Fear as a Psychological Movement

Roy Gan
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ROY GAN

Author

In order to get a handle of fear, one must be aware of how it arises within oneself.

Fear can be understood as a psychological process that we experience as an uncomfortable and out of control feeling that we label as anger, anxiety, stress, paranoia, shyness, suspicion, feeling trapped, guilt and depression.  The effects of fear can range from mild irritation to a paralyzing panic attack.

There are as many faces of fear as there are countless thoughts. There is the fear of living, of dying, of wanting to live and wanting to die, of failure, and even of success. There is the fear of rejection, retaliation, denial, and of being alone. We feel miserable in marriages and we complain when we are single. The rich suffer their taxes and the poor suffer their impoverished lot. We worry if we have kids and we worry if we don’t have kids.  It seems that as human beings, we not only fear suffering but are also capable of suffering just about anything and everything. We enthrone fear without realizing it and it rules us from within. 

Fear is an unconscious movement in our minds and the only way to be liberated is to become conscious.

 

Fear as a Survival Program

You’ve mastered survival mode, now it’s time to live.

Anonymous

All fear is related to survival. This instinct of self-preservation is heavily embedded in our minds. It is the evolutionary memory that we carry in our DNA. Our minds were designed to be creative but through socialization, it has now become a survival mechanism not only for our bodies but also for our assumed and learned psychological identities.

When it comes to the protection of the body, fear is helpful. Fear helps us to dodge oncoming traffic, catch a falling baby, and to run when we are being chased by a lion. It is a flash in the pan, fight-or-flight response that creates a rush of adrenaline to help us get out of physical danger or to lift a car off a woman.

But when it comes to protecting our psychological identity, we use the survival mechanism of the mind to protect and argue for our limitations, thereby reinforcing the split, conflict, and fear within us.  We make others responsible for our misery and paint an unfriendly mental universe which we then project out into the world.

This is where all the problems of competition, blame, jealousy, envy, fear of differences, conflict, war, and injustice come in. This results in sickness, blame, violence, unhappiness, and discontentment that is often accompanied by an overwhelming sense of feeling helpless. When we use fear to protect our negative beliefs, we also feel imprisoned by them.

Our bodies are not meant to sustain fight and flight responses for long periods of time. Imagine having adrenaline coursing through your body 24/7. When we are not able to address and handle stress and anxiety effectively, they also accumulate over time and damage our nervous system. Not only does fear compromise our body’s natural immune response to heal but it also distorts our perception of life and creates an enemy and a problem where there are none, thereby adding to the already present distress. This then becomes an internal loop of self-defeat.

Mind as a creative tool
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The habits you created to survive will no longer serve you when it is time to thrive. Get out of the survival mode. New habits. New Life.

Ebonee Davis

Survival mode is supposed to be a phase that helps save your life. It is not meant to be how you live.

Michele Rosenthal

What is Letting Go?

Letting go then can be seen as the basis of undoing a problem or more accurately the belief in one.

Ever get into a big fight with someone and then you suddenly burst out laughing? We let go when we see that the whole reason why we are upset is ridiculous and insane.

Letting go can then be described as a release of an inner pressure that comes with the recognition that what is being held on to no longer works and is actually insane. When this inner pressure is released, we experience relief, an increased energy and happiness.   When we let go of the interference, we flow with life.

Letting go can, therefore, be understood as another mechanism of the mind that undoes the survival program.  When we clear our minds of limiting programs, we naturally become purposeful.

Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on.

Eckhart Tolle

So consider how you would feel if you could let go of all your negative emotions as they arise and be no longer ruled by them? Consider how you would live if you were no longer controlled by your “involuntary” reactions?
letting go
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Our minds have an unlimited capacity for storage. And because we have become unaware and forgotten to let go, we accumulate and carry with us a huge reservoir of negative feelings, attitudes, and beliefs. In other words, we become deeply attached to our life experiences and become defined by them. This accumulated pressure makes us miserable, colors our perception of life and is the basis of many ills and problems that we face. We argue for our limitations by excusing it as a necessary part of the human condition over which we have no control. And because of this accumulated pressure, we seek to escape it in countless ways like getting busy, binging, over-thinking, consuming drugs and alcohol,  just to name a few. We find ways to escape so that we can avoid feeling threatened by our own thoughts and feelings. This is the survival programming of the mind.

angst
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As a result, our lives become an endless struggle of trying to run away from feeling “bad”. We start taking half steps instead of full strides. When we are in denial of the part of us which is fearful, we naturally project that onto our relationships and into our world.  Denial generates projection which then makes the perception of a hostile world.  What is pushed out of awareness is still operative. We feel victimized by our feelings and we further judge ourselves for holding on to such a massive amount of negativity. We repress our feelings further for fear that we will go out of control if we face them. Because we are unwilling to let go, we continue to accumulate negativity until we look forward to death.

