Fear, is it all in the Mind?
Frank Herbert sums up fear nicely in his quote: “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
Fear is the result of our mind becoming fixated on images of an undesirable situation we “fear” will happen to us in the future.
The effects of this fear are very real, and the more we focus on them the more they affect us.
A good example of this is with my eight year old son Harrison who lacks confidence sometimes, and feels worried of things he sees as failure – like not winning. He has a six year old Sister, Ava, who is supremely confident for her age and open to everything.
I think I know why Harrison tends to experience more fear than his Sister, and it has to do with his start in life. Harrison was was born six weeks premature because he had stopped growing. He weighed 1.3kg when he was born. That day still holds a lot of fear for me!
Harrison did well until the five week mark, the day he was due to leave hospital. He got a bowel infection from another baby and it nearly killed him. Try getting a call at 3am in the morning asking for your consent for a blood transfusion. I still feel fear, no dread, when the phone rings in the middle of the night!
At that time they found Harrison had a heart murmur. He spent the next seven weeks battling illness, getting poked and prodded with needles, until he eventually had open heart surgery to fix the problem. Harrison spent the next few years in and out of hospital with croup which resulted in childhood asthma.
His health is going well these days but what has been left behind is some irrational fears.
But I digress. Back to the story.
Harrison went to a party at a slip n' slide park when he was five. He was coerced to go down the slide by the parents even though he was petrified. He did it once and that was it. He spent the rest of the party crying and begging to go home.
Fast forward three years. Harrison is eight and at another slip n' slide party. Fortunately this parent is smart. After 30 minutes of trying to cajole Harrison to go down the slide they offer him $10 to do it. He does and then spends the next two hours going down all the slides, including the scariest black-death slide.
The next morning he says, "Mum can we go to the slip n' slide park today?" "It was the best fun ever!"
Fear is the mind projecting within itself images of what it does not want to happen.
If fear is not recognised as just this, fear, it can find root within our consciousness. When this happens fear can become a daily occurrence, and if these thoughts are allowed to repeat themselves over and over again, they eventually take an imprint on a subconscious level.
Once this happens the subconscious mind begins to attract the exact experiences we have been projecting.
This is what happened when I got sick a few years ago. For a couple of years before I got sick I feared that I was becoming ill. It was like I knew, on a subconscious level, that I was going to end up with a disease. Of course I bloody knew! I was repeating it to myself daily: "I am stressed from these long hours at work and it is making me sick." "The mold in our bedroom cupboard is giving me fatigue, I am going to get sick, I just know it!" Didn't I learn anything when I read the book, 'The Law of Attraction'?
The fear of poor health and illness meant I was thinking thoughts of poor health and illness, in fact focusing on poor health and illness. And as it turns out, fear and anxiety make you sick.
Fear of failure, fear of poverty, fear of never getting ahead, fear of never meeting someone to share your life with, fear of ______ (you fill in the blank) is almost always setting in motion the exact events we do not want. It is sowing in the fertile inner garden of the mind seeds for plants we don’t want to reap. It is ludicrous, counterproductive and totally unnecessary.
About a year into the illness I decided to embrace my fear of being sick. And what happened? Courage helps you heal and I began living again. The fear was all in my mind. It only lived there because I let it in. I realised I could kick it out anytime I wanted to and I did. I realised pretty much everything I am afraid of has a solution and it was the fear in my mind that was keeping me from it.
Always remember there is absolutely no reason to fear anything. Fear is never warranted. Never. It is always counterproductive, and as such we should shun it like the plague.
I have learnt to embrace fear, let it go and to start living life!
What is your greatest fear? Have you overcome it? I'd love to hear your story.