Fearlessness is meeting fear with a timeless wisdom. What is fear?
Here’s a story: There was a girl walking down a road at dusk. Now remember dusk, it’s not pitch black dark of night, and it’s not the bright full light of day. Dusk is a half light, it’s dim enough to see where you are going so you don’t fall into a hole, but not clear enough light that you recognize what you’re seeing in detail. This girl’s walking down a road with her backpack on. Up in the distance, she sees a long wiggly thing. The first thing she thinks of it’s a snake, that’s immediately her reaction. She’s full of dread and fear. She’s terrified. Then something in her says, “Hang on a minute”, when she remembers she has a flashlight in her backpack. She gets the flashlight out, she turns it on, and she walks towards this shape with the flashlight. Once the beam of the flashlight meets the wiggly shape, she immediately laughs “Phew” in relief. It’s just an old piece of rope that someone had tossed on the ground. What she thought was a snake, turned out to be just an old, harmless piece of rope. All of that happened because of the light of the flashlight. That’s the important element of the story.
Her fear was completely dispelled on the instant that the light was directed to thing that was causing the fear. So she, at that time had an unhealthy relationship with what she perceived to be in the future, which was her future of meeting a snake. And she turned on the light of the flashlight. And it dispelled the fear immediately, and she saw what there was in the present moment for what it was, which was just a harmless piece of rope. So the point of the story is, we need the light of the flashlight, we need to be turning on that flashlight all the time, we need to stand in the light of the flashlight and stay in the light.
So here’s the torch I’m going to offer to you. Its practicing fearlessness, and I’m talking about practicing fearlessness in the easy times, because fearlessness is switching on the flashlight to feelings, such as the fear of what others think of you, the fear of failure, the fear that I can’t do this, I’m not capable of doing this, don’t know what to do. And here’s another one, the fear that comes up with what’s called the imposter syndrome, which is “Who am I to do this? Who am I to say this? I can’t possibly do this. I’m not qualified to do this”. They’re just three of four fears that really stop us. They block our creativity, they block our motivation. They’re absolutely sabotage of energy. And we need to practice fearlessness in the face of this. So fear of what others think, here’s a tip. They’re mostly thinking of themselves and their own fears, let alone so they’re not actually thinking about us. And someone really clever said to me “What you think about me is none of my business”. So what others think about you is none of your business.
So fear of what others think fear of failure, fear of I can’t possibly do this. And this imposter syndrome, who am I to do this? Who am I to say this, I can’t possibly do this and we shrink back behind a safe wall. What we think is a safe war but it’s really just a comfort zone a barrier of fear. And we live under the shadow of fear whereas rather than practicing fearlessness. Now in Sanskrit, the word fearlessness is “Abhayam”, so that is a Sanskrit word of “Abhayam”, “Bhayam” fear. “A-Bhayam”, that little “A-“means fearlessness, not fear. Fearlessness, it’s an absence of fear. So fearlessness means you still experience fear, the fear may come up, but fearlessness means you’re capable of effective action of carrying on regardless of the fear that may come up.
So you don’t deny the feelings, you’re present to the feelings and you continue on. They don’t stop you. So, “Abhayam” is fearlessness. So it’s important to feel the fear, actually feel it in your body, and feel the flooding of adrenaline, the tightness, that terror that you might feel your heart main race, if it’s really extreme. You may feel like you’re shaking, you may feel clamming, that’s all completely natural. And it’s important to feel them, honor, bless it, embrace it and welcome it. And yet you are not that fear. And remember, turn the flashlight on it. Just simply turn the light on it. And the way to do that is to be really present to it.
So I’m going to take you through an exercise right now, where we can practice fearlessness. So feel your feet on the ground be wholly present right now. Feel your feet on the ground. Remember the word fearlessness. In Sanskrit it’s “Abhayam”, but you don’t need to be an expert in Sanskrit. Just remember the word fearlessness and take a deep breath in and then breathe out. Fearlessness! Now come back to the strong feeling of your feet on the ground right here now. Fearlessness! And now be present here and now and open and feel the feelings of fear. It’s okay to feel them. That’s perfectly okay. Now watch the thoughts and the feelings. They may race. Your heart may be pumping. That’s okay. Just watch. Watching is the light of the flashlight. Watching is turning the light on it. Just simply keep the light on the feelings. Feel them. It’s okay. You’re okay. You’re fearless, and you’re practicing fearlessness. Ask yourself what is the thought behind the feelings that’s causing these feelings? You’re so fearless. You can ask this thought. It takes fearlessness to stay still and present and you’re fearless. Abhayam- Be fearless. Breathe in and breathe out. Stay open and calm and steady and fearless.
This exercise is applying timeless wisdom. It’s turning to the power, the quality, the energy, of fearlessness, of Abhayam, of being fearless of fearlessness. It’s turning to that and applying it practically right here right now doing that, rather than just staying trapped in the feelings. It’s actually bringing in some new knowledge, some new energy. And you can do that every time you feel fear, anxiety, a sense of dread and it’s usually because of some projection of something that’s going to happen in the future that you don’t want happen. And it is some projection. It’s some imagination just like the girl thinking that the long shape was a snake. Whereas actually, when she turned the light on it, it was a rope. It’s turning the light on those snakes that we have inside ourselves; these projections that it’s a snake when really it’s an old piece of rope. So turning on the light, being aware, and steady and strong and fearless in the present moment, and having a look, feeling the feelings and then having a look at what is the thought behind it. So that’s causing these feelings. So that’s one example of practicing timeless wisdom and applying it and you can do that anytime you feel fear. Get your kids to do it. Teach your kids. How fantastic to have kids that grow up being able to do this so that they’re not trapped in fear and anxiety.
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