Thoughts by themselves are not painful. It is the feelings behind the thoughts that arise that are painful.

A single feeling can generate a million thoughts, scenarios, and hypotheticals. So if we want to get a handle on fear, we first have to acknowledge our feelings and learn to be with them in a way that does not judge, condemn, or moralize.

When we release a negative feeling, we also release hundreds, if not thousands of associated thoughts that plague our minds. Surrendering the underlying energy behind our feelings is the key. And it’s very practical. When we are free of judging our feelings, we are also free from all the programs that come with the feeling.

feelings thoughts
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Thoughts and feelings and our reactions to them, are not a solid or fixed part of who we are.

Nicole Beland

Letting go can be done continuously and effortlessly. The point is to do so consistently and consciously. The state of freedom is already innate. It is merely our attachments and aversions to our feelings that cover up our natural desire to grow, evolve, and expand. Creativity arises as a natural movement when all blocks to it are released. Our natural state is to be expansive and to create all that is good and which benefits all.

Suppression, Expression & Expression

In this secton, we will discuss how the survival mind keeps fear running and pushed out of our awareness.

 

1. Suppression and repression

 

The common expression is to eat your feelings or to stuff them down. Put them away in a lock and key and shove it all the way back in your mind where you cannot experience them.  We repress in unawareness. And we suppress when we do not know what to do with our uncomfortable feelings.

The reason for this is because of the programming we received as children. Parents would punish their children for being “bad” and reward them for being “good‘.  This leaves the child often feeling that there are parts of themselves that are wrong, unworthy and inadequate.

As a result of this “collective reward-punishment” training, we often grow up thinking that there is something innately wrong with us and that we cannot be accepted and loved unconditionally for the way we naturally are. This creates a massive amount of guilt which we further repress into the unconscious or subconscious.

 We may be able to tolerate pain but it is not without limit. So what is repressed and denied eventually gets projected onto others and on our bodies in the form of headaches, cramps, disorders, indigestion, hypertension, and other dis-eases. We make others responsible for the way we feel. “Others” become the enemy and our bodies become a burden as the guilty mind looks for justification to reinforce its projection.

We have been taught as children that some emotions are bad and that we should never entertain them, least of all have them. This puts the added pressure of guilt on top of the already distressed and unworthy beliefs and feelings. As these unwanted and unresolved emotions get thrust deeper and deeper into our psyche, they also become harder and harder to dislodge. The mind as a survival tool then builds layers of defenses to keep the unwanted feelings and their corresponding beliefs from being exposed to the light where they can be healed, cleansed and released.

What is unresolved, not released and pushed out of awareness still operates and rules us from within. The mechanism of projection and denial then becomes the mainstay of the mind to relieve itself of the pressure by putting the power of causation outside of itself. “You are the cause of my pain” is its mantra. We create a mental picture of an enemy where there is actually none. We blame people, institutions, social conditions, the weather, God, devil, luck, rivals and this accounts for all the struggles, conflicts, and wars in our world.

Denial and projection are psychological defenses that motivate every form of aggression and violence, be it directed outwards or towards the self.

repression
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What we call “normal” is a product of repression, denial, splitting, projection, introjection, and other forms of destructive actions on experience…It is radically estranged from the structure of being.

R.D. Laing

Projection makes perception. We look inside first, decide the kind of world we want to see and then project that world outside, making it the truth as we see it.

A Course in Miracles

2. Expression

 

Expressing our negative emotions can be a temporary measure to release our pent up emotions quickly but it is still destructive because the cause and energy behind the feeling has not yet been seen, uprooted,  forgiven, and released. Yelling into a pillow, exercising, and protesting are all forms of processing fear without actually letting it all go. Expression propagates and energizes the feeling of fear and keeps it in place. The survival-mind has become very adept at minimizing fear through expression without actually dumping it.

Expression as a stopgap measure can be helpful though in releasing enough pressure so that we can have the presence of mind look back at what transpired and learn from it. We will know better the next time.

 Where suppression and repression are the cause of endless mental debates, the expression of fear is the driver behind all forms of violence and attacking others. This has a detrimental effect on our relationships. In due time, our world starts to take on the darker and darker shades of unfriendliness and hostility. Expressing and projecting our unloving feelings onto our bodies takes the form of pain, distressing symptoms, and sickness.

