face your fears

Today we ask that you master your fear.

This is the most difficult challenge any human can face.  But if you wish to awaken into higher consciousness, it is essential that you make this leap.

You can be a very spiritually educated person, who meditates and absorbs the knowledge of the wise.  But if you do not master your fear, you will always be at the mercy of lower energies.  The moment you feel overwhelmed by fear, you lose touch with spiritual consciousness.  As the fear intensifies, you may become like a scared animal, or a child.  You feel powerless.

For everyone on a spiritual journey, the time comes to master fear.  Fear is a physical response to a threat.  It is useful in life-or-death situations.  If you are being chased down by a bear, the physical fear response will give your body a rush of necessary adrenalized strength and focus.

The problem is, most of you are sitting in office chairs, not being chased down by bears.  But if you are a typical modern human, you are afraid all the time.

You wake in the morning with fear.  You go through your day with fear.  You go to bed with fear, and you do not sleep well.

You are afraid of your boss.  You are afraid of your coworkers.  You are afraid of your family members.  You are afraid of the news.  You are afraid of people who have different politics or religious beliefs.  You are afraid of the future.  You are afraid, you are afraid, you are afraid.

People who are constantly scared function very poorly.  They do not make intelligent decisions, and act impulsively.  They are easily manipulated by untrustworthy authority figures.  They engage in addictive behaviors, because the temporary rush they get out of eating sugary food or taking drugs or shopping or gambling eases their fear, if only for a moment.

Modern people cannot sit still, because the moment they stop moving and checking Facebook, their fears overwhelm them.  

Many people are so paralyzed by fear, they require medication just to get out of bed.

Even people who appear to be very dominating and aggressive behave the way they do because they are terrified.  No one is more terrified than a bully.

Chronic fear makes people physically and mentally ill.  The vast majority of all “first world” illness is caused by fear.  Heart disease, cancer, diabetes — these are the illnesses of fear.

So fear is a very big issue.

In stories and movies, heroes are always asked to face their worst fear.  Luke Skywalker must face Darth Vader, Harry Potter must face Voldemort.  It is the transcendence of their worst fear that allows them to become a true Jedi, a true Wizard.

To become heroes within your own life, you also must face your fears.  You must face your own Darth Vaders and Voldemorts.

When you are run by fear, you are unconscious, like a sleepwalker.  Most people are so chronically fear-ridden that they do not understand it is possible not to be afraid.

To conquer fear, first you must cultivate the ability to relax your body.

Engage in practices like meditation, qigong, or yoga, that take your body out of the adrenalized fear state, and allow it to relax.  Get a massage.  Soak in a bathtub.  Just learn what it feels like in your body, not to be tense and afraid.

Then start facing down little fears.  Do things that take you slightly out of your comfort zone.  You all know what your little fears are.  Maybe you would like to perform on stage, but you fear being exposed in front of an audience.  Take an improv class.  Learn to push yourself out of your comfort zone, in a safe, supportive environment.

Face down your fears in your own imagination.  While you are in a safe place, imagine facing a fear.  Keep reminding yourself that it is only in your imagination; nothing bad can actually happen to you.  You will feel the physiological fear response get triggered.  Start to take long, deep, slow breaths — calming down your body — as you continue to imagine facing the fear.  In time, with practice, you will feel less afraid.  That will help you face the fear in “real life.”

Do not allow your fears to dominate you, as most people do.  Do not limit your existence, because of fear.  

Learn to be very observant of your fear response.  Notice tightness in your chest and throat, tension in your shoulders, shallow breathing, sweaty palms.

When you notice this feeling, do not take any impulsive action!  Don’t write that email.  It will only make matters worse.  You must wait until your body is calm before you take any action.

The key is to learn how to calm yourself down, at will.  Realize that most of your fears will not kill you.  Your boss is not going to kill you.  Your family member is not going to kill you.  The traffic jam is not going to kill you.  Even if your physical body instinctively responds to these things as if they really will kill you, you must learn to activate your higher consciousness, and show your body that this is not true.

It is extremely challenging for humans to master fear, but it can be done.  It is a skill that requires practice and dedication, like any other.

Just making the commitment in your own mind to master your fear, and not be dominated by it, is a major first step on the path to liberation.  Everything will follow from this.

Every day, try to do one thing that is a little bit scary for you.  It can be as simple as organizing clutter or paying a bill.  Give your body cues that it is safe as you are doing this.  Do a five minute breathing meditation before you commence the “scary activity,” so that your body naturally feels calmer.  The main thing is to stay conscious around the fear response, and not allow it to overwhelm you.  With regular practice, this will get much easier — and you will be able to practice this ability when you are “out in the world.”

Over time, you will come to learn that on the deepest level, there is really nothing to fear.  Even Darth Vader and Voldemort.