By Anita Anand December 2007 Fear is one of the primary emotions we face. some of it is healthy, but most of it is unhealthy and a source of tremendous suffering. here’s how to deal with it “Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here”. – Marianne Williamson “The components of anxiety, stress, fear, and anger do not exist independently of you in the world. They simply do not exist in the physical world, even though we talk about them as if they do”. -Wayne Dyer A few years ago, 18-year-old Vanessa came to see me. She said she was afraid of flying, heights, elevators, escalators, roller coasters and water slides. She was terrified of planes. When someone close to her was flying, she was a mess. Her mother traveled extensively for work, and every time she had to fly, Vanessa was scared. How did this fear manifest itself, I asked her. Her overwhelming feeling was of losing control, panic, and the feeling that she couldn’t breathe. Upon getting to know her life story, I learned that the first time Vanessa experienced this fear was when her mother took her and her younger sister from an African country to Asia. The marriage was over, and her father, an African, stayed behind. Vanessa was 10 years old. Further into the conversation, she expressed anger and animosity towards both parents, and at the life changes she had to make. Now, she was ready to go to college, and wanted to take care of these issues, especially her fears. I suggested that Vanessa take the Bach flower remedy, Mimulus, and did a past-life session under hypnosis. She saw a plane come down in a remote village in a jungle, and her mother (in her current life) burned to death. She, and a child belonging to the village, watched in frustration and fear as others died, also witnessing the funeral procession and burials of the dead from the plane accident. Her mother in this lifetime was one of them. Vanessa was angry at her father, and felt abandoned by him. She refused, at first, to send him love and forgiveness, or to discuss him in more detail. Her parents’ separation and troublesome relationship had made her against marriage, she said. Her relationships with men were not good – she felt they would not accept her as she was, and she had issues with trust. In determining a line of therapy for Vanessa, I understood that, first and foremost, she had to make peace with her father. It took a while, but eventually she came around. Fear and The ChakrasIn energy healing, the issues that Vanessa and many like her have to deal with are related directly to the various chakras, or centers of energy in our body. Caroline Myss, a spiritual and intuitive healer, spells out the power in each of the seven main chakras, and corresponding fears that exist in each of them. For example, in the first or base chakra, the primary fears are of physical survival, abandonment by the group, and loss of physical order. In the second or sacral chakra, the primary fears are loss of control, or being controlled by another, through the dominating power of events or conditions such as addiction, rape, betrayal, impotence, financial loss, abandonment by our primary partner or professional colleagues; and fear of the loss of power of our physical body. Here lies the power of choice, and managing this, with all its creative and spiritual implications, is the essence of human experience, says Myss. Almost all spiritual teachings are directed towards inspiring us to recognize that the power to make choices is the dynamic that converts our spirits into matter, our words into flesh. Choice indeed is the process of creation itself. “Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment, and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent than the one derived from fear of punishment.” -Mohandas Gandhi “The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing the truth really will set you free”. -Oprah Winfrey The third or solar plexus chakra harbours the fears of rejection, criticism, looking foolish, and failing to meet one’s responsibilities; all fears related to physical appearance – fear of obesity, baldness, aging; fears that others will discover our secrets. “Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dream.” -Paulo Coelho The fourth or heart chakra’s primary fears are loneliness, commitment, and ‘following one’s heart’; fear of inability to protect one emotionally; fear of emotional weakness and betrayal. Loss of fourth chakra energy can give rise to jealousy, bitterness, anger, hatred, and an inability to forgive others as well as oneself. The fifth or the throat chakra is the willpower chakra. Fears related to willpower exist within each chakra appropriate to that chakra. The sixth chakra or the third eye is the chakra of wisdom. The primary fears are an unwillingness to look within and excavate one’s fears; fear of truth when one’s reason is clouded; fear of sound, realistic judgment; fear of relying on external counsel, of discipline; fear of one’s shadow. The seventh chakra is the connection to our spiritual nature, and our capacity to allow our spirituality to become an integral part of our physical lives and guide us. The primary fears are relating to spiritual issues such as the ‘dark night of the soul’; fears of spiritual abandonment, loss of identity, and loss of connection with life and people around us. “Do the thing we fear, and death of fear is certain”. -Ralph Waldo Emerson The most costly energy consequences, says Myss, comes from acting out of fear. When choices are made on the basis of fear, it does lead us to where we want to be, but produces harmful side- effects, which may sometimes come as a surprise. These surprises suggest that choices based on fear transgress our trust in Divine wisdom. We like to think that we are in charge of our lives, and the choices we make for ourselves. Yet, the idea that consciousness requires surrendering personal will to the Divine, stands in direct conflict with all that we have come to consider the measure of an empowered person. Our choices are reflected in relationships – and the conflicts that arise out of them. Relationships generate conflicts, conflicts generate choice, choice generates movement, and movement generates more conflict. We can break free of this cycle by making choices that transcend dualism, and the perceived division between ourselves and others, and between ourselves and God. If we focus on controlling the other person, and forget that the person is a mirror reflecting back our own qualities, we keep conflict alive within ourselves. Seeing others and ourselves in symbolic unions, however, helps us accommodate differences. The Nature of FearWhat exactly is fear? Fear is an unpleasant and often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger. In some ways, fear is completely natural, and helps people to recognize and respond to dangerous situations and threats. However, healthy fear – or fear which has a protective function – can evolve into unhealthy, or pathological fear, which can lead to exaggerated and violent behavior. Newborn babies have only two fears – of loud noises and falling. These are normal, are a kind of alarm system given by nature as a means of self-preservation. And normal fear is good. You hear or see a car coming down the road in front of you, and you move aside to avoid it. The momentary fear of being run over is overcome by your action. All other fears are abnormal, caused by particular experiences, or passed on by parents, relatives, caretakers, teachers and others who influence us as we grow up. Dr. Ivan Kos (Head of Radiological Laboratory at Institute of Hygiene and Medical Ecology, Academy of Medical Science of Ukraine, Ukraine) lays out several different stages of fear. The first is real fear, or fear based on a real situation. If someone or something hurts you, you have a reason to fear it in the future. Second is realistic or possible fear. This is fear based in reality that causes a person to avoid a threat in the first place (i.e. waiting to cross a busy road for safety reasons). Next, exaggerated or emotional fear deals with an individual “recalling past fears or occurrences and injecting them into a current situation.” This type of fear is particularly relevant to conflict. Emotional fear affects the way people handle conflict situations. Conflict could be within oneself, between two people, and between groups. Almost every client who comes to see me for therapy is afraid or has experienced fear. For many, the issues are based in fear. There are 35-year-olds who sleep in their parents’ room; fifty-year-olds who need a light in the bedroom, and when their spouse is traveling, need someone to sleep in the room. Some are afraid of contracting deadly diseases; others afraid their spouses will leave them. Young people are afraid that they will fail, and not make it. Young women are afraid of marriage and motherhood, anxious about their new roles as wives and daughters-in-law. Young men, early in their professions, fear not making it up the ladder and being left behind in salary and status. Children as young as six are withdrawn and sick as they fear they cannot live up to their parents’ expectations. Often, this leads to anxiety and complications. Extreme anxiety then requires medication and regular psychotherapy. Dealing with FearDr Kos suggests several ways of approaching fear in the context of conflict. However, since fear is such a personal issue, most approaches focus on the individual. There are various ways to deal with your o
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