In awareness, we take responsibility for our emotions. In doing so, we can also neutralize them together with their associated thought forms. What remains after letting go is peace, happiness, and joy.

expressing anger
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3. Escape

 

The survival mind is very skilled at denial, deflection, and denouncement. Those are the ways the ego-mind escapes when it feels threatened by its own feelings and programs. Escape also comes in the form of dimming down one’s senses through substance and alcohol abuse. We do so when we don’t wish to face the pain of the accumulated pressure within us. We disown our feelings and reject parts of ourselves that already feel rejected and unworthy. In this way, the cycle of self-sabotage and addictions continue unabated as we grow endlessly dependent on things that we think can drown out the voice in our heads.

Human beings have all been socialized to stay unconscious. Most people are terrified of facing their personal demons because they have already judged themselves to be inadequate and powerless and they will avoid at all costs to feel like that.  They dread being alone and frantically pursue activities in order to distract themselves from exposing and letting go of the beliefs that would actually set them free. Avoidance, therefore, halts spiritual growth, loss of interest in others, isolation, and results in physical illness, stunted emotionality, aging, and premature death. Depression ensues when we have lost all hope. Grief occurs where there is regret about the past and fear is always about surviving the future.

Desire, anger, and pride are higher energy states but they are equally motivated by the fear of not having. In these instances, selfishness and competition become the preoccupations of our minds which often leads to hatred of self, violence towards others, and other such destructive behaviors as acting out and pointing fingers.

addiction
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The Energetic Phenomena of Feelings

chakras energy
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All feelings and emotions are energy in motion.

To know that our feelings are just a play of energy gives us the understanding that there is in truth, nothing to be afraid of. It is when we label it, judge it, moralize it, condemn it, and associate our own personal meaning and story to the feeling that we miscreate a fear of fear itself.  It’s not our life circumstances that we are frightened of. It’s our emotions about it.

 It’s not the fact that I have no money in the bank that I am fearful.  But that I am afraid of the feeling of being poor and unworthy. The survival mind then adds to that feeling that I will be impoverished for the rest of my life and unable to take care of myself in the future.  Fear of fear itself then actually stops me from taking the necessary action to become financially independent. This may include finding a job, pursuing my passion, and even monetizing my interests. We can only react from the data that we have collected but we can respond in a million different ways when we have mastery over our feelings. We step into courageousness, intelligence, and peace.  The doors of opportunities open.

Can you handle a knot in your chest? Or a sensation of an energy stirring in your solar plexus without the mental narrative?   By not resisting these sensations, we also let go of hundreds and thousands of thoughts, beliefs, and associated memories that prejudice the perception of our world and life experience.

By gaining mastery, our fear of living dissipates. We embrace our uniqueness, have greater confidence, and are willing to take chances because we now know that we can handle any emotional consequence. This is freedom and not bondage. Fear breeds inaction, apathy and self-attack. So by handling our emotions in an intelligent and available way, life also opens up with new avenues of possibilities that were once avoided.

energy creates worlds
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Energy cannot be created or destroyed. It is what creates all of life.

All emotions are vibrations and they emit an energetic field that affects everything in creation and how we look and experience life. They affect our energy field, our ability to communicate, and also our ability to heal and be creative. Muscle testing will show that those who are at a higher frequency have more energy and have a healthier immune response. The opposite is true. Misery and fear create conflict and imbalance in our bodies and the perception of the world as an unfriendly place. A person with a lot of repressed grief and guilt will create sad, punishing situations in their life. The fearful mind expects to be frightened and the angry person constantly looks to pick a fight or argument.  The prideful are constantly being insulted as they defend themselves continuously.

 Since the whole universe is a play of One Energy, our individual energetic signatures affect all of life experience. This is how powerful we are. Our minds are creative and therefore affect all of creation by transmitting its frequency over an unlimited distance.  We are routinely affecting one another with our thoughts and emotions. When I am healed, we are all healed. This is because the cosmos is not made up of disassembled parts. Everything is connected energetically. Scientists now tell us that our reality is in fact holographic in nature.

The golden rule, “Giving is receiving“, demonstrates this principle accurately. Love is One with love and “attracts” harmony.  Fear and victimhood go hand in hand. We attract who we are and not what we want. In denial and projection, we believe our misery into existence and think it real and caused by something outside of us.  In true responsibility and empathy,  we love, share and connect without the motivation of getting.

