Lance Naik Mohan Goswami posthumously received the Ashok Chakra this year for displaying unparalleled bravery , while tackling terrorists in the Kupwara sector of Jammu and Kashmir. The award was received by his widow from the Supreme Commander of our armed forces , the President of India. It was a poignant moment .
The army personnel had definitely conquered fear in pursuit of the ultras . There would have been no trace of fear in him.Our armed forces are trained in such a manner and are blessed with this quality of fearlessness. I recall my friend used to narrate the events at NDA. How the cadets were to jump from a height of 20 feet in the swimming pool.
Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger , pain or harm.
There is a telling passage from The Game Of Thrones by George Martin,” Bran thought about it . Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid? That is the only time a man can be brave his father told him.”
Fear subsumes us essentially in four forms. Namely through phobias , feelings, anxiety and emotions.
Phobia is the Greek word for fear . It could be say fear of heights ( acrophobia) or say fear of dogs( cynophobia) or fear of water ( acrophobia) or fear of darkness ( acacachluphobia,nyctophobia,lygophobia).The symptoms of phobias include a racing heart , shortness of breath, discomfiture , embarrassment caused to self and others or in form of discomfiture in chest.Phobias are persistent pathological emotions which are in response towards specific objects or events. It is primarily externalised and can lead to panic attacks.
Fear can also arise from feelings. Feeling is an emotional state of reaction. It is a subjective reaction and is largely explainable. There is a sense of uneasiness and gets released in dreams or in responses. Feelings towards our loved ones may undergo a change . Feelings are never a permanent state. We may have a perception that in a group activity our friends are ignoring us. It could be both veracious or untrue. But our thoughts play a pivotal role in forming opinions and feelings. ” Thoughts are shadows of our feelings always darker , empty and simpler” wrote Friedrich Nietzsche. Thoughts can be positive or morbid. Morbid thoughts breed fearful feelings. And we become victims to such thoughts.
Anxiety is another contributor to accumulation of fear . It is normally intenalised , largely unexplained and unconscious and there are bodily reaction to such anxiety attacks. Marcus Trescothick was one of the finest cricketers of England , but suffered anxiety attacks when he first toured the subcontinent and later when he traveled to other countries . He became a mental wreck and quit cricket . It was indeed a pathetic situation. ” People tend to dwell more on negative things than on good things . So the mind then becomes obsessed with negative things with judgement , guilt and anxiety produced about the future” says Eckhart Tolle . This inevitable when we live either in the past or the future and never in the future.
Such people suffer from panic attacks, sleeping, sweaty palms , shortness of breath, palpitation , inability to remain calm , have dry mouths and numb feet and hands.
Yet another contributor to the magnification of fear are our emotions. Emotions are not based on logical reasoning or thinking . It primarily based on situations and strong reactions. We tend to react in dealing with people and situations rather responding to them . If the response is calm , then we are not engulfed by negative emotions.
Gretcha Rubin writes,” Negative emotions like loneliness , envy , guilt have an important role to play in a happy life they are reliving flashy signs that something needs to change.” If left untreated this situation can lead to psychosomatic diseases, loss of appetite , ill health , self deprecatory attitude and even schizophrenia. It can lead to disorders of persecution and hallucination among others .
So how does an individual overcome fear. D Lovato puts it so succinctly,” I do not let anyone’s insecure emotions and opinions bother me. I know if I am happy , that’s all that matters to me.”
Fear can be overcome through faith , hope and surrender to the Divine . Recitation of Hanuman Chalisa and Sundara Kanda cleanses of our sins, gives immense valour and strength . Likewise all faiths have inspirational texts to energise our body mind and soul. Reading of Bible, Gita, Koran provides the faithful tremendous hope.
Then there are excellent breathing techniques like practising Vipassana and Sudarshan Kriya which brings the mind to the present moment. The Art of Living founded by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar offers a bouquet of courses like the Happiness Programme , the Advanced Meditation Course , Yoga course and in particular the Divya Samaj Ka Nirman Course( DSN) which generates the spirit of fearlessness in the seeker and assists in breaking the comfort zone . Outside the comfort zone , humans can break the negative emotion of fear. Being in the present moment sows the seeds of valour in us.
Practising yoga, meditation, sporting a smile, being surrounded by positive people, avoiding the company of negative thinking people, taking up responsibility , doing immense service to the society , realising that even this will pass away, that there is no perfect picture , pursuing a passion , playing a sport , taking long walks or footslogging on a treadmill( added benefit – one can maintain weight) , reading autobiographies of inspirational leaders and achievers and being grateful are additional techniques to combat fear .
My colleague tells me quite frankly that it is not that there are no dark moments in life or the mind is not plagued by negative thoughts , but she purges it by making an attempt to declutter the mind. There is no harm in making an attempt!
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