“Life begins where fear ends.” – Osho
Amidst the seeming global madness and chaos due to social and political developments, it is understandable that many would feel entrapped in emotions of fear. It is also understandable that many would feel the need to make choices and decisions from a place of fear against what appears to be a precarious collective reality.
While some believe that human beings have benefited greatly from the emotion of fear for survival, as a person who has studied human consciousness, I have come discover that fear robs us from our ability to not only survive, but to also thrive.
When we see or hear something that makes us afraid, anxious or worried, a series of signals throughout the brain trigger the production of adrenaline. This surge in adrenaline in the body is what increases our heart rate and blood pressure, which then leads to the fight or flight reaction. Living in fear for an extended period denotes a constant stream of low-grade adrenaline drip that could lead to a state of dis-“ease,” which could evolve into various serious and life-threatening diseases.
Not only is fear mounting the barriers between us and our best health, it is also the prime deterrent to conscious living. It affects the way we think, feel and act. While fear might make us feel safe and protected in the short-term, it hinders us from unleashing our full potential, which usually opens the door to our long-term success.
Being a conscious leader is synonymous with thinking, feeling and acting from an expanded state of inspiration and motivation, while also leading others to be in this same elevated state of consciousness. Fear shifts us out of leading consciously, because it puts our consciousness in a contracted state.
Here are 5 ways that fear affects our ability to live consciously, and some proposed alternatives:
1. Fear is Limiting
When we experience fear, we think and feel that it is not safe to take risks or venture out of our comfort zone. We settle for the status quo, although that is where our limitations and problems reside. Change never happens in a state of fear. It is only when we take a leap of faith into the realm of the possibilities and act fearlessly that a positive shift can happen.
To live consciously is to replace fear with courage. I cannot think of single individual or human society that achieved success, fulfillment, or progress in a state of fear.
2. Fear Skews our Perception
When we live in fear, we begin to see the world as an ugly place that is full of darkness. We overlook the overwhelming amount of good things that are happening around us and for us. When we focus on fear, we forget the thousands of organizations working on worthy humanitarian causes around the world, the individuals and groups that are funding them, or the effect they are having on people’s lives. Similarly, we stop seeing the many acts of kindness that happen within our families, neighborhoods, schools and towns.
Conscious living is rooted in the belief that what we put our focus on expands. Next time you find yourself in this conundrum, focus your attention on the positive and you will see it expand.
3. Fear Makes Us Feel Like Victims
Feeling helpless and hopeless are some of the most dramatic effects of living in fear. We give up on life and on trying to improve our life’s conditions, because we begin to think that we are not in control of the outcome. Life appears to be happening to us through seen and unseen outside forces that are out of our control. We slip into the woe-is-me paradigm. While it is understandable that experiencing extreme hardship in life is not something that could be surmounted easily, countless examples of survivors and overcomers pointed to one consistent thread they all had in common – a ‘can do’ attitude.
To live consciously means to know that you can steer your ship in whichever direction you want with a shift in your attitude. No matter how wild and strong the storm might rage on outside of you, you have everything it takes to anchor into your self-power that breeds hope, confidence and strength.
4. Fear Erodes Trust
Fear of another usually leads us to treat them with suspicion, which in turn ends up either destroying the relationship or leading to conflict. This classic scenario is common in personal or professional relationships or in a broader sense, such as in societies or nations. When citizens fear each other, this usually leads to a protracted conflict or political stalemate.
When you choose conscious living, you choose to bring more trust into the equation. Trust is the antidote to fear. Even in the most difficult situations, adding trust into the mix is known to ameliorate the tension and bring about breakthroughs.
5. Fear Brings Out the Worst in Us
If you have ever experienced fear, and the chance is that you have, what was your typical mental or emotional state at the time? How clear and relaxed were you? The answer is more than likely that you were neither, and instead fear had led you to be either stressed out or to experience a range of negative emotions such as, anger, hate, frustration, etc. Simply put, fear brings out the worst in us.
Conscious living entails being highly self-aware and choosing thoughts and emotions that expand us and put us at ease to be our best self. Next time you find yourself in a place of fear and consequently on a mental and emotional downward spiral, take a minute to breathe and ask yourself; what might be a healthier way to deal with the situation?
Considering the effects of fear on our mind, body and spirit, we would want to make the above quote by Osho our daily mantra. Any political analyst would tell you that the current state of global affairs will take several years to be resolved and bring about peace. Meanwhile, we can either succumb to fear and live an unconscious life; or choose to be empowered, take a leap of faith, trust in the outcome, and live fearlessly!