Fear is but a Phantom
by Michael Braunstein
There is no time like the present, the saying goes. It takes on a whole new meaning in March of 2020. The entire world is now joined in a technological consciousness that allows us to share our thoughts and observations in real time. That’s a lot of minds having to make the right choice between Love and fear. And that choice is individual. Fear is a personal choice. Who cares what the global choice is as long as I can make my own. And you, yours. So choose.
First, a brief intellectual primer. No matter what a person believes about how we (humans, life) got here, — by an eons-long process of super-heated atoms randomly bumping into each other, forming molecules, gases, elements, protein chains and finally life or by some Divine Providence snapping His fingers over the course of seven-days — the fact is, we are made of energy. Period. And there is also an energy that flows through this entire Universe that cannot be denied. And energy cannot be destroyed. So, in the greatest of intellectual senses, you, I and all that exists can never be destroyed. You got nothing to worry about. To be fearful is to forget who you really are: eternal energy that can choose to carry your consciousness on forever. Or you can become vulnerable to fear by believing you are but a transient body, doomed to an end.
So much for that intellectual reality. It’s barely convincing if we are wrapped up in the throes of fear. Let’s get real. When I have a psychotic break and forget who I really am (which is the common state of all humans from time to time), I am bound to succumb to fear. Doesn’t feel good, does it? Just because you know now intellectually that you really have nothing to worry about because you are actually energy, something about that part of the mind that tells you that you are nothing but a body keeps your head spinning into the fear ghetto. How on Earth do you pump the brakes and get out of the physical manifestations that belief in fear bring? Here are some things that work to keep the wolf of the world outside your garden gate.
Thought. Cardinal rule: fear comes from thought. Plain and simple. Your thoughts affect you. Don’t let thoughts control you. You must control them. Starting with rejecting the thought, “I can’t do that.” So the overriding question is how do you slow down that herd of horses trampling your emotions. These are tricks that do that. You can ignore them or you can accept them and use them.
Close your eyes. The instant you close your eyes, your mind becomes more your own. Brain wave activity doesn’t actually slow down but it does become more coherent (Fact). Waves are waves. Energy presents in waves (Fact). When waves are in phase, that’s generally a good thing. Close your eyes and alpha waves begin to dominate the brain activity (Fact). Alpha waves are the sign of relaxation and positive biological things happen when you close your eyes (Fact). Though the brain is not the mind, (that’s a whole other column or three,) brainwaves are the indicator that things are changing. Now you’re in there with your thoughts and that’s where the source is. Our goal is to slow the thoughts down enough to rein them in. You don’t want to be riding a horse that’s intent on going over a cliff. So first close your eyes. Okay? (1)
Breathe. Yes, breathe. Physiological fact: every living cell in your body needs oxygen to live. That means that O2 is getting to them all, right? So when you take easy, deep, relaxed breaths, you are sending O2 to each cell in your body intentionally. The body is changed by your enhanced oxygenation. The cells are getting what they want and need. That makes them happy. Good stuff is happening. So, take ten deep breaths, okay? Easy and relaxed; in slowly through the nostrils, out easily through slightly parted lips. Do it.
Do nothing. Ha! Easier said than done, you say? Well, with practice it becomes easier done than said. Once you are sitting there with eyes closed, breathing easily, now you can choose your thoughts; and eventually let them go entirely, at least briefly. There is another trick. Pick a word that means something good to you. One word. Sometimes a good one is your name. Begin to say that word very softly to yourself. This is called “sounding”. Then let the word slip into the silence of your mind. Let that soundless word be your guide to thoughtlessness. If you get distracted by a rambunctious thought, as soon as you notice you have been distracted, get back on your name, your word. Stay there. Do nothing then rest afterwards, I like to say.
Addendum. Look, above are the real steps to peace of mind, release from fear. Choosing thought. If a thought is leading you away from peace, choose again. Or at the very least, embrace willingness to release it. Willingness goes a long way toward peace of mind. Be willing.
Persist. Remember this, even though a series of many thoughts in a row may sometimes lead you careening down into the Fear Ghetto, you are still only one next thought away from taking a right turn on red and getting over to Happy Avenue. Only one thought, your next thought, is needed to get you to peace. Choose.
Nuts and Bolts. I know humans are used to worldly things, physical things to be both the cause and the solution. We are always looking outside ourselves to pin blame or reclaim remedy. So, to that end, outside the mind, employ these.
Humor. Back in the 1970s, journalist Norman Cousins lay dying in UCLA Med Center with an incurable disease. He (and his doctors) discovered that the belly laughs from watching Marx Brothers comedies in his hospital room improved his health markers. If you are fearful, grab something funny to watch. Watch it until you find something funny in it.
Get out. The outdoors, especially trees, plants and moving water like falling rain, rivers, will dose you with negative ions and improve your mood. Be outside.
Others. Turn your attention to someone who needs or could use your attention. Help another will help yourself.
Avoid mind alterers. Anything that chemically affects thinking, including pharmaceuticals, will have an effect. Alcohol and recreational drugs are obvious. Prescription drugs are not in my purview but they should be in yours.
Handiwork. Get busy. Put your hands somewhere and you mind may follow.
Reach for God. Whatever you want to call Holy Spirit — intuitive self, inner guidance, artistic muse, barking pumpkin — doesn’t matter. There is an inner wisdom we all have access to. Engage it. You are not alone. Ever.
Fear likes to masquerade as “anxiety”, “anger”, “concern”, “jealousy”, “criticism” and so on. It’s all fear. There are only two emotions: Love and fear. Choose.
Knowing without doing is the same as not knowing. Now you know.
Heartland Healing is a metaphysically based polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. Important to remember and pass on to others: for a weekly dose of Heartland Healing, visit HeartlandHealing.com.