"The greater part of human pain is unnecessary. It is self-created as long as the unobserved mind runs your life." -- Eckhart Tolle
When I came across Eckhart Tolle's quote a few weeks ago, I was reminded how profound and influential Mr. Tolle has been in encouraging modern culture to embrace the power of now, which is also the title of his book. Tolle encourages the idea of staying 100 percent in the present moment and to be mindful in thought and action to avoid human pain. The past is over and the future is an illusion.
Which mind runs your life? The unobserved, unconscious mind? Or the conscious present mind?
What you choose to think about and how you choose to behave is your choice. And your choice is important because you are acknowledging that you are willing to take personal responsibility for your happiness, for your destiny and for reaching your human potential.
Taking responsibility for what you can control even in the face of fear is by no means an easy journey. It involves being resilient and conscious about your emotional state, your surroundings and how you affect others.
Fear prevents you from assuming responsibility for your thoughts and actions. It's relatively easy to give in to fear because fear translates into resistance. Resistance comes from negative self-talk: Resistance says, "don't go there," "don't take another look," don't go into the unknown." Resistance takes away your spirit and causes you to be less than you were born to be.
In theory, you know that fear is an irrational state of being. So, if it is irrational, then why are you fearful? Perhaps fear is a recognition that you have not fully and willingly accepted yourself. So, you resist and create artificial boundaries to stay in that familiar place of resisting.
It's common knowledge that some degree of fear is healthy because fear is your body's built-in defense mechanism and keeps you safe from harm. However, when fear becomes a barrier that prevents you from growing and transforming your life, it is clear that fear is connected to everything that controls positive decisions and truthful behavior.
The key to breaking the fear barrier is to seek balance in your life -- balance derived from values based on beliefs and heart centered thinking and behavior. The heart is a compass. And fear is the inhibitor of that compass. If balance is a state mind or a feeling rather than something that can be measured, you are able to take responsibility for what you can control, even in the face of fear.
Feel the fear and don't run away from it; and then go and do what you fear.
Here are five suggestions to break the barrier of fear:
1.What's the worst that can happen?
Try to image what would be the worst possible outcome of your fears and write it down. Not only does admitting your fear lessen it's impact, but writing down your fears also makes your mind more analytical. You might possibly see how you've made your story up to fit a fantasy conclusion. Writing down your fears can give you incite into what causes anxious feelings. As you begin to recognize the fear for what it is -- imaginary anxiety -- give it a name, like Tootsie or Fred. And then make Tootsie and Fred your friends.
2. Control your story by changing your story.
A technique to control your story about your fear is to journal. Journaling tracks your story; journaling tracks your story and gives you an opportunity to change it. Title your story -- even create dialogue between you and your fears. Use your values, beliefs and vulnerabilities to guide you along the path of emotional, social and spiritual health. As you express your feelings, own them with an open heart. You can even laugh at your fears and make fun of them. Most importantly, don't continue to tell your fear stories to others because they've heard your stories more times than they can count. As long as you keep telling your story, fear will reside within.
3. Make small intentions.
A smart way to get rid of fear and bring your life back into balance, live healthy and age well is to make small intentions throughout the day to simply be yourself in the present as Joseph Campbell writes in is book, Pathways to Bliss. One of my yoga teachers suggested making intentions for short periods of time because goals can be thought of as achievements instead of actually living in the moment as Tolle and Campbell suggest. Create your intentions within your immediate and natural environment, and through your own process of discovery, true purpose will follow.
4. Control your Imagination.
Using your imagination is crucial to creating your life; but uncontrolled imagination can be your adversary. When you are daydreaming, when you are mindlessly thinking about your own struggles with life, your imagination can run amock. "If he/she doesn't love me anymore, what am I going to do?" This kind of self-talk distorts your feeling and creates made up, unfounded anxiety. Negative thinking caused by run-away imagination is a barrier to a healthy state of mind. Shift your mindset away from fears to positive outcomes.
5. Breathe through your fears and meditate.
All of the literature that addresses controlling your fears and anxieties suggest a breathing and meditation practice. As your breath becomes deeper, you are more able to control fears and anxieties. Deep breathing reaches deep into the body's core and reduces stress and relaxes your mind. You will find yourself squarely in the present moment. Watch your breath and make it your go-to best friend. Fearful thoughts will recede and your balance and happiness will take center stage in your life.
Human pain is unnecessary. With a practice of conscious responsibility, you can overcome your fears by facing them with honesty and resilience every time they come your way. It's time to break the barriers of fear, let go of excuses, take off your suit of armor and live a fearless, balanced, and healthy life.
Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you or makes you happy.
Joan Moran is a keynote speaker, commanding the stage with her delightful humor, raw energy, and wealth of life experiences. She is an expert on wellness and is passionate about addressing the problems of mental inertia. A yoga instructor and an Argentine tango dancer, Joan is the author is "Sixty, Sex, & Tango, Confessions of a Beatnik Boomer." Visit her at www.joanfrancesmoran.com.
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