Sunday, October 23, 2005

Fear

Having not been very inspired lately, I've been going through what most writers would call "Writers' Block". Basically, I just don't know what to write on my blog, so you might have noticed some days when I simply say nothing at all. Well, tonight I've paid a visit to Paul Lambert's blog, and I've found something on his blog that I want to write about: Fear.

While I do not have a debilitating fear of snakes, bugs, heights, tunnels, etc., I do have some fears that are related to my future; fears that I've had for quite some time. These may be seen as minor insecurities to some, but to me, they seem to make the difference between life and death.

What are my fears? I fear that someday I might not have a roof over my head. I'm afraid someday something might happen to me and I won't be able to work. I'm afraid, after working for more than three years at the same place, that I won't be made a permanent employee. (I'm on a contract right now.) I'm afraid if I don't get made permanent that I'll have to go through another interview. It all boils down to that interview. I'm terrified of interviews. I know if I lose my job I could get another job somewhere else, but it's that interview that I have to have that scares me. I'm also afraid of change. I like the way things are now. I like where I sit at work. I've been offered a chance to move, but I wanted to stay right where I was. I think I'm afaid of change because if I do decide to change something, I might not like it and therefore won't be able to go back to the way things were beforehand. Most change is enforced upon me, and therefore I don't have much choice.

Recently I was offered a big change at work. I took it. For eight months I was a terribly unhappy person. I regretted making the decision. Lucky for me, this time I was blessed with the option of making things the way they were beforehand. But I might not be that lucky again. Because of that eight-month time period, I find change petrifying.

I think all this fear is yet another obstacle on my course to enlightenment.

I wish I could say I had a moral to this story, but I don't. What I'd like to ask you is this: What are you most afraid of? How do you face your fears?

23 comments:

Red Bark said...

Hello Stacey,

Your fears sound very familiar to me. I often feel anxiety about loosing my job or not having a place to live and interviews.

Lately I have had some success at recongizing these thoughts when they occur and returning my attention to the present(where they can not exist).

Regarding interviews, I hope that neither you nor I ever have to go to another one, but there are some psychological tricks that can be used to make it easier.

Last time I interviewed I reminded myself that it is just a matter of statistics. :)

Once you have gone to the right number of interviews then you will run into the right situation. The interviewer will like you, he will be having a good day, you will be the most qualified candidate etc. With this attitude I do not feel so much of a burden. I just keep going to interviews without the need to "make" it happen because I know that eventually it will happen all by itself(which it did).
(I could say more but it is a bit off topic)

Anyway, this type of fear is completly worthless. We do not want it but it comes to us unbidden. This is proof that we are not conscious, that our thoughts happen to us without any intention on our part.

Vino said...

Hi Stacey,

Fear is thinking of the moment which you are yet to face. And ofcourse its after effects.

I too have fears. I evolved in a way right from childhood. Day by day. I had a tough personal life which hasn't recovered till date. In a course of time I didnot feel healed but I never stopped to live.

I grew faster and higher in energy level so that the fear seemed smaller. I developed some habits gradually which helped me a lot. I keep a big genuine smile when I smile and I mean it. I shower affection to whoever I meet very genuinely. But I make sure no one gets too close to me. Coz getting too close can hurt me and them. Well thats me. So I am not suggenting you do that thing. I am just telling what I did.

The universal truth is Everyone has fears. Fears of the moments that never happened. I suggest why to waste even a single moment thinking about something that has not happened? So live it till you come across.

One good thing about religions are. It says God will give you situations but so will he give you the power of facing it.
There is some saying which says. Every bird and animals gets fed each day. We are supposed to be the images of god. Why not we ?

Stop expecting the best in each moment. Stop Expecting. And hence you will start living the moments as they come. So even when the worst your fears come true, you will figure out a way to get beyond it.

Interviews are child's play. Its a game of manipulation. I will say. Manipulate the manipulator before the manipulator manipulates you.

