What is Fear ???
Life is a celebration of mysterious events that unfolds one by one on the timeline of our existence. It starts with a lot of inquiry when we are young and gradually expresses itself as we progress towards our adulthood. While growing up we learn a lot of lessons that bring us clarity about the way we want to lead our lives. There are a lot of aspects that are necessary carriers of this unfolding of events that unconsciously shapes our lives. One of the most important ones is our dreams and the biggest obstacle in making those dreams come true is FEAR.
They are both so closely associated that their survival depends on each other’s failure. Like two sides of the same coin.
Before we even get to the topic of how we can overcome our fears, I want to ask you if you ever wondered what fear is and what role it plays in our lives?
When we were just a toddler, throwing our hands and legs in the cradle, it didn’t exist at all. As we learned how to walk, it came up like an invisible line whose existence didn’t even matter, because we always crossed it as if it doesn’t even matter. Then we grew up started talking and understanding things, this is when it became like a yellow barricade tape which is used by cops to avoid trespassing but we used to cross it at our without any worry.
As soon as we stepped into teenage the innocence was now replaced with a shrewd attitude which was dissecting everything wrong and right. We were growing so rapidly that we didn’t realize that our fear was also growing with us and it has become like a wired fence with little thorns which was put by us only to protect ourselves from things and people we were not comfortable with but still it could have trespassed with a little awareness.
As we stepped into our youth, the hormonal rush brought us such a vivid experience of life that we had to remove the fence and build a small wall for our own safety. Even till this point, this wall was not tall enough that it could not be jumped across.
As we were moving towards our mid-life we never knew that this wall would become so big one day that we won’t be able to look across only, eventually restricting us from the world outside and locking us into a trap.
If we talk in terms of science, fear can be understood as a response by our biochemical system to protect us from any threat. In short, it was like a defense mechanism to make us aware of the approaching threats and keep us safe.
In the stone age it was a necessary emotion for our survival to protect us from threats of being attacked by wild animals and other dangers of nature.
We would have not survived the stone age if fear was not there to tell us not to pet a tiger and pamper a snake but as we grew into modern humans this basic survival instinct wasn’t updated as it should have been.
Fear was a companion added in our lives for the purpose of warning us that became obnoxious because of the intervention of mind.
You’ll find a lot of different definitions and descriptions about fear which can be as different as the people and their experiences. I am glad that I found mine.
Before sharing that with you let me share a personal experience on how I found this definition.
I was in the city of Rishikesh in the northern part of India, which is famous for yoga and its adventure sports. Rafting in the enraging waters of river Ganga is one of the most popular activities among tourists. I took a 14km long rafting package which included something called cliff jump. Basically it’s a spot in the middle of the rafting route on the bank of the river, where there is a small cliff from where people jump. When we reached this spot there was a long line of people waiting to jump. Out of excitement our group also stood in the line waiting for our chance to jump. Down from the river it looked quite fascinating and even the cliff looked normal enough. I was excited as everybody else until I reached the point where I had to take the jump. I was standing at the tip of this cliff which suddenly felt like a mountain and I felt like I had made a wrong decision. Something from inside was not allowing me to even think about taking the jump.
Mind started to send suggestions about everything that can go wrong like:
- What if you drown?
- What if the life jacket comes off?
- What if your head hits the rock?
- What will your mom say if you won’t reach home? Etc.
Some suggestions were so stupid that I can not even mention them here.
In a matter of seconds I was surrounded by so many reasons to abandon the jump that my legs started to shiver. Every second passing by there felt like a lifetime to me but for the people standing at the back waiting for their chance have this horrifying experience, it was getting difficult to wait.
In between all this chaos when I got back to my senses, I saw some of my friends trying to encourage me to make the jump while people standing behind me got really impatient and started using abusive things. It was then, out of pressure I took the jump. For a few seconds I blacked out but when I came out of the water it felt like it was not that bad as I was thinking.
I don’t know what calculations my mind did but suddenly I was again standing in the line waiting for my chance to take this jump. I had made up my mind to not think much at the cliff and just go for it without any second thought.
This time when my chance came I just ran off and directly jumped and within seconds again I was out of the water hooting like a crazy hooligan as if I have conquered the whole world.
I still remember the way I came out of the water, it felt nothing less than a warrior who has just won a big battle.
It was this experience which gave me one of the most important lessons of my lesson that :
The gap between our thoughts and our actions is directly proportional to the result. The lesser gap means greater the chances of action and larger the gap, less or no chances of any action. More time we spend planning, the more gap we create in taking action, allowing fear to grow, less the time we take higher is the possibility of taking the action and achieving our goal.
The only difference between the first and the second jump was the time. In my first attempt, I took a lot of time on the cliff before jumping and if there was no pressure I would have not taken the jump and in the second attempt I didn’t give my mind any time to think about the consequences and took the jump.
We all go through such experiences. In the river of life sitting in the raft of our dreams, we all come to the point where we have to take that jump from the cliff in order to finish our journey and the point that makes the distinction between winning or losing is whether we are able to take that leap of faith to conquer our fears and fulfill our dreams or not.
That is the only way we can overcome our fears. Fear is mostly an imaginary story our mind makes us stop us from doing the things we want and keep us in the comfort zone.
It doesn’t mean that you should also jump off from somewhere in order to learn this lesson. It is just an example of how the mind works when we face a situation where we have to take an important decision, which we know we must take but we are not able to take it because of all the recommendations our mind sends us in order to keep us safe.
There is a huge psychology behind the functioning of fear but its better to simply take the action and cease the moment rather than dwelling in the delusions of the mind by accumulating philosophical information with zero experience.
I hope this article gave you a small idea about how fear plays a part in the processes of our lives and also controls the decisions that we make.
There are a lot of topics that we will be discussing in the upcoming articles on how to upgrade your self, for that stay tuned with us.
Until I see you next time, make sure you take very good care of yourselves and your family.
Stay safe and Be Inspired