In Awareness There is No Fear
Fear, like all emotion is not woven into any experience. If it was, then every person having that experience would be fearful. TV shows like The Voice highlight this. Some people come out on stage totally calm and confident. Others appear fearful and self-defeating. I think about my dental experiences up to my 30’s and how much fear I would conjure up. I totally hated going to the dentist. These days, I often fall asleep in the chair while being worked on. Now the most painful thing about going to the dentist is the bill at the end! Emotional response is what we bring to an experience.
The overlaying of these emotions on experience arises from something deep within ourselves. For example, when I was 5 or 6 the local dentist cut out the frenum, the skin that bridged the top lip and gum, that in my case caused my two front teeth to get a gap. It seems that he was inebriated at the time, which resulted in me having a horror dental experience. From then on I was very fearful of going to the dentist. Of course my fear of dentists meant that I didn’t have my teeth looked after as well as I should have, which has lead to expensive procedures years later. In fact, anytime we experience life through our filters of fear, it results in anticipation, worry, scarcity, attachment and expectation. These then sit as the foundation of our suffering, both short-term and long-term.
Awareness isn’t having a fear of what the future holds.
This means that in awareness, there is no expectation, there is no attachment, there is no scarcity, there is no worry, there is no anticipation.
I am sure many of you have heard the acronym of fear – False Expectations Appearing Real. That’s a pretty good description. Fear is always about something in the future that we expect will result in some form of suffering. Of course, once the fear is realised, it becomes suffering. The reason that fear exists is that our past experience has formed a belief either from our own personal suffering or the suffering we witnessed someone else experiencing. Being bitten by a dog is a perfect example. If you have been bitten by a dog, especially when you were young, and were never encouraged to re-engage dogs, the chances are you are still afraid of dogs as an adult. Or maybe you witnessed someone being bitten by a dog, it potentially can have the same effect.
During my late teens I was doing door-to-door promotions with a mate. We regularly encountered dogs, occasionally we would come across a feisty one. I grew up with dogs and felt very comfortable and confident around them. That was not the case for my friend. I remember standing knocking at a door when a German Shepard raced to the front of the house with an ‘attacking’ approach and sound. My friend leapt behind me, placing me between him and the dog. He was sure the dog would get me first. Instead, it bypassed me and bit him, reinforcing his fear of dogs. I understand that as the years went by his awareness of dogs transformed from one of fear to one of understanding. He is no longer afraid of dogs.
With fear-based thinking, you typically resort to previous patterns of response when confronting challenging situations, giving you the same results you’ve experienced before. Survival will be your priority and your fear of suffering will inform your strategy. In many instances that fear belongs to another time and age, and is being superimposed on this moment. Being truly present, aware and mindful of this instant, there can be no fear. The only voice you respond to in your place of fear, is one from the past, and if you listen closely enough you will recognise it as your child’s voice. In the fearful scenario, survival is your priority.
Enhanced awareness is having an expanded understanding of that which we encounter infused with sustainable values, allowing for a more holistic mindfulness. Of course, when we practice mindfulness we are considering how this moment serves us, others, and the planet from a compassionate perspective. When our awareness is fear based, we become mindful of the suffering and the loss we might experience. This typically results in a flight or fight response. When presented with challenging situations, holistic mindfulness will see you be more creative, able to hear and respond to your intuition, your gut feel, and even be sensitive to hearing and following the ‘still small voice’, divine guidance. The solution will always be centred in love, in one form or another. In this scenario, peace is your priority.
I invite you to share your questions or thoughts on the topic of awareness below. Feel free to share your own experience of how fear has held you back, or alternatively if you have had an experience of transformation from living in fear to living in stillness.
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