What is Fear?
I wrote this a few months ago, but wanted to share it to this blog as well. The original post can be found here.
This is what happens when you listen to "The Power of Now" on the way to the horse show. Audio books for the win!
“You’re riding like you don’t trust your mare.”
“I don’t," came the instinctive reply without pause.
“Then get out of the tack,” came an even faster reply.
“It’s not that you don’t trust your mare. You don’t trust yourself. That’s a very big difference.”
“The reason that is different is most importantly that your lack of trust and belief in yourself is a manifestation of fear. Fear that you aren’t good enough, fear that you aren’t fast enough, that you didn’t work hard enough, that you aren’t do it correctly, that you are not as good as those around you, etc etc.”
“Yes. I am afraid.”
"No, you’re not afraid. You have fear. Your words are important."
This is a limitation of the English language. In French or Spanish, one would say, “I have hunger” not “I am hungry”. I have thirst, not, I am thirst. I have anxiety, not, I am anxiety. I have fear, not, I am fear. We are not defined by the emotions or sensations that we have. Those are external, therefore do not define our being or inherent spirit.
This is crucial because once you realize that an emotion you are feeling is not inherent to your being, it becomes something “outside of yourself” that you can observe. From there you can say, ok, so anxiety is something I feel that is not inherent to my being. So what is it?
If anxiety is something you feel, it is an emotion. An emotion is a physical and mental response or manifestation to a thought. Then you can take that a step further and say, what thought caused this reaction? I feel anxious because I fear I am not good enough. Now you can take that anxiety and put it in a little box outside of yourself and tell it, the anxiety doesn’t matter, because now you realize it is the thought of fear that was creeping into your mind and ego.
When you realize that your fear is just your ego playing havoc with your being, it all becomes much easier to work through. You can re-center on what is “inside” versus the ego-based “outside” reactions. Once you recognize fear as the root cause, it no longer has a hold of your ego.
It’s like hearing a weird noise in the dark. That unknown sound is terrifying. Your emotions and your body are instantly in fight or flight mode, every muscle straining with anticipation. Once you realize that weird noise is your dog chewing on a pair of your shoes, the noise loses power over you. You instantly relax and may even laugh at your physical reaction from something so silly.
In recognition, you gain awareness.
Just sit with that a minute. Typing it and reading this makes it seem complicated, but it really isn’t. The beauty of this realization is that it is profoundly simple. That is why it is challenging.
Take a breathe. Listen to your horse’s hoofbeats, breathe into your rhythm. Realize that this is all part of the learning experience. That riding horses will always show you a reflection of your own sense of being and allow it to be such. Breathe into your emotions and focus on recognizing what your “inner rider” is telling you rather than allowing the external negatives to become your experience.
How many of you can relate to this self-talk? Feel free to share your experiences and be open to support from those around you. We are all in this together.