Last week, we learned to channel sadness and access the gifts it brings us. We also learned that many meditation systems utilize the gifts of sadness without realizing which emotion they’re using. This confusion about emotions is universal; we’re trained from our earliest days to see emotions as troublesome, or negative, or as the opposite of rationality.
None of that is true, but these ideas get repeated so often that they become self-fulfilling prophecies. When we treat our emotions as problems, they become problematic. However, when we can learn to see them with more clarity, we can find the gifts, messages, and skills they bring us.
Channeling Your Natural Intuition
For this exercise, you’ll need a quiet place where you can sit or stand comfortably.
When you’ve found your quiet place, lean your body forward a little bit, and try to hear the quietest sound in your area. Keep your shoulders down and away from your ears; good posture helps your hearing. You can also open your mouth a little (relaxing your jaw creates more space in your ears) and gently move your head around as you pinpoint the quietest sound and filter out the more obvious ones. Keep your eyes open, but rely on your ears for now.
When you’ve located your quiet sound, hold still for a moment. Stand up and try to locate the sound with your eyes, then move toward it – recalibrating as you near your sound. Time may seem to slow down somewhat, your skin may feel more sensitive (almost as if it’s sensing the air around you), and your mind may clear itself of anything that isn’t related to your quiet sound. When you pinpoint the sound, thank the emotion that helped you find it. Thank your fear.
Surprising, isn’t it? Healthy and free-flowing fear is nothing more or less than your instincts and your intuition. When you need it to, your fear focuses you and all of your senses, it scans your environment and your stored memories, and it increases your ability to respond effectively to new or changing situations. When your fear flows nicely, you’ll feel focused, centered, capable, and agile. Thank your fear.
Your free-flowing fear brings you instincts, intuition, and focus. If you can rely upon this form of fear when you’re confused or upset, you can access the information you need to calmly figure out what’s going on; you don’t need to feel afraid to access the gifts your fear brings you. And because fear helps you access your instincts and your intuition, you can rely on it when you’re unsure about what you should do, or when you’re uncomfortable in your relationships.
This is what makes accessing emotions empathically so much fun. When you know what your emotions are and what they do, you can work with them easily and in ways that truly add to your intelligence and your quality of life.
The Gifts of Fear
Fear helps you focus on your internal knowledge while it connects you to your surroundings. So it’s different from sadness, which focuses you inside yourself and on what you need to release in order to relax and let go of things that don’t serve you. With fear, your focus helps you stand upright in your body and lean forward a bit, to bring your instincts and your intuition to the present moment.
With fear, it’s almost as if you’re listening to the quietest sound inside yourself – to that voice that’s having a hard time being heard. Unlike flowing sadness, flowing fear has a forward, listening, sensing capacity that helps you interact with your environment and other people. If you can rely on fear’s calm, listening, sensing stance, it will help you read people and situations empathically. It’s a wonderful emotion, but all of them are!
We’ll talk next Saturday about how we’ve all become so deeply confused about fear, so much so that we don’t really understand the difference between fear, anxiety, worry, panic, and terror. In my new book The Language of Emotions, I focus on improving our very poor emotional vocabulary, but when we get to fear, wow, it’s as if we lose our voices altogether!
When you think about fear this week, remember this calm, intuitive, listening stance. Fear is your intuition. If you can learn to rely on it, you’ll have access to all the instincts and information you need to think clearly and make good decisions. Who knew fear could be your friend?