The Root of All Disease
I know you have heard this before, but I feel it needs repeating. The root of all dis-ease is fear. Fear is the source of stagnation, paralysis and decay. When fear takes hold in the body and mind, dis-ease begins to grow. It starts as a mild anxiety that affects the breathing pattern, the diaphragm tightens and the ability to breathe deeply and freely decreases. As the breath shortens the awareness of oxygen deprivation sets in and anxiety increases. Anxiety creates tension and resistance and weakens the immune system which opens the gate to illness and dis-ease. Prolonged fear and anxiety break down the body-mind integrity. Without integrity of body-mind-spirit one can not maintain ones balance, or ones health for very long. Fear is the source of ten thousand ills and misfortunes.
Fear is paralysis. The antidote to paralysis is movement. The core of all movement is the breath. By taking a full conscious breath you initiate an internal movement that weakens the grip of fear and sets the energy of fear into motion. This is the essence of courage. I define courage as fear in motion or E-motion. Courage is moving and acting even though you are afraid. It is the understanding that you cannot allow fear to paralyze you into non-action, it is not an option even if it is a possibility.
Fear is pandemic, it is the staple of humanity in this time of uncertainty and as such it is always present to some degree in someone close to you. Because the energy of fear is so prevalent it is almost impossible to avoid or escape, so stop trying. Instead, learn how to deal with fear and use fear as an opportunity to exercise and strengthen your power of command.
The real issue is not fear, but rather your response to fear, your response is always the issue. Your response is your opportunity to exercise and practice, it is your life practice that leads to self-mastery. Lets face it, if you're going to master anything in this life, this is THE thing to master. I have been wrestling with fear my whole life (like everyone else on the planet). Fear motivated me to study martial arts in the hopes of defeating fear with strength. I soon realized that physical strength is no match for fear, for once I tired, fear crept in like the tide at night and washed over me. I tried to bargain with fear by rationalizing with it and failed. Fear does not respond to rational dialogue, it flows around it and finds a loop hole in your logic. I fought fear with anger until anger made me sick and tired. I tried drugs, but when the drugs wore off I was still afraid. It wasn’t until my son was born that I found the clue that led me to a new understanding of what fear was and how it functioned.
I was playing with my son at the playground one day when he was about two years old. He was standing on a platform about four feet off the ground, I was standing in front of him with my arms out stretched trying to motivate him to jump into my arms. The thought of jumping into space was scary to him and he hesitated and backed away from the edge. I found my self mouthing the words I had heard all through my childhood, “Don't be afraid, just jump”. As I heard the words I realized how absurd they were. I was telling my son to ignore a survival instinct, to pretend that he was not feeling what he was feeling and then judging him for it as well. I pleaded and he became frustrated and angry. This was the wrong path to travel, so I stopped and took a deep breath. As I looked at my son frozen with fear, I realized something fundamental about fear. Fear was a feeling, and an energy, a specific energy whose attribute was paralysis. I saw my son locked in the grip of an energy that was not moving. I realized what was needed and I changed my approach. I acknowledged the energy and said, “It's o.k. to be afraid, just take a deep breath, bend your knees and fly”. It took a few deep breaths to set the energy into motion and then he jumped, well sort of fell forward really, but he set his energy into motion and acted. Well, once the first jump was over he climbed right back up on that platform and jumped again and again and again, each time with more joy and excitement and a little fear. I learned from my son that day how to respond to fear. Acknowledge fear but don’t make fear the issue. Respond with courage by setting fear into motion with your breath and fly.
If you focus on fear directly it will paralyze you like the eyes of a hungry tiger. Soften your focus and observe fear with indirect awareness as if looking at it with your peripheral vision and breathe deeply and rhythmically. Send the energy of fear through your body and into the ground as you breathe. This is the secret of taking command of your mind and your energy. Practice this and master this until it becomes your first response to fear, your only response to fear. With practice you will learn to recognize fear in its infancy and take action when the energy of fear is small and weak and easy to neutralize. Fear is a signal to take action, to respond. The problem is when we wait too long to respond and the energy of fear grows too strong. The stronger the energy the more effort is required to move it. That’s why most people use anger to overcome fear. Anger is a powerful force and is often used to set ones energy into motion in the face of fear. It works, no doubt about it, but it is also a destructive force when used as the only response to fear. I know a lot of people who use anger as their primary fuel on a daily basis. After a while anger takes its toll on ones health and mental outlook. Its like using acid to fuel an automobile, after a while it eats through the body and renders the car useless.
The energy of fear can be used to your advantage. It can warn you of danger and of the need to act in a timely fashion. Listen to it without indulging in it. Soften, smile and breathe!