VITALITY IS FEARLESSNESS
PURSUIT OF CALM #35
Physical training for mental well-being
Mind training for physical well-being 

 

Is fear the underlying root cause that keeps us addicted & distracted, thus dull & lazy…laziness being lack of energy.
If it is, then would it not be pertinent – if we aspire to free ourselves from being a slave to our destructive, energy draining habits and to live a more vibrant calm life – that we work towards positioning ourselves so we’re able to not only recognise our fears, but have the courage to examine our fears with the view to understanding them?

The fear I’m referring to is our highly personalised, self-inflicted emotional psychological fear, not the automatic life-protecting, biochemical fear we’ve inherited from our ancestral past.

And when I say ‘positioning ourselves’ I’m referring to havinga better understanding our own thinking.  

Fear does not reside in abstraction
All of us are afraid of something or another – fear manifests itself in relation to something.

Are you aware of you own fears?

Fear of losing your job, of not having enough money, or a big enough house, or what your friends, neighbours or work colleagues think about you, worried that your kids are in the right school, or that you drive the ‘right’ car, of losing your health, what will be the implications of the pandemic, of losing a love one, or not being loved, or being all alone in your life, of not reaching your desired status in life, or losing your position in society, or the escalation in hatred, war, and polarisation in our communities and around the world, or your own imminent death…do you know your own particular fears?

 

What is our natural default strategy when faced with fear?
We tend to run toward to our habits of escape. But by running away we only consolidate our fears which in turn reinforces our  destructive habits. Keeping us dull & lazy, and frustratingly unable to ever breach our state our fearfulness. It’s a profoundly powerful destructive feedback loop, and if we fail to recognise and understand it, then we’ll remain stubbornly stuck in our very own self-perpetuating state of laziness.

What is fear?
Possibly the first task is to ask ourselves what is fear, notwhat you’re afraid of.

My main ‘man-crush’, the legendary thinker, anti-guru & anti-philosopher Krishnamurti succinctly describes fear as ‘the movement from certainty to uncertainty.’

We become fearful when our deep rooted beliefs, dogma’s and habitual way of life are disturbed. We avoid disturbance because it produces a state of unknowingness. And when we are torn away from what we firmly believe in – what has kept us safe and comfortable for all these years – we will be triggered and inclined to succumb to our habits of escape.

 

Fear resides in the past and the future.
Sitting here right now, in the present, reading this, you are not afraid, there is no threat [aside from me talking about fear]. But fear lurks and commandeers our thinking when we’re not present-minded, this is  especially evident if the relationship we have with our life how we respond & react to our reality -keeps us fatigued, stressed, inebriated & chronically distracted. The result, fear-fuelled narratives percolate – I anxious about what might happen in the future, and worry that something from my past will overtake me now.

 

We’re fearful of the past and the future.
We have divided our thinking-time into the past and the future. And when we do this ‘thought’ steps in and influences our internal narrative “make sure this doesn’t happen again”, “be prepared, the future is scary, I have got something now, but I may lose it if I’m not careful”, or, “someone I love may die tomorrow”, or “what will happen when I am old?” There’s a primary concern we all suffer which is always wanting to be certain of tomorrow.

 

Thinking is memory.
We would not think if we had no memory. So our thinking is referenced by past memory, and thoughts are a result of us thinking about our memories.

Let’s say you were ill or experienced financial hardship 3 years ago and the memory of that trauma remains. And when that memory is thought about, it ignites our internal narrative that says ‘watch out, don’t get ill again, don’t lose all my money again.’ So the memory is creating the fear, and thus inciting us to move towards our escape routes. But the reality is, at this moment in time, you’re in good health and financially stable.

 

Thoughts are old
Thought is something you’ve remembered from the past – from a second ago till the time you started remembering. And because thought is the response to memory and memories are always old, it is your thoughts that are creating the feelings of fear and ‘afraidness’. But this is not an actual fact…it’s not reality…however you keep it ‘real & alive’ by thinking about it rather than being present by connecting with your reality.

