Fear is Your Best Friend When It Comes to Transformation
In the work I do with DreamsforPeace hardly a day passes when I don’t receive a message that goes something like this. “Dear Richard, Last night I had the most disturbing nightmare…” The first impulse when we have intense feelings of fear whether they are in dreams or real life is to do whatever is possible as soon as possible to get the fear out of the body and mind. This is only logical. It is the rational thing to do because the fear feels awful, it starts patterns of fleeing and hiding, and upsets our emotional equilibrium. Fear is an enemy to the body to be eliminated ASAP. We feel this way, for the most part, because we don’t understand the positive purpose behind the fear. Why is fear good for us? Why should we make friends with it and love having it? It is a very counter-intuitive and challenging process so see fear as your friend when our logical minds are using every ounce of energy to see it as something to get rid of as quick as possible.
In my counseling work I try to think of the friendliness process as if I am helping someone to take their fear on a holiday with me. They can sit at the poolside or the beach with the “fear” in the chair next to them. When we are friendly with our fear or even other emotions like rage or despair, we can take them on a holiday with us and relax with them because they are going to be the impetus for us to change into the person that we really want to be. If we have no fear or other negative feelings, it is almost impossible to transform. They are the catalysts so it is best to learn how to love them and look forward to them. Does this sound peculiar? It shouldn’t. This is why.
We all have two natures, one that we call our true self, which is made up of all of our positive capacities, and one that is our ego or our animal nature which has all of our protective instincts which include all of the negative emotions. When we feel fear like the fear of being assaulted by others, it is a protective instinct from our ego or animal nature. It helps our protective instincts to kick in so that we won’t be assaulted, but it often acts way out of proportion to the actual danger. For instance, it may prevent us from going to do shopping or leaving our house because it always imagines the worst possibilities wherever we are so that we will look for them all the time. It can literally paralyze us. And then when we see the fear as our enemy, it goes inside a bunker of protection so that we won’t get rid of it under any circumstances. How do you make friends?
What we need is to take the fear on a holiday where it can relax for awhile because what ego conditions tell us above all else is that we are lacking a more positive higher energy which we sometimes call virtues or capacities. When we have the fear of being assaulted, even though it is a safe area, it means that we don’t have the capacity to reach out and engage with others fully. Imagine being on the beach again with the ego state, the fear of being assaulted in the chair next to you and then a third person shows up. That person is the you with the new capacity which is to reach out and engage with others fully. The reason that you can be friendly with the fear is that if you stay in process and do the change work correctly, it is going to be able to walk away and have a long sleep under an umbrella somewhere while the new capacity gradually becomes fully a part of you.
The key to making friends with our fear or other ego states is realizing that they are the motivating impulse for change because they tell us what capacities we don’t already have operating. Everyday when we wake up or in our sleep, our ego reminds of what we don’t have developed yet. It is as if the ego is saying, “come on, let’s go relax on the beach for awhile and develop this new you.” But if you don’t acknowledge it, and try to stuff it, it feels like the enemy and then will do its ugliness.
Take your ego on a holiday today.