Breadcrumbs to the absolute
Fear, the most dangerous contagion
A contagion is spreading around the world. The speed with which it is spreading is unprecedented in human history. I’m not talking about a physical virus. I’m talking about a much more powerful contagion; that contagion is fear.
Fear can help us survive an impending threat but when it lingers as a chronic state of anticipation of future outcomes it loses any practical benefit and creates unnecessary suffering. Fear is problematic when we are in constant fight, flight, or freeze responses that release hormones and stress chemicals that eventually lead to real sickness. So what is the cure for fear? Practices such as meditation and self-inquiry can lead to less identification with the ego- less craving and aversion that creates suffering. There’s a saying in the meditation world: “pain is inevitable but suffering is optional.” Life is bound to bring pain but how much we suffer is directly related to how much we resist the experience in the present moment.
Using mindfulness meditation techniques we can practice turning our attention away from the thoughts themselves and towards what is actually happening in the moment. Meditation also cultivates our capacity to be okay with our experiences even when they’re unpleasant. We can do this through simple techniques. For example by bringing our focus to actual somatic feelings of fear in the body. Investigate the sensations that are arising and passing away What does fear actually feel like in the body?
Maybe there’s a sinking feeling in the belly the contraction of breathing, sweating palms or maybe a pressure or tingling in the solar plexus. Meditation is not an easy cure or a quick fix but through commitment to this or any practice that helps us to be fully open and present with our experience, we can enjoy freedom from fear even amongst life’s greatest challenges.