Young and old, rich and poor, man and woman - each of us exists in the shadow of fear.
From the time we first become conscious, we are plagued by fears and though our fears evolve, they never leave us. Most of us tend to make life choices based on the fear of failure, the fear of success, the fear of being mocked, the fear of the unknown, and the fear that we have sullied the gift of life. In many ways fear can be a comforting crutch. But while fear is a natural and necessary innate survival instinct, it can also be a hindrance that works to keep a person's soul from reaching its potential. When you live in reaction to your fears (be they big or small), that fear is in control of your life.
In Buddhism, there are two types of fear. There is the fear inspired by real dangers, and there is the fear of that which cannot harm us and that which we cannot control. This is the unhealthy fear that can make you unhappy and arrests your creativity. The latter is more like an intense worry, a doubt, or nervousness that paralyzes your desire to act.
When fear comes, there are numerous ways to soothe yourself. You may find that writing in a journal, praying, meditation, interacting with a pet, or listening to peaceful music can ease you into a less fearful and more confident state. If you find yourself overwhelmed by fear, regain control by giving yourself to the count of five to acknowledge your feelings in whatever way is comfortable, and then banish those feelings by finding a constructive solution. Another way to deal with fear is to treat it like an entity within you. Get very quiet and centered and talk to it, ask it what it wants, why is it there, what does it need? Your body has all of the answers already, you simply need to ask and then listen. You may be surprised at what you come up with if you really spend some time with this. After you have sorted through these feelings, ask the fear to leave. If you like, make a ceremony for yourself with candles releasing the fear to the universe. See the fear leaving your body and being transformed into beautiful light.
Our entire lives are mysteries and none of us know what the future will bring. The strongest weapon we possess against fear is remembering the many blessings, talents, and loved-ones we possess in the present - for those are the gifts that can keep fear at bay.
Lovely Thoughts for Lovely People Just Like You