Ofcourse one should be good at marketing what he has got. Interview is just marketting. Every product sells. Its the duty of the manufacturer to check and improve the quality and ably market it in the interview.

-Vino

Castor said...

"I think all this fear is yet another obstacle on my course to enlightenment."
If I may express my opinion:
I think fear is the way to enlightenment.
What is fear?
Fear, I'm afraid, is one of our most important survival instincts. Being afraid therefore doesn't necessarily mean being morbidly selfish and being cowardly.
We all want to live and survive
and even become immortal, if possible.
Fear is one of the basic elements of our ego. We are fear itself.
Without fear, we are really nothing but machines, like computers and robots that mindlessly do what they have been programmed to do. Fear is what keeps us from doing the most stupid thing there is to do. Self-destruction and killing.
So what has this to do with enlightenment?
As I just stated, we are fear itself. I am fear. You are fear. This means we are not separate from fear. Fear is not something we feel or try not to feel. Whether we feel it or not, we are fear. We are afraid of dying, of getting sick, of losing our means of livelihood, of losing our loved ones and friends, etc. We don't always feel this. But fear is always there. And we think we should get rid of it. We don't want to feel it or have it. We don't want to be afraid. We don't want to be fear. We want to be free from fear. Isn't it?
So how do we become free from fear?
It is impossible! There is only one possibility. To live with it.
Or to be it. What happens when we do this? What happens when we don't run away from fear, or try to overcome fear? When we remain what we are, being fear.
Then there would be no more conflict with fear or with ourselves. There will be no more suppression of fear. There is only fear, which is us. When this happens, there is no longer wasting of energy that comes from conflict and suppression. There is just fear. And no fear of fear itself. Then fear becomes natural and healthy. Then fear just comes and goes. It doesn't become morbid
and depressing. It's just some nice feeling of having lots of energy to meet our needs and problems. Fear then becomes a healthy way of dealing with difficult situations.
To find this out, you have to try it. Be fear. Live with it. Live with yourself without suppression and conflict. Feel the energy of fear, which is you. Know it and know yourself. Do something that will make you feel alive. Do something extraordinary and challenging. Do some bungy jumping, skydiving, whatever, to feel that rush of energy. Anything to be yourself.
Let's not be afraid of being afraid. This is freedom from fear of fear. And fear will find it's right place.

Change said...

There is nothing wrong in liking the way things are (especially if your life is perfect), but there is certainly nothing wrong in aspiring for a change - as long as you, yourself, know what you want. A change can be a tremendous relief when you are prepared for the change and also have a certain control over the events affecting your life.

What am I most afraid of? Loosing the love and respect of the the people I love, -other than that I don't think I fear anything (I'm old enough to recognize fear as a stubborn, self-inflicted ghost). I can of course be scared, occationally, should the situation be of such a nature, but not for very long. As you well know, scare and fear are your own worst enemies.

Remember always, the person in front of you during an interview (I've been that person many times), is not more intelligent than yourself, he (she) is maybe a lesser person, but has the tools and the power to decide over your immediate future. But you can beat them at their game, be prepared, well prepared, and tell yourself that "if they don't want me, they certainly don't deserve me".

On enlightenment, I sincerely think that all your fear may well be an obstacle. But this is an obstacle you can overcome, with all your hard work.

Sophia said...

Hi Beard,

It seems you and I have a lot of similaries, actually.

I do think your method is worthwhile. I have tried sometimes to focus on the here and now, but it never fails that my mind starts worrying about little things. You know about my silly fear - that my stomach will growl right in the middle of an interview! That's how crazy my fears get down to. If only I could learn to ignore these thoughts.

I agree with you. I hope neither of us has to go through another interview. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that somehow the government can fit me in their budget. :)

Sophia said...

Hi Vino,

I liked all you had to say, but one thing really stood out that I feel a great kinship with: The ability to genuinely smile at others and shower them in affection. This is how I've lived most of my life. The good news is that it comes naturally for me. There were times when I thought it a curse. A few people would tell me that I was too nice. I have never heard of such a thing. How can someone be too nice? But then I learned, that you can get too close to someone. So close that when the parting time comes, it hurts.