Knowing this will help us to make the conscious choice to let go of the energy of fear when it comes up. When we can disassemble the fear of fear itself, we also discover that we have always been free all along. We always have the choice to choose between fear and love.

The Technique of Letting Go

letting go
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We come to a point in our lives when we are sick and tired of being sick and tired. “There has to be a better way“. That becomes our prayer. 

We will now discuss what the technique of letting go is, what surrendered state is and why it is a more conscious way of being than the survival state.

When the energy behind our negativity is surrendered, the net effect of that is decompression. We feel better. Our bodies function better. There are improvements in our breathing, skin color, and chemistry. In this inner state of freedom, all bodily functions do what they were originally designed to do. We feel happier and lighter and we become purposeful.

How to Let Go

 

Letting go arises out of the awareness that what one is holding on to no longer serves our happiness.  The moment we see no more value in pain, healing is instant.

The technique of letting go therefore involves first being aware that all feelings are juicier versions of our thoughts. Our thoughts form and beliefs are actually learned programs that can be questioned, reversed, canceled, let go of, and revised.

When we allow our feelings to be exactly what they are, they naturally run their course without interference. By staying with our feelings in this way, the energy behind the feeling is easily released together with hundreds of thought-forms. 

So many times, we suffer the feeling of fear because we have learned tendencies to dramatize, theorize, moralize and condemn ourselves for the way we feel.  We guilt ourselves for having these feelings and we unconsciously create an enemy out of the experience which only perpetuates it. This forms a wounded personality which we then mistakenly call ourselves.

What is resisted, persists. And is judged, sustained. The psychological defenses of resistance and judgment keep in place the very beliefs that we are not already free right here and right now.  A feeling that is not fought or resisted dissolves as the charge behind it dissipates.

When letting go, ignore all thoughts. Bring your attention to the feeling itself and not the thoughts or story.

Become aware that all psychological drama is endless and self-reinforcing. Identification with thought only breeds more thought. Misidentification then becomes an endless circus of rationalizing and trying to explain the presence of a feeling. The truth behind all feelings is the accumulated pressure behind them that is forcing them up into the surface at the moment, much like the steam that is forced out of kettle when the water reaches a boiling point. The thoughts or external events are merely excuses made up by the mind to place the cause of the feeling outside of itself, thereby rendering itself powerless to see clearly.

All negative feelings are driven by survival programs that the mind thinks are necessary to feel safe and in control. When we are attached to our limited and personal identities, we are also instructing the mind to preserve them.  The letting go technique, therefore, undoes these programs and the ego progressively.  We become clearer as to the underlying motivation behind our feelings.

surrendered state
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The Surrendered State

 

The surrendered state is to have no attachment or aversion to anything. There is no strong emotion either way. As it is commonly put, “It’s ok if it happens and it’s ok if it doesn’t”. This is freedom. This is liberation from desire to separate, to fragment our universe, and to make enemies where there are none.  We start to find a deeper enjoyment in things because we see that we don’t need them for our happiness and our sense of self. We become more and more spiritually independent and there is a dissolution of the need to depend on anything outside of ourselves. This is not isolation.  Rather it is peace and joy that  experiences the interconnectedness and beauty of all life.

Surrendered feelings can return and this is only because there is more to be surrendered. We have accumulated a huge reservoir of wounded feelings and stuffed them down all our lives.  Remember that It takes a lot of energy to keep our feelings suppressed and that is why when we let go, we also feel lighter and happier.

To continuously release in this way is to stay free consciously.  When you start to see that all feelings and their corresponding thoughts come and go, you will also realize that you have never been bound to them in the first place. This is the power of awareness and recognition of truth.

The Self is always eternally aware and has never changed. When you begin to identify with the changeless you, the I AM,  you also start to function at that level of freedom. You are no longer taking the bait. You are no longer the victim of your feelings and thoughts.

You see that all survival programs were merely the accumulation of a limited identity we call the ego.

The results of letting go are immediate and its effects powerful and far-reaching. A peaceful mind creates health. A chaotic mind creates imbalance and dis-ease.

When we release continuously and persistently, that which used to bother us, no longer will. This change is often noticed by friends and family. You find yourself having more energy to do good and also to be more present with those around you. You start to awaken your natural desire to grow, evolve, and be curious. Your intuition, once covered by clouds of complexity, starts to become alive again.

 It is important to acknowledge these gains, for the survival mind is apt to forget and crawl back into familiar walls of habits. Resistance to the technique itself comes in the form of “this is not working” or “it only works for others but not for me“.

 It is therefore important to stay true to purpose. Whenever you forget, ask yourself what is the purpose of letting go. In this way, we stay vigilant and make huge strides towards freeing ourselves.

