The Scary Notion of Being Fearless

We have nothing to fear but fear itself?  Well, um, what about oncoming Mack trucks and  downed power lines? Without healthy fear the human lifespan would be about 15 months.

Healthy fear is something we don’t give much thought to.  Healthy fear is the alert watchfulness you feel when you drive down the highway, ready to respond to reckless drivers and other obstacles.  Healthy fear is being careful not to put your sleeve in the campfire or obeying your intuition to avoid that dark alley.  If you think about it, you’re probably grateful for healthy fear.

Most of us have our struggles with unhealthy fear.  But why is that?  Why do our fears get unhealthy?  We lie awake worrying about things we cannot control and eventualities that are annoying but not really life threatening.  We scan the horizon for predators…oh wait, that’s the television screen!  Those predators aren’t real…but they might be.

We worry about aliens and spirits and flesh-eating viruses even though most of us have never seen any of these things.  We worry about accidents and yet talk on the mobile while we drive and talk about the worrisome economy.  The fact is our worried mental chatter keeps us from listening to our real fears and getting their life-preserving messages.

If you are a student of metaphysics, you may have been taught that fear is the absence of love.  Ultimately, it is.  If you trust the benevolence of the universe, you will be fearless.  But in day to day life, you need to also trust the God-given feeling in your body that says, “Get the —- out of the street!”

I have recently learned that the quickest way to deal with fear – healthy or unhealthy – is to pay attention to it.  What is its message for me?  Often, just getting the message stops the fear.  Recently, I awoke every morning with intense panic and fear.  It woke me up with the birds before daylight.  I kept ordering it to go away. It got stronger.  I turned away to focus on love, but the fear got more insistent still.

One day simply I sat and felt the fear and asked what I was afraid of.  It took a couple of days before I got an intelligent notion of what my fear was telling me.  It was telling me I was ignoring some tasks that needed my attention.  These tasks were critical for me to succeed in my work, but somehow I had ignored them.  I tackled these tasks in earnest and within a few weeks I was getting much better results in my work.

Magic!  The fear was gone and I could sleep right through my alarm clock.

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