On the other subject, you are right. Worrying about things that may never happen can simply be a waste of time! It seems as though there is not enough time in life as it is, so why should we waste the time we do have? I'll have to try to remember this lesson. :)

Sophia said...

Hi Castor,

I can't quite say that I'll ever be rid of enough fear to go bungie-jumping or sky diving. :) I will say that fear does have a way of making me feel more alive. But for me it is mostly uninvited. I choose to find other ways of making myself feel alive, like taking walks in the woods for example.

I find it might be difficult to walk hand-in-hand with fear, so much so that I become one with it, but I might try walking beside it next time. :)

Sophia said...

Hi Change,

With a nickname like "Change", you have probably mastered the art a long time ago. :)

I wouldn't go so far as to say my life is perfect, however, it's safe to say I fear change will lessen the quality of the life of which I already live.

For the most part, I find change to be an enigma, because I don't know what life will be like after the change until the change has already taken place.

I made a big change in November, one that I thought I wanted, but a month or two down the road I was already lamenting my decision. I spent eight months feeling miserable all because of something I thought I had wanted. Maybe I wasn't prepared for it. I'm not entirely sure what led to my regret, though.

Your advice for interviewing is very good advice. I can use that if there happens to be an interview I need to go to. (I hope that doesn't happen, though!) I've also heard it been said that I can imagine a duck sitting on their head, and that will make me feel a lot better. But then I run the risk of laughing. :)

Something about interviews causes me to lose my train of thought. I get in the room and I turn into silly putty. My sentences probably do not make sense and my body is extremely tense, so tense it's visibly noticeable. I thought some years ago that it would go away as I got older, but alas, it hasn't. :(

Thank you for your response. Hope you're having a good day (or night, depending on where you are).

Paul said...

Stacey, I'm glad I inspired you to tackle a problem. I wish I had answers but this problem can't be solved with simple answers. I think knowledge, effort on your part and time may help.

I'm going to throw out some ideas. I hope they provide food for thought.

I learned long ago that fear was worse than the actual situation. I worried ahead of time and then had to face whatever I was worried about. After the experience I looked back and discovered the fear was the worst part.

I'll be 59 soon. This means I've had many opportunities to experience fearful or stressful situations. I've discovered my fears were unfounded. The world hasn't ended. Now, I ask myself "What's the worst that can happen?" Over 99% of the time the answer is "Nothing but a little inconvenience."

Concerning interviews, experience helps. With this in mind, arrange interviews with friends or appropriate organizations and get some experience. After a few interviews ask that the pressure be increased. You'll gain confidence and the real interview will be a breeze.

Concerning change. I view life as an adventure. I like change and challenge so it's easy for me to accept change. Even though you don't enjoy change, you'll have to confront it. The world is changing and we can't stop the change or control it. You might consider making small changes in various areas of your life as a means of exercising your "change" muscle. After a while, change shouldn't seem so scary or unpleasant.

Here's the most important thing to consider. You don't face life alone. You have family and friends. More people than you realize are there for you.

Your questions were what do we fear most and how do we face it. My greatest fear is losing my wife. If she died I would want to die also. How do I face it? By enjoying every day and every moment with her. How will I cope with it if the time ever comes that I lose her? I don't know. It will be pure hell. I do know that I'm not going to spoil the present with her by worrying about a future without her.

I wish you the best!

Red Bark said...

Stacey,

Growling stomach? That is not much to worry about. That would not affect my decision to hire someone. I worry(unjustly) that they will find out that I am the most unqualified candidate ever.

Yes we have much in common, but I will never be as nice as you. :)

It is good if you notice when your mind start to wander. Usually we are too asleep even to notice this.

Just keep trying(to be in the here and now) and gradually you will become stronger. Then someday you will be the master of yourself!

Blogger said...

Hi Stacey,

I wrote this in my blog but I thought I would post it here


In my wallet I carry a card, the size of a standard business card.

