Fear

What is fear?

Fear is the perceived pain of a possible future. Fear is a very powerful emotion with a very simple and important function.

The purpose of fear is survival and nothing else. In our hunter-gatherer days, fear in the face of danger (these were actual life threatening situations like a vicious predator on the prowl) heightened our sensitivity, energy levels and abilities for a short duration to survive the danger. And then the fear went away.

But nowadays fear has devolved into a general anxiety and attached itself to everyday situations which are laughable in comparison to the original dangerous situations which required the edge provided by fear for survival. Now we are afraid of things like public speaking where the worst possible outcome is the audience booing you.
That is nothing in comparison to imminent death.

A similar concept is nervousness, which needs its own post, but I’ll touch on it here. Nervousness is a phenomenon where you don’t know what to do.  You have this built up energy in you from the excitement or the fear and you don’t know where to direct it. You may know what to do on an intellectual level but you have not actually done the thing before. So it is all in the head and not in the body. It takes practice to know it in the body and when that happens, then you won’t be nervous anymore.

Should you be fearless?

No, you should not and you don’t need to be. Moreover, you can’t be. You can’t rid yourself of all fear. But you can use your own fear as a guidance mechanism. In most of the cases, your fear will show you the thing that you must do (with obvious exceptions). Beyond every fear is the person you have to become, that is how you grow.

How do you deal with fear?

I give this advice from personal experience; I have not read any books on the subject. The next time you face a situation where you start to feel fear, imagine the
worst possible outcome and accept it. Accept that it may happen. Then accept that you’ll be okay. You’ll still be breathing on the other side and if you’re still
breathing then you can manage. Trust in your abilities to handle yourself will help you sail through the situation.

Let the situation show you your own strength.

This was the intellectual part. Then comes the other part. Action. Go do the thing. I don’t care if someone has to push you to do it or if you can make yourself do it on your own; just go do it. With repetition, you’ll desensitize yourself to the pain and the fear will go away.

Imagine this if you live in a city. You cross busy roads every day. This could actually be life threatening. A car may run you over. But are you afraid to cross roads? I don’t know about you, but I’m not afraid of doing that one single bit. Why? Because I have been doing it so long, I am completely desensitized to it now. You can apply the same principal to any activity you fear.

Emerson’s quote will be of help here.

“Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.”

I’ll leave you with this.

Accept the fear, trust your undiscovered strength and do the thing.

Till next time,
VR.

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Your Death is Near

The fear of death is irrational.

I can understand the fear of the pain preceding death but the fear of death itself, that is foolish. Death is rest. Who fears rest? Death is bliss. It is the only constant in existence.

Maybe you think that you will have some regrets before death. I don’t. I don’t have any regrets with my life up until this point. I have made mistakes, I have been foolish. I have been diffident, I have lied, I have even shoplifted once (damn childhood ;P). This may not compare with some of you outlaws out there, but each one of us has different scales. You only have regrets because you don’t own yourself. You are running from yourself. You are running from the choices that you made in the past and what could have happened. I don’t care for what could have happened. I don’t even care for what did happen. Your life is happening here, now. No matter if you are a twenty-something like me writing a blog in your home or you are an eighty-nine-year-old man lying in his death bed. Real power is in ownership and the ability to create change in any aspect of one’s being. Real power is in the now.

Realize this. You have always made the decision which you thought best at the time. Hindsight can be brutally judgmental. I should have known better. I knew that answer. I wanted to do that initially, why did I change my choice at the last instant. The list goes on.

The point is, move on. Let bygones be bygones. All it takes is one little black hole and all the work that has been done by the greatest emperors and saints till now will vanish, just like that. Poof, gone. I’m not saying that their work is not important but that you should not be so stressed about always doing the right things, attain the highest levels of power, wealth and what not. Live real, be honest, and what is important for you will stay with you.

Back to death.

The problem with a lot of people is that they are not aware of their own death’s inevitability. They know that they will die someday but this knowing is cerebral, not existential. It is not a part of who they are. It is just another fact for them.

When you meditate on death and develop a close relationship with it, your life goes up a couple of notches. Daily grievances bother you less and less. You realize that all this could be gone in an instant. Your parents gone. Your children gone. Your spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend gone. Your beliefs gone. Your creations gone. Everything will be gone for you, not for the world. The world will still go on without you, no matter how important you think you are. What remains is the eternal, dark, peaceful stillness.

Meditate on death. Buddha asked all his disciples to go and watch the burning pyres of others for months till they realized their own death and were over their fear of death. Don’t keep your death far away in the future. That is a method of avoidance. Remind yourself that you may die any instant and such is the nature of all things in existence. The essence of creation is destruction. Every creation involves the destruction of some other creation and every creation will itself be destroyed.

The acceptance of death is a very important part of stoic philosophy. If you want to know more about that, go read some great stoic philosophers such as Seneca.

Till next time.

Be Real, Know Death, Be Free.

Your man
-Vik