This week, we're thinking about our fears.... not too much though, we're trying not to spook ourselves!
With Halloween around the corner and all the scary movies in our Netflix queue, we couldn't help but think of ways to prepare for all the spooky things that come around this time of year (looking at the US election climate too, but that's a different post).
We all have fears, some big and some small. Fear of rejection, fear of failure, the dark, spiders, or heights.... the encyclopedia has a long list of their scientific names too. We might even have fear around feeling certain feelings — whether it’s sadness, uncertainty, anxiety, depression, or intimacy, just to name a few.
For most of us, it’s not as easy as “feel the fear; do it anyway.” We might try to shut down or numb what we're feeling. These responses can be ingrained in our behavior patterning without us even knowing sometimes.
Meditation can help us develop the self-awareness to uncover what some of these fears might be as well as build the strength and resilience to face them. To start, we got to acknowledge that oftentimes our fears can stem from something that occurred much earlier in our life. It could be an imagined terror or a traumatic experience. It's common human subconscious behavior that we take our past terrors and project them into the future, and our minds go on the defensive preparing for a repeat. We try to avoid paid and go towards pleasure. It's natural.
So frequently, what we're fearful of is in the future. Meditation can bring us into what we hope is the relatively safe present moment and relieve some of the anxiety inducing stress, which usually is rooted in the past and the future.
Through our mindfulness practice, we can train ourselves and our minds to observe our fears with a little bit of space and remind us that what we're experiencing is a passing feeling, not who we are. We know much easier said than done, but emphasis on the word practice, here. Bringing awareness and some detachment to the feelings when they come knocking can better equip us as we learn to ride the emotional waves.
Aside from typical mindfulness training, some specific styles of meditation are commonly used to target fear and anxiety.
Qigong meditation for instance, can be used for fears and anxieties that are not currently present; such as nervousness regarding the future. Steps on this meditation can be found here.
Sunia Antar meditation, on the other hand, is best for times when our breath is already heightened and are seeking emotional balance- AKA when you're afraid of heights and are on an airplane. Read more on Sunia Antar here.
Now, go forth and conquer your fears!