More Ideas on Overcoming Fear

100_2693I received a number of comments about last week’s post, “Overcoming Fear.”  Two of the comments were posted to the blog, but I received many more via email.  Since the comments that were emailed to me were made in a more private format, I must assume that those who made the comments don’t want to be publicly identified.

However, I think that some of the comments I received via email, and my responses to them, may be helpful for a larger audience to ponder.  So, although the authors of the comments will remain anonymous, a few of these comments and my responses to them are the subject of the post I’m making today.

Comment:  Well written and powerful for you. Would that it would be so easy for other people. The trick is to get yourself to believe. Some people who have had horrific life experiences, simply cannot see the good in life. They simply have experienced too much pain. For those, just showing them peaceful ways of coping is probably the answer.

Response:  Mastering “the trick” of coming to believe in a new idea isn’t any easier for me than it is for anyone else.  However, that is the most peaceful way I know of coping; making the effort and doing the (mental and spiritual) work necessary to change the thought patterns that keep us in bondage to the lack, limitation and chaos we experience when we allow ourselves to feel as if there is nothing we can do because we see ourselves as victims.

For instance, I could live my life from the limited ideas I developed as I experienced the abuse that I was subject to from my Stepfather, but I chose instead to do the work necessary to know the Truth about him and to forgive him so that I could heal and move forward in life in a more joyful and productive manner.  I found that solution to be better for me than to continue to try and cope with the pain, anger and humility that lived in me for so many years as a result of his treatment towards me.

That’s only one example.  I am a descendant of slaves, born in America, raised in a neighborhood of others like myself during a time when heavy racial, social and economic strife impacted the lives of everyone around me.  I have literally hundreds of stories I can tell about painful, horrific, or painfully horrific life experiences I’ve had.  I’d rather share the stories of how I’ve been blessed and what blesses me in life, how I’ve healed from those painful experiences and how I learned to stop blaming the world around me and everyone in it for my woes. That seems more helpful to me.

I have found in the course of my life, that all people, no matter what their background may be, have had horrific life experiences, and that the vast majority of people have experienced tremendous amounts of pain.  It seems that although people live in denial, try to hide from their pain, or can put on a good show, no one can really cope peacefully with the skeletons in their closet.  The only solution is to heal, and that takes the willingness to do the work.

Guy

Comment:  Hi Guy,

Just visited your blog and read your “Overcoming Fear” article today.
A few remarks before commenting on the article.

I really like about your blog/site:

a) Visually appealing, nicely organized, easy to navigate;

b) Useful content, both in terms of identifying yourself and also providing New Thought resources;

c) An engaging writing style; excellent grammar and spelling.

The “Fear” article:

I for one am always on the lookout for stories about overcoming limitation, hoping to find useful “how-tos”. In your article, when you got to how you were going to accomplish releasing the fear of heights and flying, you started with the premise that fear and love cannot coexist. I got stuck there — with a lot of questions about the premise. Can’t they? Ever? Even though I know I live in an all-loving universe, I still experience fear. Doesn’t that mean they co-exist? Did you mean in a particular situation? This interfered with the reasoning in the following paragraph and for the rest of the article, I was wondering what you really meant. But maybe that’s a good thing…have to think about it.

Keep up the good work. I enjoy the stories.

Response:  Thank you so much for providing your critical review of the Blog.  My desire was to find out what people think about the site in the terms that you stated.  I am happy to find that I am accomplishing what I set out to achieve.

In answer to your question, if you search within yourself I think you will find that although you may have “mixed emotions” about certain situations, circumstances or experiences in your life, it is because your thoughts about these things fluctuate. “I like the way that looks, but it just doesn’t feel right to me.”

I like the way that looks is one thought, and it just doesn’t feel right is another one. although one thought followed directly after the other, it is impossible to think them both at once.  Both ideas stimulate different emotions; so, because your thinking can be in a state of flux, your emotions can too.  When this occurs it may feel or seem like you are feeling two things at once, but you are actually feeling one thing after another in rapid succession.  If you keep your thoughts fixed on thoughts of God’s Love, that is all you will experience.  If you keep your thoughts fixed on ideas that you are fearful about, that is all you will experience.  But only one idea can occupy your mind at a time, no matter how quickly a different one follows.  The key is to develop the discipline to keep ourselves thinking what we choose and want to think, despite what thoughts or ideas may occur more readily in us because of our habitual thought patterns.

I hope this helps to answer your question.  Thank you again for your critique.

Guy

Comment:  This [post] was just what I needed.  I am experiencing some serious fear right now and this was a tremendous help.

Regarding accessing your blog and giving feedback:  people are soooo fearful right now about the economy and what’s going on with their jobs and their lives that they just don’t have the time to go out there.  I think that it is a tremendous site and thank you for all of your efforts.

Response:  Thank you so much for your comments.  People are always fearful about something, but most of the time the cause of their fears is so deeply buried in their consciousness it cannot be identified, which is quite problematic; after all, how can you do the work necessary to change a situation if you don’t know what to work on?  At least with an idea as solid as “the state of the economy,” we know where to start; so, we can determine what train of thought we need to establish in order to create a better experience.  Maybe I’ll address this idea in the blog in the days ahead.

