophy if you are not applying that in your life.

Don’t talk about ideas that you don’t have experience of unless you make it clear that those are ideas.

Be honest.

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Having been travelling for 4 years now, I write about travel, personal growth tips and my internal world here. I am excited to share with you, tools and tricks that I have learned along the way.

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