Fear is, for all of us, a more or less negative, uncomfortable affair: we feel ‘plagued by fear’ or we want to be ‘rid of fear’. Often we are unconsciously ruled by fear – it can leave us feeling impotent or rigid and unable to act. Fear takes its hold in all spheres of life, if our lack of self-reflection lets it.
However, shunning fear in this way is rather like shunning an unpopular child – an experience we may know personally. And an unloved child simply wants to be loved and accepted. Then it can transform and become a source of energy for us.
Here I am talking about the fears that accompany us in our everyday lives and which we would generally rather refuse to acknowledge. Letting fear take control prevents us from experiencing the joy of living, fulfilling relationships and genuine learning. It creates problems in our outer world and, in this way, it is the breeding ground of war. Wars between countries or ethnic groups, between dictators and ‘their’ citizens, within relationships or wars against ourselves.
Being in unconscious fear is akin to living in a cocoon that is preventing the transformation from caterpillar to beautiful butterfly.
We cannot avoid taking a look at our fears, dealing with them, and turning them into allies. This is a significant prerequisite to self-reflection, awareness and achieving maturity as a human.
Fear as a path
The first step in turning fear into an ally is to feel it and allow it to be. In other words, to stop suppressing it.
“For a long time I tended to perform displacement activities, bypassing my fear and avoiding having to feel it, but manoeuvring myself into strange, inexplicable or even life-threatening situations.”
If we want to refine our experience of feelings then we need to engage in a process of becoming accustomed to remaining with fear. This can be fear which triggers sadness or pain or fear that is triggered by sadness or pain.
There are different fears which are triggered in a wide variety of different situations: by smells, other people’s behaviour, doctors’ visits, operations, illnesses, appearing or speaking in public, filling in tax declarations, official letters, involvement with other people, nakedness, sexuality, dogs, heights, flying, encounters with authority etc. This list of examples could go on forever, depending on what our childhood experience led us to regard as threatening or unpleasant.
This never-ending cycle can only be escaped if we perceive and localise the fear we feel. In other words: What is the cause of my fear? Is it the person I just met? An e-mail I received? Or a situation I am about to enter?
If I feel fear as soon as I wake up in the morning, without really being able to remember what happened during the night, then it is obviously more difficult to localise the fear. This is generally due to a core, unresolved trauma which my subconscious has been processing during the night. So here it is particularly important to be loving towards myself and to treat myself to something soothing and pleasant.
Recognising our fear as a sign guiding us along our path means that we get to know our fear, which slows down its effects. In turn, this helps us to prevent affect-based behaviour (or emotional reactions), which otherwise set in too quickly to notice. First, we take a moment to look inwards, check our feelings and then we can decide how or whether to act.
“Sometimes I am so upset it takes me three days before I am in real contact with my heart again. Only then can I react or act in a way that does not cause hurt or injury. Anger is often a result of fear and feeling powerless.”
Fears will keep coming back until they have fulfilled their purpose. In other words, they are there to reflect our resistances and limitations. Whether in relationships or within ourselves. They are everywhere.
We anaesthetise our fears
In our society it is chic to compensate our fears; in fact, there is a well-established culture of addiction. Whether alcohol, drugs, sex, food, workouts, cosmetic surgery or luxury cars – these compensation mechanisms trap us in the superficiality of ‘not feeling’. Consumerism distracts us from our actual longing for connection and unity with life. However, capitalism is built on encouraging and exploiting these fears, including those of illness and old age. Conventional medicine poisons us with chemical substances that completely disregard searches for the actual causes of illness. (I consider this type of medicine to be very useful in certain emergencies, but completely inadequate to really heal sicknesses.)
We women are particularly susceptible to a habit of putting a shiny gloss on ‘hellish’ situations. For example, we might prefer staying in a destructive relationship to living alone. Sex patches the energetic leak for a while.
From fear to liberation
How wonderful it is when women make their wild power available to the world – when they are independent, self-determined, open and receptive. They are aware of what is happening around them and cleverly consider what actions would be appropriate. They cannot be corrupted nor can energy be drawn away from them. And should fear arise in one form or another, the ground does not disappear from under their feet.
Ideally they are connected to nature, look after their body with good nutrition and exercise, enthusiastically pursue their chosen tasks, are happy, full of humour, curious and creative. With their confidence they can also support men. Through a space of tranquillity they centre themselves. And from here they can regenerate.