Neutralizing Fear Through Mindfulness
If we stop and take the time to inventory our lives, often we can identify certain reactions, moods, and mindsets that make our life unhappy. Resentments, anxiety, self-doubt, anger, irritability, and depression may make up some of that inventory. It is important to recognize these "states", and not try to escape them through distraction, addiction, risky behaviors, etc., but rather accept them as a part of who and where we are right now in our lives and turn our awareness to their root causes.
For me, the single most often root cause I can trace these thoughts, feelings, and moods to is — fear. Fear of failure, not being "good enough", fear of looking stupid, of not being loved, of being thought of as "lesser than". There are as many fears as there are situations in life. From love to money, from security to intelligence, and from beauty to success.
In all of this, what are we so afraid of?
First of all we need to recognize that most of our fear is a product of our own egoic thinking and doesn't exist in the real world. It manifests itself through our egoic thoughts, then through our reactions, and it can be crippling. It can prevent us from enjoying a full, loving, and compassionate life.. We are basically afraid that we are not enough.
In some ways this is true. Our egoic existence is not enough to sustain us in any meaningful way. If we exist only as a judging, self-absorbed, scorekeeper of our perceived accomplishments and failures we are bound to end up very unhappy, and as an ultimately fearful being. So afraid to fail that we are frozen in an endless cycle of depression and anxiety.
So what can we do?
The answer is really quite simple. Learn to open up to the truth of our being. Mindfulness can help bring about this opening up. If we can take a moment and relax our bodies, quiet our egoic mind, and experience the present moment without thought or judgement, a whole new world will open up for us. We begin to realize the truth about our life and our being.
This experience cannot be taught in words, it must be lived directly in the present moment. The experience is the practice. We can learn to let go of thought generated fear, bask in the warmth of recognition of the spirit in this universe, realize that we are one with everything that is. We can experience unity—and this unity melts fear.
The more consistently we practice mindfulness, the more consistently we can experience the unity that will sustain our serenity and balance. This is something you have to try for yourself to understand the great effect a simple practice can have on your life. Once you take that step into mindfulness you will know the truth.