What is Fear?
Most people don’t bother asking what fear is. Until I started to go into understanding myself, I didn’t either
What kind of fear am I talking about?
I’m not talking about physical fear. You know, the fear of a burning stove when it’s in front of you, or the fear of being run over by a bus as it comes speeding down the street.
What I’m talking about is psychological fear.
Sort of like the fear of the bus, but this time it’s nowhere to be seen. But thinking about this hypothetical bus, as scary as it seems, doesn’t really induce that deep fear we all struggle with, does it?
How about the fear that’s lingering while I write this?
The fear of not being good enough, or the fear of being stupid? Those fears are not really scary when we talk about them either, but they sure feel scary when we’re confronted with them.
Fear is one of the most common things in life
It’s strange, it seems like fear is one of the most common things in life and yet we have accepted it as a way of life.
We’ve gotten used to it.
I wonder why then we don’t go into it for ourselves. Not as some theory, not as some framework, not as something to write a book about.
And definitely not as some reminder on a sticky note destined to eventually lose its stickiness, fall to the ground, get stepped on and thrown away.
But to actually take the journey for yourself, going into the question of what is fear, without anyone or anything guiding you along the way.
Fear can only be understood in action
I started to see that fear effects my daily actions. From what I choose to do, to how I interact with others, and most importantly, to how I approach my life.
Sure, I can go and do things, but am I doing these things because I am free or because I am afraid of something not happening, or working out? Am I putting myself completely into what I’m doing, into who I’m interacting with, or am I thinking, worrying, or wondering in some effort to protect some part of myself?
I can’t really know until I am faced with taking action. The direction of my action will dictate if it arises out of fear or not. I think that’s where fear stems, the moment between thought and action. Fear seems to be hiding there.
So what is fear?
Is there fear while I take the action of writing this? I’m looking at it.
There is the feeling, and then there is the thought which describes the feeling. Where is the fear? What I’m describing as fear seems to come first, before the description.
So then is the feeling of what we’re calling fear, fear? Or is fear the running away from this feeling?
The feeling can’t be fear. It’s just a feeling. Sure it’s scary, uncomfortable and everything bad, but is it really what I describe it as? If I’m so close to the feeling behind the word fear, I seem to be in direct contact with it. Then it is certainly none of those scary words I’ve been using to describe it.
Now, of course I can feel the fear and take action anyway, but that doesn’t help me answer the question for myself: what is fear?