We’ve often heard that fear is what holds us back, and the only thing to fear is fear itself.
If we could win our fears, we would be able to live a full life and make our hopes and dreams a reality. But, what if this wisdom on fear is missing a special element? What if fear in its basic form is actually one of our unexplored guides to wisdom?
Emotions have three primary modes:
- Unconscious reactive character
- A repressed cycling state
- A healthy free-flowing state.
It may be that we are only well versed with the first two forms of fear – a reactive expression that makes us cringe and a repressed state which creates endless anxiety of a low-level.
Fear in its normal free-flowing form is something very different. What if fear can point towards a spontaneous awareness of something that needs consideration? What if it can alert you to taking a serious action?
This form of fear is a sixth sense that prevails in your individual space to pick up signs about what is happening inside you, with others, and in your surroundings. Fear can alert you of what is happening in your own body. It can alert you of the actions and intentions of the people around you and of conditions in the environment. When you learn to discern this information, it can help you choose wise courses of action.
To learn to use fear as a wise guide, try this simple practice:
- When you feel the emotion of fear arising in your mind, take a quiet and private moment to be involved into the feeling and let it focus at the centre. Tune into the sensation of fear, locate where it resides in your body, and approach it with curiosity to learn what it has to tell you.
- Take a deep breath as if you are filling your whole body with your breath. As you exhale, imagine and feel that your breath fills the sphere of your personal space about an arm’s width around your entire body. Sense into your personal space and into the wider space around you and search for subtle signals. For example, you might be drawn to an area inside your body or to look at something or someone in your environment. You might feel the urge to move toward or away from something.
- Stay centred in your personal space and ask your fear the question: “What action needs to be taken right now?” Don’t rush to fill in an answer. Instead, keep the question open. Listen and feel inside. See what presents itself. You may have an inspiration to take a specific action.
It can take time to learn to realise, discern and accept guiding signals. Be as patient as you can. The simple action of tuning into emotional signals is a cultivated skill grown over time. You’ll enhance your ability to sense inner guidance from fear and all your emotions through mindful practice over time.
You’ll also learn to note the quality of signals that represent accurate guidance in the present from false interpretations based on painful past experiences. There’s a difference in the way that accurate and false guidance signals are perceived or felt. False guidance may feel alarming, stressful, or rushed. It revolves around what happened in the past or around severe anxiety of the future. Accurate emotional guidance always comes as a matter-of-fact, keeping the present moment in mind, and accounts for the need to move forward – something that feels like perfect timing.
Thus, when emotions arise in your mind and body, instead of being weary of them, think of the possibility of growth when you welcome them. Use curiosity as a stepping stone to greatness and just ask
- What is the sensation of this emotion in my body?
- Exactly what emotion is this?
- What is the message in this feeling?
- What is it asking me to do?