by: Scott F Paradis
Generally, we recognize fear as a negative, disempowering emotion. The energy fear exerts, the impact of fear gripping our bodies, amounts to stress — physical, emotional, psychological. Fear is wholly and entirely experienced in the body. We produce, accept, invite in, the emotion of fear by interpreting sensory perceptions; that is, through judging the circumstances we perceive or by projecting into the future. These mental projections may be tangible, localized in time and space, plausible, inevitable, or imagined.
Courage, however, is the ability to sort through the perceptions, in an instant or over time, and realize the actual gravity of the event relative to the true and enduring nature of spirit. Courage recognizes what matters, and when it comes to fear, most things don’t.
We broadly distinguish between two types of fear: physical – a threat to the body and/or existence; or emotional – a threat to psychological status and/or expectations. With physical fear, energy erupts from the body’s sensing of a threat; the potential for pain. With emotional fear, the body generates energy by a construct of the mind. In both cases, if not checked, the mind actually accelerates the energy of fear.
Fear disempowers, but its outcome – the circumstances resulting from the motivation of fear – need not always be negative. For instance we have a natural fear of heights; fear cautions us when getting to close to an edge, keeping us from a fall. Fear energy can generate powerful motivation for positive action – it can be a signal to act. Fear though, is always a stressor. Emotional fear often misguides and always limits. Fear wears on the mind and body and, over time, drains people of strength. Fear is one of the most powerful tools of ego, keeping us from peace and joy. Fear originates from one source — our clinging nature.
Our experience of life, in a simple phrase, is awareness perceiving energy. The drama of everyday existence is our interaction with, interpretation and manipulation of, localized energy. Fear is a type of energy, energy that we empower, energy we invite in, energy we generate.
Fear originates from ego, that part of “self” that is of the world, the instinct, the intellect that says, “I am separate, alone, and in competition to survive.”
Ego generates fear for practical “survival” reasons, but also to ensure dominion. Ego ushers in fear to define a drama, to create conflict, to color experience. Fear is not a force outside our selves, fear is the power of the mind, of ego. As ego takes over consciousness it dominates, limits, and controls. With fear we can never be free. But our bondage is self induced. We create the very emotion, the energy, limiting us. Fear is not from “out there”; fear is from within.