In listening to many men, they share “feelings” when they gather as a group. Often, the “feeling” that comes up is fear. Men will ruminate around how they are responding to their fear. The discussion then proceeds to the justification of the existence of how fear is standing in their way of making a decision. And there often exists an emotional state that could be called “anxiety”.
David Hawkins in his book, Letting Go describes fear as an emotional state as, “its energy sees “danger,” which is “everywhere.” It is avoidant, defensive, preoccupied with security, restless, anxious and vigilant.” In this regard fear can be all-consuming.
Yet through trainings like the New Warrior Training and Path to Spirit-Warrior Training, there is a reverse impact in dealing with fear. In these trainings and through the writings of Shambala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior,* fear plays out as an opportunity to address possibilities for “breaking through” to more courageous decisions and greater solutions.
Fear can also lead one down a dangerous path of anger and unconscious aggression. There is an innate reaction to fighting back and defending one’s boundaries out a reaction to fear.
Perhaps, we need to grasp that fear comes from a more primitive lower brain stem response which has been programmed into our DNA. It is part of the trans-generational effort to not be destroyed and killed. Yet, today we are inclined to make more of fear than is necessary.
It has been said that ultimately, the only true fear is losing your life or losing your mind. So if you focus on what you afraid of, is the fear that significant? What are you afraid of losing? And besides that, fear is transitory. You will experience it and then you move on. But holding on to fear is what the main concern is. Fear is for most of us, a wake-up call. We need to pursue fear as it reveals “dilemmas” that get set up in dealing with it. The question is, “Do I lean into the fear? – or do I submit to it and let it dominate me?”
And this tendency to amplify the impact of fear shows up in relationships where one can be terrified and triggered by another’s reaction. How many of us have responded with anger and defensiveness in response to a significant-other or a co-worker when we got triggered by fear?
Our work has led us to re-frame fear as a “concern.” Having a “concern” re what makes us fearful brings in a more neutral emotional state. To give fear too much power leads to panic states. Fear is being peddled in the media today. The impact of ISIS causes an alarm that quickly takes over our rational state of mind. Yes, if we were confronted by a militant carrying a weapon, we would be automatically alarmed and alerted to fight back or run.
Yet, those images are not what comes up in 99% of our experience. Our fears are more like issues regarding loss – loss of money, relationships, employment, marriages, school achievement, etc. Not about loss of life or loss of one’s mind.
“Concern” allows for focus on checking-it-out, either by sharing with others or in the process of prayer and seeking “higher” answers to ones fear. Being consumed by fear often occurs when one is alone and without a direct emotional support.
So today, what are you “concerned about?” Do you really need fear to motivate you? Once you pursue fear and what it means for you, you can release it.
Path to Spirit-Warrior
* Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche