Fear makes false evidence appearing real. Fear it just an illusion?
A man was walking in the night on a hilly terrain with fear; he slipped on a rock and fell. Fear that he would fall down thousands of feet, because he knew that just at the edge of the path was a very deep valley, he grabbed hold of a branch that was overhanging at the edge.
In the darkness of the night, all he could see below him was a bottomless abyss. He shouted and he could hear only his own echo and nothing else; there was nobody to hear him.
You can imagine the mental torture, this man would have undergone the whole night. Every moment there was death waiting underneath… His hands were becoming cold, he was losing his grip but he managed to hold on and as the sun came up in the morning, he looked down and he laughed.
There was no abyss as he had imagined! Just 6 inches below his feet, there was a rock ledge. He could have rested the whole night, sleep well since the ledge was big enough! What a pity, the whole night was a nightmare…
We all have our own fears; the intensity or size may vary but we all have some things which shake our very foundation. Fear is always about the future, that is of the ‘unknown’. In scientific terms, fear is known as ‘fight or flight response’.
Our ancestors, a few million years ago, depended highly on this mechanism as almost every moment, there was danger of them getting killed or seriously injured. So, fear is a form of emergency signal given by our body to be watchful and prepared for upcoming threats.
And so our ancestors used to think of all the possible ways they could be attacked and breached, so that they can be well prepared and be safe. As time passed by, people became more intellectually advanced; latest technology made life comfortable like never before and so our survival method has changed suiting the modern society.
But our mind is still in its ancient root, constantly looking for incoming threats to save us from; even when there is no threat, mind perceives that there is one and tries to save us from it by evoking fear in us. In short, now we have started thinking more and acting less.
Increasing media influence also results in information overload, which in turn affects our way of thinking. As a result, we don’t see the problem ‘as it is’; we tend to blow the problem out of proportion with imagination in the name of logical thinking and then get intimidated by the sheer size of it.
A new born will get scared of his own burping sound; like that we also get scared of our own blown up perceptions. There is only a fine line between thinking and over thinking. It is true fear is unavoidable and encoded in our gene for thousands of years of human evolution and fear is very much essential for survival.
And it is also true that there is nothing wrong in being little afraid. Some amount of fear is legitimate, must consider and one to proceed forward with caution. But the fear must not cripple you from proceeding forward.
The mind is not ready to leave the known for the unknown as it thinks you might get hurt in the process. Your mind really wants to protect you and conserve energy, and so ends up blowing a problem more than what it is, to keep you safe in your comfort zone.
But the purpose of life is ‘growth’; one must be willing to step out of the comfort zone. Our beloved Mahatria says, ‘Face fear, it goes; avoid fear, it grows’. It will consume a lot of mental energy, but we must face our fears.
The legendary king of Macedonia, Alexander the great, said, “Every generation of humanity has been in a constant war; a war with fear. Those who have the courage to conquer it are made free and who are conquered by it are made to suffer until they have the courage to defeat it.”
And so, in order to eliminate fear one must train the mind by facing it again and again and again. Our ancestors were surrounded by direct threat; in spite of that they moved forward, they accepted the fear that they had and moved forward anyhow.
With each failed hunting attempt and death, they learnt a new way to approach the same situation by upgrading their tools and weapons. If our ancestors refused to hunt due to fear of killing, they would have starved to death.
Some of us take the step forward and make the choice to walk on the less trodden path of unknown, despite fear. Every time things may not turn up as planned; when reality of life gives us a tight slap in form of a setback or failure, we give up and go back to our comfort zone.
A little more of staying power in those moments will help us overcome the fear. Our mind is wired not to attempt things that we are uncomfortable with. If only we could push forward, despite fear and discomfort, if we can move ahead instead of stepping back, little by little fear will go away.
When we repeatedly attempt to face fear, over time, we will be able to vanquish it from our lives or at least learn to manage it.
The legendary king of Macedonia, Alexander the great, said, “Every generation of humanity has been in a constant war; a war with fear. Those who have the courage to conquer it are made free and those who are conquered by it are made to suffer until they have the courage to defeat it, or death takes them.”
Sylvester Stallone while educating his son about life, in his famous ‘Rocky’ series says, “The world is not all sunshine and rainbows; it doesn’t care how tough you are… will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let. It is about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward… how much you can take and keep moving forward… that’s how a winner is made.”
It all comes down to the perspective we have about situations or things. And by facing your fear head-on, you gain a new perspective and when you look at it in a new way. You finally realize that your fear is not as bad as you thought it would be! So just trust yourself and take the leap of faith.
So, expand your perception and accept and embrace your fear and move forward come what may. No matter how hard it may feel, keep pushing forward, as fear is often just an illusion, False Evidence Appearing Real.
The legendary Hollywood actor also known as the man with 1000 faces, Jim Carrey, once in his commencement address to a set of graduating students said, “You will only have two choices: Love or Fear. Choose love and don’t ever let fear turn you against your playful heart.
So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really want seems impossible, out of reach and ridiculous to expect. So, we never dare to ask the universe for it. It’s just about letting the universe know what you want and work towards it, while letting go of the thought how it might become a reality.
You might fail at what you don’t want; so, you might as well take a chance on doing what you love. Life opens opportunities to you and you either take them or you stay afraid of taking them. Fear is going to be a player in your life but you get to decide how much.”
So, fear is going to exist in your life but the choice is yours, whether to keep on hanging and not progress or let go and learn to fly high. FEAR – can be an acronym for ‘Forget Everything And Run’ or ‘Face Everything And Rise’ in your life dictionary. The choice is yours. Choose wisely.