The Defense against Letting Go

Resistance is actually the fear of fear itself.  This is a program that is deeply embedded into our consciousness through hundreds if not thousands of years of man’s evolution and programming. When we think we are separate egos, the mind will resist anything that threatens it. Remember the mind cannot accept anything that is inconsistent with its programming.  Resistance comes in the form of cynicism.  We become cynical about everything including the technique itself. Part of the built-in resistance is also the mind’s inability to sustain concentration for long periods of time. This usually results in escapism, acting out, and becoming bored.

The solution then is to release your feelings about the process of letting go. When we resist the resistance, it only energizes the cycle of self-defeat.

resistance
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The solution then is to release your feelings about the process of letting go. 

All resistance stems from the belief in lack. “I lack control“; “I lack safety“; “I lack approval“. No matter the form of the resistance, it is always rooted in a scarcity-survival mindset.

 So the method is to keep letting go of every fear as it arises. Let the feelings come up, run their course, and do no engage.

What we are letting go of are the accumulated programs that have enslaved us. These programs blind us to the fact that we are already free. The ego has been around for a long time and so it has developed many tricks to keep you spinning in circles. One of the ego strategies is to keep you distracted so that you will go unconscious about releasing. A suggestion will come into your awareness and you may suddenly find yourself deciding that letting go doesn’t work. This is a sign that the method is actually working. When we start to release, we are in many ways stirring up a hornet’s nest of difficult repressed emotions. We are starting to cut the cords to ego control and be free of the desire to separate, attack, and project.

Letting go is a natural ability. As kids, we can be angry one moment and in the next, happy and playing with our friends again. Letting go is not based on some theory, intellectual feat or esoteric philosophy. Letting go is not a belief system. It is the opposite of that. It is to release the mentalization and the limiting beliefs that we have enthroned unconsciously.

 

just do it
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 As Nike says “Just do it”. Eventually, we will see that all thoughts are resistance based. They are images that the mind has made out of judgment to keep us from seeing clearly and being our authentic selves. When you can start to laugh at your thoughts, you will also intuitively know that you are the right track. The pursuit of thought is an endless endeavor. It never stops and it covers our true identity. The software has taken over and this is what keeps us feeling out of control and seeking endlessly with no solution in sight. To compensate for that feeling of being out of control, we seek external validation and chase symbols in order to feel better about ourselves. This becomes a lifelong pursuit which only retains and fuels the fear.

 We have all experienced a quiet and peaceful mind. We do what we do without striving or grinding. This is our natural state. When we are relaxed, our minds and bodies perform at their optimum. When we are happy, we are helpful and loving. Our intelligence works for us and we problem-solve effectively and are not easily influenced by others.

Deep within us, we actually know everything that we need to do and the action we need to take in order to have things happen. This is an automatic thing since our true identity is already free and abundant.

The irony here is that the more resistance we experience, the more the method of surrendering is working.  The common trap is that we release to feel good but then we stop. We should take advantage of this high state and momentum to keep going. When we are high, we can really go deep within our psyche and let go of the grab bag of guilt that we have not been able to dump.  Consistency and persistence is the key.

 When we feel stuck, the feeling of stuckness is yet another opportunity to release something that has kept us cocooned for most of our lives. We start to peel back the layers to discover our freedom.

To let go, simply be with the feeling and let it run its course without interference. Become dispassionate and watch attentively with a purpose to let go of the narrative.

 We hold on to many beliefs. Some of these are “No matter what I do, it doesn’t work“; “I have put in so much effort into it and I don’t want to let go“; “I can only get what I want by hard work, struggling and grinding and negotiating“; “Suffering is the way of life. There is nothing I can do about it“; “Being miserable gets me what I want“; “we cannot get anything for free“; “things that are simple are not worth anything“.

 As we grow in awareness, our boundaries also expand and we have a taste of what our feelings have covered up for all of our lives.

 

I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven

Bible

Unless we change our minds about who we are, we will never taste the innocence, value, perfection, and the wholeness which we already are. It is totally up to us. We are that powerful.

Conclusion

 

This is a method that works if employed. It puts you in the driver’s seat, and in touch with your inner feelings and experiences. It places the axis of power squarely in your hands. Feelings and thoughts are programs and as such they can be looked at, changed, revised and gotten rid of. We are all looking for solutions to enhance our lives and letting go can be part of your repertoire to problem solve.  Your mind naturally wants to seek relief from all pain and suffering. Let’s liberate it.

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