The Fear Response

A friend of mine says FEAR stands for F— Everything And Run. I tend to agree. This week some fear has been coming up for me. Old, residual fear about money, the future, blah, blah, blah. I’ve been tapping along to Brad Yates’ “Fear And Panic Right Now,” and I’ve realized I don’t need my f— everything and run response anymore. Fear does not keep me safe. Fear does not help me handle a situation. Fear doesn’t do anything except make me afraid.

Some people (myself included) have said fear is necessary. That fear keeps us alive because it stops us from sticking our hand in a fire or handling poisonous snakes. That fear is our survival mechanism.
Eckhart Tolle writes in The Power Of Now:
“The reason why you don’t put your hand in the fire is not because of fear, it’s because you know that you’ll get burned. You don’t need fear to avoid unnecessary danger – just a minimum of intelligence and common sense. For such practical matters, it is useful to apply the lessons learned in the past. . .The psychological condition of fear is divorced from any concrete and immediate danger. . .This kind of psychological fear is always of something that might happen, not of something that is happening now. You are in the here and now, while your mind is in the future.”
I realize a lot of my fear centers on “what ifs.” What if I get laid off? What if that cute boy calls me? What if he doesn’t call me? What if I don’t meet my deadlines? What if I miss my flight? As Tolle (and Brad Yates, and ok, a ton of other people) say, if those situations come up, I’ll handle them. If I get laid off I’ll go on unemployment, or get another job, or move in with a friend. That fear response? I don’t need it. Not even a little bit.
I am more safe than I can imagine. I am more secure than I know. I am already provided for and loved. I am allowed to move through life with ease and grace and joy. When I feel afraid it’s my opportunity to come back to the present moment. It’s my chance to ask myself, “Are you freaking out about the future? Or something to be dealt with right now?” If it’s right now I’ll deal with it right now. Being afraid or not afraid doesn’t preclude me from taking action. I’m going to take the action no matter what. Not being afraid though? Sure is more fun. And I’ll probably be more clear-headed about my decision.
This is me releasing any remaining fear. This is me recognizing fear comes from a gap in my mind between me in the now and me in the future. And all there is, my friend, is now. Ram Dass said it best more than 40 years ago, “Be Here Now.” That’s what I want, to be here now.
I dream of a world without fear. I dream of a world where we all feel safe, secure and protected. I dream of a world where we move through life feeling ease and grace and joy. A world where we take the next right action and then the next, staying present with each step along the way. A world where we allow ourselves to be who we are because fear is no longer a part of the equation.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

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