This week, another powerful question that will receive a treatment below. Treatments to such big questions are limited by space and time. Books can and have been written about such topics and there are many opinions and theories. I offer a few resources along with the following:
This Week’s Question:
How should we deal with fear, in particular, fear of death?
Fear is a very powerful word and full of many connotations. I will leave the fear of death until last, as seems fitting.
Fear is a mechanism used to alert us to danger. Originally, this alert often meant survival; the difference between life and death. And it still can. On a physical level, paying attention to the response of a fear alert is vitally important.
However in the Western world where, for many of us, our survival needs are being met, our fear response has taken on a different role. Rather than signally a threat to our physical safety, fear has become a threat to our mental stability.
For an in-depth discussion on the real threats that we can avoid by paying attention to our fear alert and our intuition, please see Gavin de Becker’s The Gift of Fear.
The following will pertain to our mental fears, the fears we construct in our minds that mostly do not come to pass but paralyze us nevertheless.
Fear ~ 5” x 8”Ink on Paper ~ ©Linda Hough
Fear is the projection into the future of a perceived negative outcome.
For example, in your mind, you are thinking about changing careers or jobs. When you imagine this change, you begin to get excited. You imagine all the good things this change will bring.
Then, the possibility of a negative outcome begins to seep into your vision. Maybe you’ll fail. What will people think. Etc. Etc.
Suddenly, this negative outcome becomes larger than the positive mental images that led you to contemplate your change. Fear has taken hold.
There are all kinds of reasons for projecting a negative outcome and having it outweigh your original vision. But the end result is that the negative outcome becomes dominent in your thinking.
Now, every time you imagine making this change, not only does fear grip your thinking, your body begins to respond as well. Your breathing and your heart rate increase. You suddenly experience a gripping pain in your solar plexus or heart area. You become anxious, and you respond as your ancestors once did to physical fear: flight, fight or freeze.
When it comes to making the decision to change, you are now overcome with the paralysis of fear. This results in you doing nothing. Your dreams are put on hold or never become realized. Fear has won its battle today. You are indeed ‘safe’.
The greatness of this question lies in the fact that when you are aware that you are in fear, you now have other options. You are at choice.
Marianne Williamson says that there are only two emotions: fear and love. If you are not in one, you are in the other.
When you recognize that you are in fear, immediately stop and become aware of your thinking. You will most likely find that you are imagining a negative scenario. You have only to change your thinking and the fear will disappear. I’m speaking in mental terms and again, NOT about physical fear and danger.
Open Door ~ 30” x 40” Oil on Canvas © Linda Hough
At any given moment, there are a multitude of futures available to you. All it takes is the awareness of what you want and then making the choice best aligned with your desire.
I know this sounds very simple. It can be but often it is not. All sorts of unconscious beliefs and ideas come parading in front of your beautiful vision. It is all an illusion to keep you safe.
As a creator, it is up to you open the door to the future you want. You begin by taking the first step. You step either into fear or into love…the choice is yours.
Love ~ 5” x 8” Ink of Paper ~ ©Linda Hough
When I was reflecting on this very important question, the 1984 Foreigner ballad came flashing into my mind. With internal speakers blaring loudly, I heard this resonate with the deepest part of myself:
I wanna know what love is
I want you to show me
I wanna feel what love is
I know you can show me.
If you too want to know what love is, just ask. Ask to be shown. In the presence of love, fear cannot exist. They are at opposite ends of a polarity. Let love replace fear and watch what you can do. Let love be the positive outcome you imagine, instead of the negative.
As for fear of death, this comes from much the same place as fear in general. When an outcome is unknown, we fear the worse. Faith and belief are helpful but still no one knows what happens when we die. And so we fear.
Besides faith, there is one single resource that not only completely comforted me with regards to this most universal of fears but gave me insight on a number of different levels. You’ll find that resource by clicking here.
Fear arises to keep us safe. But ‘safe’ is not the way to a fulfilling life. By becoming aware of your fears and choosing differently, you step through the doorway to a life you are longing to live.