Guy

Comment:  I enjoyed the article on fear and am really glad you have conquered it.  Your article made me think of all types of fear and how we delay taking responsibility for addressing the fear.  I too have  fear of flying small planes.  But when I was in Israel and invited to fly on a small plane over the city or Jerusalem at dusk I was really afraid.  But on the plane with me was the bishop of the Greek Orthodox Church for Jerusalem and I told him that I did not want to [fly] on such a small plane and I was scared.  He told me that God was with me and that he was always with me in the air, [and] on the ground.  So when ever I am flying and feel frightened I think of Bishop Nikiporous and I know God is with me.

I liked your site and the content it is well organized.  You are a very good communicator and your writings are easy to understand – you offer real world options and suggestions and place them in a context that allows the reader to feel connected.  I enjoyed them.

Response:  I didn’t know we had this common experience in terms of the problem we faced and how we were able to overcome it.  This is a very interesting revelation.

Something else to realize, is that the idea of taking responsibility for healing ourselves of the fear based ideas and ways of living we’re accustomed to is a bit frightening for most people in itself.  We could all use a Bishop Nikiporous from time to time. Thank God they’re here for us.

Guy

To: all who visit and are inspired by this site; I love you, and I bless you.

And so it is.
Guy

Advertisements

Straight Ahead

open_road

Moving straight ahead
A goal, a dream, a plan
Unlimited potential
Exists in every man

All that you desire
All you want to be
The future you envision
Becomes your destiny

Hard work and determination
Will take you anywhere
The sooner you get started
The sooner you’ll get there

So, let nobody stop you
My friend, it’s up to you
Work steady towards your vision
Your dream will soon come true

Copyright 1991
Guy E. Lawson

Overcoming Fear

In the summer of 1967 at the age of eight, I traveled from my home in Cleveland, Ohio to visit my uncle in New York City.  I was thrilled at the prospect of flying to New York on my own.  My mother saw me to the gate as I departed, and my uncle met me at the gate as I arrived.project2aa

The thrill of the anticipated flight disappeared as soon as the plane lifted off. That was the moment I discovered my fear of heights.

Needless to say, the flight was not a pleasant one.  I was terrified.  I don’t know whether it was motion sickness or the fear that caused me to become so violently ill, but the stewardess (which is what a flight attendant was called then) said it was motion sickness.  I think it was the fear.

It was a wonderful 2 week vacation, filled with lots of fun and excitement.  I will never forget it.  But I refused to fly back and my uncle wound up driving me home.

10 years later, at the age of 18, I voluntarily joined the peacetime army.  I probably would not have joined if I had the foresight to think about flying to Fort Knox, Kentucky for basic training.  I tried to get out of the flight, but I was told that taking the bus was not an option; the government provided the plane ticket and I had orders to fly.  To top it all off, I was traveling with a “buddy,” which meant I had to act as if I was not concerned about the flight at all.  After all, I could not let my new “buddy” see any fear in me.  He already had a problem with me because I was put “in charge” of the trip, and he just couldn’t understand why he had to be insubordinate to someone of my (ethnic) background.

I rode the bus home after basic training.  I rode the bus to my Advanced Individual Training at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana.  I rode the bus to my permanent duty station at Fort Ord, California.  Fortunately, I was never given an overseas assignment.project2zt

I stayed away from flying until February 1995, when I was convinced to travel to Cozumel, Mexico to celebrate my 36th birthday.  With my fear of heights and of flying securely in tact, I took the trip.  Although the flight going to Cozumel and returning to Chicago, (where I’ve resided since 1994), was horrendous, the vacation itself was a tremendous experience.  It was so fantastic in fact, that I have taken a vacation requiring flight every year since; sometimes two.

The dilemma was always the flying.  I developed a love for travel; seeing and experiencing new and different places, people and cultures, is very exciting to me.  The problem of getting there and getting home was (marginally) outweighed by the enthusiasm I had for the anticipated adventure.

project2znHowever, by the year 2000, I grew tired of experiencing the fear.  I determined that my entire vacation experience should be fun and enjoyable.  I decided that it was time for me to practice the teaching of knowing the presence of God in this matter.  I could not think of a viable reason that I should have an experience of something other than good in order for me to have an experience of my determined good.  I knew it was time to release the fear of heights and of flying.  But how would I accomplish this?

I remembered once coming across the idea that fear and love cannot coexist.  So, I used that idea as my starting point.  Fear, after all, (which has been described by the acronym False Expectations Appearing Real), is nothing more than a lack of faith that God is present in a certain situation, or the faith that God is not present.  When we practice and realize the presence of God in any situation, there is no fear because we know that there is nothing that exists which can destroy, defeat or oppose the Power that is God.

One of the attributes of God, or put another way, a fundamental aspect of the Nature of God is Love.  God is Love.  So, if I know that God is Love, and I know that God cannot be opposed, then I know that Love is an expression of the Power of God which cannot be opposed.  This is why fear and love cannot coexist; believing in, feeling and knowing the Love of God means knowing that I am filled with, immersed in, enveloped in and surrounded by this Power, that is constantly, consistently and unconditionally giving of Itself to me so that I always have my good.  The good that I determine for myself then, is and must be recognized as my real expectation.  Recognizing my real expectation of good, there is no power for any false expectation to appear in my mind or in my experience.

Based on this thinking, I used treatments and affirmations around the ideas that “God is Love,” and “The Love of God is with me now.”  I consciously conquered my fear of heights and of flying in the year 2000.  I now enjoy flying as much as the vacations I take, and I always sit by the window so I can take in the Magnificence and Beauty of God that I am surrounded by as I travel.

And so it is.

Guy