Today we look at the idea that we insist on having fears. Many of us think that fear is normal. However, as we look at our lives carefully we see that fear keeps us from being happy. Why do we insist on having fears?
Remember the tiger?
We recently wrote about an analogy of a tiger that came from a book by Vernon Howard. Today’s post is based on another analogy from that book. The original analogy is:”argue for your limitations and they are yours.” We will change that slightly as we look at fears.
Fear is something we learn
Several months ago as we were looking at the idea of false self we talked about fear. We wrote a post about the idea that fear is a learned behavior. The idea was that if we learn to be fearful we can also learn to overcome our fear.
How do we learn our fear? As children we learn how to operate in our environment. Our parents want to protect us. Many of them think they are being helpful by teaching us to be afraid of things that can hurt us.
They teach us to be afraid of crossing the street so that we do not get run over by a car. They teach us that there are a lot of “bad” people in the world so we need to be afraid of strangers. They want us to be successful in life so they teach us to be afraid of failing in our school work.
We all have a different upbringing so we all have a different set of fears. Some of them come from the good intentions of our parents, but some of them also come from us. As we live our life we decide to develop fears that are based on our experience. Either way, whether the source was our parents or ourselves, all fears are something we choose to accept into our life.
Why don’t we let go of our fears?
That is a very good question and one that I have puzzled over for many years. As my understanding has evolved, I have come to several conclusions about this.
We see fear as normal
It seems to me that so many of us have so many fears that fear seems to be normal. We alluded to this in a recent post. When everyone else is afraid then it seems normal for us to be afraid as well. We think this is the way we are supposed to live, so that is how we live.
Caution not fear
Many of us mistakenly think that fear is a protective device. We think that if we are afraid of something it will make us more careful. This was why our parents instilled fear in us. If we were afraid of the flame on the stove then we would be more carful and not get burned.
The proper attitude is caution. Caution does not imply fear, but many of us confuse the two. When I drive on the expressway I am cautious of the cars around me, but I am not fearful. It seems to be a fine distinction, and for many of us it is. Hopefully in a future post we will explore that distinction.
Why be different?
Another aspect of why we choose to be fearful is we want to be like everyone else. Once again, this is an idea that we have discussed in other posts on this site. The basic idea is that false self does not want to be different. By not being fearful of the things that the other false selves are fearful of, false self stands out.
When false self stands out as being different it is afraid. Therefore it must behave in a manner that it can rationalize and justify for being different. This is where we begin to get much of the irrational false self fear based behavior.
Confidence not bluster
When false self decides to show everyone that it is not afraid, all it usually does is puff itself up and talk in a boastful manner. False self is putting on a false front about being fearful. The more we talk about not being afraid, the more we are proving how afraid we really are.
True self does not have to prove that we are not afraid. True self is confident, not boastful. True self goes about our business without regard for fears. True self just does not care about fear. There is no reason to prove this – true self just does not care.
If we have to prove that we are not afraid then we are acting from false self. This is part of the false self bluster. True self just does not care, so will not even consider proving that it is not afraid. The proof is in watching true self. When you watch carefully you will see that there is no fear. That is the proof.
Observe the fear
As with everything else on our spiritual path, it all starts with observation. The most important step in learning to let go of our fears is to observe them. We do not have to do anything about the fears at first. We just have to watch them.
By observing the fears we get past the denial of them. Many of us are in denial of many different fears. As long as we are in denial, we cannot observe. That is why we start with observation. As we honestly observe our fears we begin to see how they are causing unhappiness. Eventually we get tired of being unhappy and we decide to stop being fearful. But it all starts with observation of the fear.
That is all for today. I want you to be happy – so please start observing your fears. Right now.
Until tomorrow –
Es kava turen hai
We work towards an identical goal.
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