In my last piece I outlined the place that the sale of fear is taking in our life. I noted the role fear plays in creating illness. I highlighted the major role of particularly guilty industries: the pharmaceutical companies, politicians, insurance companies and the news and advertising media, to name just five. These are entities that go out of their way to create a culture of fear to sell their products.
Because it is not a one-way street, however, this is not the whole story. Here in FEAR II, I outline the role we play in putting our self at the mercy of fear and dread and the personal responsibility we must own to manage these feelings. If you are interested, I explain this in greater detail, with clinical examples, in my book.
The first difficult and complex reality is that fear and dread are a very large and significant part of being human. These feelings and others, like a sense of doom, are essential elements of the human experience. Repeat this to yourself: “If I want to be fully human then I accept that fear and dread are a part of what I am.” Only by accepting this can you utilize your essential inner energy and at the same time ward off salesmen selling you more fear. You already have a plentiful supply.
The second reality is inherently more difficult to acknowledge. This is because most of us spend so much time trying to rid ourselves of fear or trying to avoid fear all together. In doing this we are denying the reality that it is quite normal to feel profoundly scared every day. If you have no sense of this you are likely cutting yourself off from your feelings and the vital energy and creativity that goes with them.
The third part, the hardest, is to realize how much it is in your interest to look into your own doom enclosed as you are as a physical entity. Close your eyes and stare into the abyss, the dark, the nothingness, the end, the loneliness, the abandonment, the sense of fading away, the terror that is in you. It is here, often to your shock, that you will find the light and source of energy that shines most brightly.
When, shaking with fear, you accept your fear the next step is to look it in the eye. Allowing your self this experience several times a day will ease your being at the mercy of your lower consciousness feelings. Doing this is only useful, of course, if you otherwise get on with what you WON’T and what you WILL do each day while accepting this experience as only one important part of feeling alive as you live. This practice frees you from being manipulated by the authoritarian voices in your own head or the voices outside who would encourage you to not feel, to look away, to seek safety and security, or conversely to attack, seek revenge, or retaliate against yourself or others.
Remember, finally, this decision, is a choice: to LOVE and BE WELL, or act out on your feelings as if you are a separate, isolated, strange specter alone with your ghoulish thoughts and fears. This you will recognize is the essence of all vampire, monster, horror and slasher books and films. This is commonly known as evil.
To know it, our fears and our dread, so we may contain it within ourselves, is to not inflict it on others, but instead to put it into the world in art or symbols of art, narratives or images. This allows us to then take it back inside our self in a more refined and less terrifying version. Here we may know our feelings and our self with comfort again.
This all, of course, depends on our having had a necessary amount of affectionate holding by parents or parent substitutes. If you have not had this amount of holding a therapist may be able to help you develop a sense of safety inside yourself. If you did have security as a child and you follow the practice outlined you will see that you think you are afraid of the forest, the dark and nothingness but you are really afraid of ‘nothing’. And, of course how can ‘nothing’ be fearful, except in the sense Augustine and Nietzsche said evil is ‘no-thing’.
As words are also not things, the words you choose will determine the thoughts that lead to your actions; this in turn will lead to consequences in terms of your peace of mind and your overall health and creativity.
If you choose to LOVE and BE WELL, then each day, morning and night, take a moment, close your eyes, let yourself relax, breath in and out, then say:
I WON’T deny my fears.
I WON’T let others project fear into me.
I WILL accept my doubts and fears.
I WILL extend love to the world.
I AM light and energy and LOVE in the midst of all darkness.
Dr. Clark Falconer is a Guest Blogger for PickTheBrain. He is a practicing Psychiatrist from Vancouver, Canada and the author of the new, critically acclaimed book The Three Word Truth About Love And Being Well. To receive daily tips on the power of words follow Clark on Twitter.
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