Transforming Fear: The Spiritual Perspective
By Baba Shuddhaanandaa Brahmachari
Embrace Your Fearless Nature
It is natural to be fearful. However, it is more natural to conquer fear. In truth, by nature, we are fearless. But in the modern rush, rush of life our mind has forgotten its intrinsic fearless essence.
Fear is born in this cloud of unconsciousness; fear is a monster created in our undisciplined minds. Fear is like the weeds in our backyard, which grow without any care. If our mind is not nourished by Divine, positive thoughts it becomes the ground on which the weeds of fear grow rampant.
Though our soul’s natural tendency is to expand, fear causes it to shrink and contract. Fear is a profound, negative emotion that creates a very deep impression on the subconscious layer of our mind, making it difficult to erase its impact. Fear haunts us like a ghost, robbing us of the positive charm of life.
Trust in the Divine
At its root, fear comes from not trusting in the Universal forces that are infinitely powerful and protective of those who surrender with love. So, one has to recondition the mind to embrace the Divine. Nurture the mind. Empower the mind. Enlighten the mind to get rid of these weeds and ghosts of the past and of the mind.
An empowered, enlightened mind is a state of Yoga in the truest sense. It yokes us, uniting us with the One, with that which is beyond fear, beyond anxieties, beyond all troubles and tribulations, beyond all fear and negativity. Cultivating our positive, empowered, enlightened mind is the basic, essential spiritual practice without which all other practices fall short.
When we dwell in trust, willingness, and appreciation of the Universal forces, when we recondition the mind to embrace the Divine, gradually we come to realize that if what we are working toward, if what we are hoping for, doesn’t happen, then God is working toward some greater beneficence through whatever does happen. We realize there is nothing to fear.
But how do you learn to trust the Divine? One first practice is to contemplate on how any experiences of fear have ultimately contributed to your turning more to the life of your spirit? What still burdens you today? If those burdens were lifted, what would you have gained from having them? How has your life been a movement from the lower to the higher, from fear to faith and trust in the Divine?
Then any time you find yourself overwhelmed with fear from within or without, simply step back into your heart. In your mind’s eye, see yourself surrounded by a circle of Divine light. Know that light will lead you to true understanding. Embrace any inspirations that come to you as you re-enter normal consciousness and make them part of your daily practice.
Resolve to redirect every fearful thought by holding it and the situation that gives rise to it in the light. Be assured, it is your connection with Divine light and love that will take care of all fear. You will be in the body, free of fear, celebrating the present moment.
Affirm often: “No fear, no doubt can survive in the shrine of my enlightened heart.”
Explore a More Spiritual Perspective
You can also overcome fear by realizing the true nature of your Soul or your Spirit. That is where the need for true spirituality comes in your life.
As we explore a more spiritual perspective we ponder our deepest questions about fear: what it is, where it comes from, and how we can conquer it. Some of us have even been taught to fear God, but how can we fear that which encompasses all, that which is Oneness itself? As we meditate on who we are, we come to find that it is our mind that is fearful, that our Soul is fearless, and that we are one with God.
If you are the fleeting, changing, restless mind, then fear will chase you wherever you go, for fear has many masks and many shades. But when you recognize that you are the Soul eternal, unborn and deathless, that you are all that is, then there is no fear.
Spirituality is the science and art of living where you dive deeper within you and cleanse your subconscious of all its collected negativity. We do this with the light of the positive power of the breath, meditation and Yoga.
Focus on Your Own Breath
Shift your consciousness from anxiety and stress to the relaxation response and spiritual mindfulness by focusing on your breath. Take three deep inhalations and three deep exhalations while counting the breaths. Once you shift your mind’s focus away from the negative energy of anxiety to the positive power of your vital force (in the east called Chi or Prana), transformation begins.
Do this breathing several times a day to cleanse your mind and your body of any negative attack. Fill your mind with thoughts of gratitude for the wonderful gifts that you have received in life and open yourself to the grace available in the present moment.
Conscious breathing helps you to slow down your racing thoughts that cause the stress. When you are tense about some thing that is fearful, a train of thoughts flood your mind and you are completely lost in these negative thoughts.
By practicing the breathing exercises along with regular meditation, you create a much-needed pause, allowing you the time to watch your mind and its tendencies.
Clear the Clutter from your Mind
Your mind is a space. In its natural state, it is pristine, open, luminous, at one, in a constant state of celebration with the Infinite creative energies of the Universe.
If you are unable to celebrate, if you are filled with fear, if you are constantly in the grip of stress, it is because your mind is occupied. There is no space for celebration in a cluttered mind.
The more you meditate on your positive gifts, power and strengths in life, the more you will experience a release of the old, unwanted clutter from your mind, including fear.
The space that is created will be filled with power from the Higher World that will empower you to look in the eyes of fear with non-blinking eyes of fearlessness. Believe me, once you do this, fear will run away from you.
Don't feed fear with thoughts of fearfulness. Let the fear die from hunger. Resolve to divert your thoughts of fear and its energy by focusing on more positive, achievable things of life.
Know that fear is the trick of your mind that holds on to the shadow of egotistical life. Hold fast to the positive and powerful thoughts of fearlessness, which is the Mind Essence. Expanding your Mind Essence moves you toward Yoga, the One.
Be in Yoga
Resolve not to surrender to the random fearful, negative thoughts and uplift your mind with your own mind to yoke or unite with the Higher Mind or the Divine in your heart. As you open up to the continual Divine forces at play all the time, you connect to the Higher Power and feel a sense of peace and assurance.
Watch your breath and mind. Let the mind finally dissolve in the natural rhythm of the breath, which is the manifested Spirit. The Divine is ever taking care of you; you are stressed when you are separated from this Divine source. Be in Yoga; be in the remembrance of the Divine and All Is Well.
You can't be truly happy until you recognize that you are Universal and not a separated, limited, isolated person on earth. The more you realize this interconnectedness and how the universe works in its own rhythm and balance, the more you will endeavor to offer yourself toward this universal rhythm.
All your activities will be not to promote your individual ego and stamp your individuality on earth, but to offer your contribution to the Universal flow of life. All your struggles of success and failures come to an end with this. You are no longer haunted by fear or stressfulness, but are calm and contented.
In this centered peaceful state, wake up to your fearless essence and roar like a lion in the midst of lambs to proclaim the power of your Soul that is the One, the single reality in this whole existence.
Baba Shuddhaanandaa Brahmachari is a spiritual teacher and social visionary from Calcutta, India. He founded Lokenath Divine Life Mission. His Mission runs street schools for homeless children, provides free medical care and fosters micro-credit self-help groups for women. He is author of Making Your Mind Your Best Friend, and presents his stress management program worldwide. www.feelinghearts.org