Is fear and fearlessness the same?
Fear and fearlessness are a state of mind. Both trigger similar physiological responses, yet vastly different actions due to the state of our mind.  Fear drains our energy, excites conflict and keeps us dull and lazy, whilst fearlessness ignites passion, sensitivity, alertness, confidence and energy.

The same can be said for anxiety and excitement, both are a state of the mind, both have remarkably similar physiological reactions, yet our psychology – our state of mind – will interpret them very differently and thus stimulate very different action.

 

A helpful, yet challenging perspective to take is to realise & understand that both our fear and fearlessness are different sides of the same coin.

Why is this helpful?
Because we know exactly where to look.
Why challenging?
Because is it the very last place we want to look – because we’ve actively spent decades running from it.

 

“We must, must bring our own light to the darkness.”

Charles Bukowski

 

If we know where to look we can identify and begin the process to better understand our fears. In other words…have a better understand of our thinking…because it’s our thinking that is manifesting fear, not fear itself.

When we understand (self-learn) our fears, we then have the awareness to interpret the ‘fear signals’ & be more mindful of the physiological response, and the subsequent internal narrative we use before they (our thoughts) have an opportunity to escalate and trigger our habitual escapes.

 

We’re not disturbed by events,
but by the meaning we give them

 

Fearlessness is learning to live with yourself as you are. 
It’s only when you live with something intimately & soberly – rather than at arms-length & inebriated – do you have an opportunity to understand it.

I’m unsure if we ever truly ‘over-come’ our fears, but I’m certain that we can teach ourselves to recognise & understand them. And once we begin to understand our fears, then the power that that fear has over us begins to diminish, even evaporate altogether.

When this begins to take place, fear loses it’s domineering, slave-like inducing capacity to incite our energy draining habits of escape. When this occurs our negative feedback loop begins to slow and we gain clarity.

Cravings, impulsive & compulsive behaviours begin to subside – whilst self-control and confidence escalates.

Anxiety, anger, self-pity, self-sabotage and a host of other fear-related symptoms begin to fall away.

The outcomes?

Calm ensues, energy replaces enervation, and our vitality begins to be restored.
We now have the required energy to live in reality.
Free From Fear
Is present-mindedness the answer to live fearlessly?

When I refer to ‘live’ I don’t mean intellectually (theoretically), I mean intelligently (as in self-awareness) by taking immediate action with your heart, mind, and guts. You can only live intelligently if you’re living-presently by connecting and responding to the day to day of our lives (reality).
Why is this so important?
Because it’s the relationship we have with reality that will reflect back to us who we truly are. Reality is the mirror that reflects our fears, our idiosyncrasies, our impatience-ness & anxieties, and our dodgy ill-founded belief systems…reality is where we learn about ourselves. 
Thought is obviously critical for daily living – it is the only instrument we have for communication, working, living and reacting to the reality of our day to day. However thought becomes problematic when it projects itself psychologically as the past or the future, creating memory feedback such as fear. And it’s this neural feedback that triggers our actions, or inactions.

As I said earlier I don’t think we ever over-come our fears, and in some ways that may not be important. We can always drink and forget. We can go to church, or the football stadium and devote our attention elsewhere – but our fear is always lurking. The cessation of fear is only when we understand our relationship with it, and that understanding does not come into being if there is no self-knowledge. And self-knowledge can only be found by understanding the contents of our minds – which is reflected back to us via the relationship we have reality.  

So, if it is our self-inflicted emotional psychological fear that is keeping us stuck, dull, lazy and distracted, then not only do we have the most valuable raw material available to us (our fears) to revolutionise our wellbeing and ignite our vitality, but we have the perfect coliseum to practice…life aka reality.

 

 

Reference & Inspired by: Krishnamurti

What I have to say has
all been said before,
And I am destitute of
learning and of skill
with words.
I therefore have no
thought that this
might be of benefit to
others;
I wrote it only to sustain
my understanding.
Shantideva

Next: Vitality Is Responsibility