One one side it says "Am I Afraid?"

On the other it says "Its all an Adventure"

Two reminders that enable me to remain mindfull and aware at all times.



Now this my sound like a bit of new age claptrap but it is amazing how powerfull something like this can be when you find yourself falling into the same fear based mind traps and "what if" scenarios.

utenzi said...

You're right Stacey. While fear is an essential part of the human condition, excessive fear--which you definitely have--is a serious stumbling block for higher consciousness. It won't be easy, but you have to learn ways of dealing with fear, or better yet, eliminating it from your mind entirely.

Bob said...

Fear and anger are two sides of the same coin I have been told. It is very human to experience both. The important thing is to make sure one does not surrender to them too much.
For myself I feel that life is so UNPREDICTABLE that there is no point in worrying about the future.

Blow'n in the wind said...

Who fears, the ego or the Self ?
And what dies when there is "loss" or "failure" ?

Red Bark said...

blow'n in the wind

It is the ego that fears and the ego that is deflated by loss, however the soul is the real looser because the the ego uses fear to lure the soul aware from the present.

Sophia said...

Hi i_wonder,

Thanks for your wise words. Reading them I begin to realize that what it takes is effort. Oh no, did we say "effort"? I think I always expect to get by in this world without having to put effort into anything. I just stand by and wait for things to come to me freely. But, that won't help me win in the game of Life. I might just barely get by, but I won't be tremendously successful.

You mentioned something else that I think really helps. I do have people in this lifetime - family and friends - who walk with me. So I am not alone. I can take comfort in knowing that although I'm physically sitting in the interviewers room alone, there are people with me in heart.

Besides, what am I doing worrying? Who knows... it just might be that I never need to go to another interview again. I could be worrying for nothing.

I think it's wonderful that you love your wife so much. That to me sounds like true love. It's hard to find these days.

Sophia said...

Beard,

You are nice. I haven't heard a negative word come from your mouth the entire time I've known you. (How long have I known you now, by the way?)

Hey, it would be nice if I was too asleep to notice my fears. :)

Sophia said...

nondualreality,

That is a handy card to carry around! I think I'll make myself one, too. I believe I do need little reminders like that to help me recall that all of this is just part of a larger adventure. The interview (or other fears) is not the entire game, it's just one little piece, and if it goes wrong, it doesn't necessarily mean the entire Game will go wrong. :)

Sophia said...

Utenzi,

That is going to take a whole lot of practice! :)

Sophia said...

Rob,

Hi there. You're right. Maybe there is no point! I've sure seen some proof that life is unpredictable!

Sophia said...

Blow'n,

It's definitely the ego that fears, and the ego that dies when there is loss or failure. But must we always have loss or failure in order to kill the ego? Doesn't loss or failure also sometimes only enhance the ego through suffering?

Blow'n in the wind said...

I'd say it depends on whether you make an identity out of your suffering?

Isn't every loss therefore an opportunity to discover what dies, in actuality (non-theoretically) ?

Are we aware AT ALL when we are fearing a possible future event ?

An interview sounds the one of the greatest events you could wish for ?

Castor said...

Forget about the previous chatter I wrote.
From another perspective, you can overcome fear by taking every opportunity that presents itself to get used to anxiety, nervousness, or fear.
In my daily life, at work, at home, and often in bed I experience some mild anxiety about a lot of things; it used to be worse some time ago. These moments are the little precious moments I take to acquiant myself with or feel my "angsten", which are nothing but my thoughts about a lot of things and what might happen in the future. Since the degree of anxiety is quite less than what I would normally experience in certain situations, they are quite bearable. The point is not to do anything about them. Just feel or notice them, without fighting, controlling, or running away from your fears. Be passively aware. You'll get used to it.
When it's time for the real thing, you won't feel a thing.
Your mind and body are conditioned enough to take the worst shots.
I think it's a matter of building some tolerance to stress and anxiety. When you watch and ignore fear it loses its power.