As the world begins to open up I have noticed fear creeping in. So I have been exploring meeting it face on. When I talk about fear I always like to remember how entirely natural it is yet how strangely taboo sharing our fears can be.
We are animals and as outlined by Melanie Challenger in her book 'How to be Animal', 'we identify possible danger in a split-second of unconscious perception but... a separate part of the brain builds a conscious narrative to make sense of fear'. She shares research that indicates that altered-threat perception could be at the heart of anxiety disorders.
And what we perceive as a threat and whether we do or not is dependent on a complex cocktail of factors including: perception, biology, neurochemistry, conditioning, personal history, anthropological history, current health, environment and mood.
We have evolved to be driven by fear to keep us alive and it's an amazing function but today for better or for worse we are aware of too much and it's overwhelming our systems.
Rather than being aware of the dangers of our immediate environments, we're now also aware of all dangers ever. And that's really bloody intense. Not to mention the news, advertising, television and movies all playing our emotions like instruments and keeping us in a state of constant hyper vigilance, often without us even realising. (This is why I have baby taste in TV. The kind where no bad things happen ever and everyone lives happily ever after. I realised that TV was making me believe that good things don't last and danger is around every corner. If I do watch TV it's now nature, comedy or something uplifting. My nervous system cannot handle the majority of TV and that's absolutely ok.)
All of this means that we have so many more stories we can wrap around the feeling when it arises and this perpetual state of fear leaks into our bodies and minds and influences the way we live our lives. We can end up letting fear live in the driving seat if we're not conscious of it.
‘Fear arises when something threatens our survival. It prevents us from feeling secure, focused and calm. It creates hyper vigilance, which forces energy into the upper chakras' ~ Anodea Judith
Fear and faith have been following me around as themes and have encouraged me to keep a check on myself and notice where I'm making fear based decisions. Sometimes they're sensible, other times they're keeping me constricted and small.
My mentor Naseem reminded me that we can trust the protection mechanisms that we have in place to protect our hearts as we meet the edges of our capacity and comfort but we have to be willing to expand where it's safe if we want to experience the fullness of what this life has to offer. And as we expand sometimes we have nothing to go on other than blind faith. A trust in something ineffable beyond the rational that guides us onwards into the mystery.
Nature can provide a beautiful reminder of this trust in that which we cannot see. When we plant a seed beneath the soil we have to surrender and trust that if the conditions are right it will find its way to the light. Right now I'm being reminded that after conception we have to simply surrender and trust that if the conditions are right we will meet our child at the end.
Faith is a natural antidote to fear. To practice surrender and trust is to get comfortable with residing in the uncertain and the unknown.
Residing in the unknown can be really challenging and requires a blend of grounding to provide security, safety and a sense of belonging, faith to offer perspective, meaning and purpose and surrender to enable us to let go and drop into trust.
'Ernest Holmes, who founded the Science of Mind philosophy, describes qualities of fear and faith as having similar qualities. Fear is a belief that something awful might happen, while faith is a belief that something good will happen. Although the results are different, the causes are the same - both are beliefs that govern our behaviour and influence the way we feel. If we can replace unreasonable fear with reasonable faith, then we have a natural antidote to our first chakra.' ~ Anodea Judith
So as I move out into the world I'm continually seeking to replace unreasonable fear with reasonable faith.
Where is fear driving you and how might you instead lean into faith?