Bless you for your fear for it is a sign of wisdom. Do not hold yourself in fear. Transform the energy to flexibility and you will be free from what you fear. — Yoko Ono in our book, The Way Ahead
Everyone knows fear. It can come in an instant and throw us into chaos, yet it can also save our life. Fear is a natural response to physical danger, but it can also be self-created, such as the fear of failure, of being out of control, of being different, or of being lonely. There is a fear of the future and of death. We fear loving because we fear being rejected, fear being generous because we fear that we will not have enough; we fear sharing our thoughts or feelings in case we appear wrong, and we cannot trust because we are dominated by self-doubt and insecurity.
This self-generated fear is found in its acronym: F.E.A.R., or False Evidence Appearing Real. It appears real even though it is a fear of the future and is not happening now. Therefore, it has no real substance, arising when the ego-self is threatened, which makes us cling to the known and familiar. Such fear creates untold worry, apprehension, nervous disorders, and even paranoia.
The immediate effect of fear is to shut us down, and, in particular, to shut off the heart. Just for a moment, let your body take the stance of feeling fearful. What is your posture? Most people hunch their shoulders forward, fold their arms across their chests, or assume a similarly contracted position to shield the heart, fear having triggered the need to be on the defensive. In this self-protective place, the heart goes out of reach and we cannot feel love or even friendliness. Try saying “I love you” with real meaning while your arms are firmly folded across your heart. Hard to do!