Living Without Fear

Most of us live with some sense of fear in our life. We fear death, what we do not know, how we might be treated, what others think of us, it could be anything, but it is based on fear. Why do we live in this state when it does us no good? What benefit can come from basically fearing what we do not know, understand, or cannot control? It is these thoughts that register fear in our minds and hearts. In its basic form, fear comes from the lack of control we have over our lives. Think of it this way, if you are in control of something, do you fear it? If you are in charge and comfortable with what is, then is there fear connected to it? We might fear losing it, but that is fear based on the idea we cannot stop something from happening, that we cannot control it.

To eliminate fear, we must become accustomed to the idea that we cannot control, that we cannot always be in charge. But that is not the only thing, for fear underlies our understanding of our lives. One of the basic effects of this underlying fear is it keeps us from being fully present; keeping us from fully living life. Let's say that we go on a walk, we don't know what will happen, but we assume it will be like the last time. So we are relating to our present moment based on past experiences. We are in essence repeating something and we feel safe, for we have done it before, and therefore we feel free to be at ease. We feel that we are in control; however, we aren't really in control of it, and more importantly, we are also not living life in the present. So in a sense we are creating an illusion for ourselves in order to feel safe. It is almost like living in a dream-like state, an effect of not being present. What we can do is let go of our assumptions that try to keep us feeling safe. Stop eliminating the possible by seeing and assuming all is the same. Again, that is like checking out of life, living not in now, but in past experiences. We eliminate the availability in ourselves to be where we are because we are trying to avoid seeing life in a way that is unknown, all to basically protect ourselves.

See yourself doing something you have never done before. Since we have not done this thing before, we don't know what to expect. Does fear reside there; is it an emotion that comes up? We can do little about the unknown other than accept that we don't know what will be. We have to not assume the worst, but let go enough to be where we are, instead of fearing what might be. We can settle into now and find a way to be with the moment, instead of resisting the idea that we have no control, for this is what is real.

Now, if you are repeating something that triggers fear, say you are doing something that registers with a bad memory, you most likely assume that similarity will bring about the same situation.  We don't like to re-experience what we had a hard time with, which is understandable, but it is not real. For life is not repetitious, we just tend to perceive it that way. We can look at our present and future differently, both in our expectations and in the fear-based retrieval system we have set up. We are far too eager to pull forth memories related to fear, hard moments, challenges, experiences we fear that might happen again. We do this so often that it destabilizes us and limits our movement forward. Our progress in life is altered by our expectations of something horrible being repeated.

We avoid being present without expectations, we rely on old experiences to give us fear in the now, or we simply fear what we don't know, perhaps even avoid it if possible. Do you see what this does to your life? How by feeling fear and depending on it, we are absent from really being present? It keeps us locked away so to speak. It does begin with realizing one cannot have control over life, that we are simply a part of what is, and not in charge. When we let go of this misconception, we alleviate a lot of what drives fear. If we stop projecting fear-based memories into our future, then that too can become less of a reason to fear. Also, and perhaps most importantly, for this helps us stay present, we stop seeing life as a closed loop. We stop experiencing something both emotionally and mentally like we did before. Because the more we do this, the more we grow accustomed to living life without knowing, the more we can live without fear. We stop trying to protect ourselves by being okay with no control over what we don't know. Life without fear begins with these steps. The most important step is realizing there is no possibility of control over life. To fear it is to live in fear; to let go is to accept what is and live fearlessly.

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