Here’s the thing about fear. It’s fear until it’s not. In the moment of fear, time ceases to exist. Seconds can feel like hours, and the pain like it will continue forever. The truth is, our perception of reality only lasts as long as it interests the mind. If something more compelling comes along, we forget the fear, and we move on to a more empowered sense of reality.
As we grow, we learn how to return to source when we are lost. We learn how to ask for what we need and how our needs will be answered. However, we often abandon this pratice as we become adults. We reason through questions and think we must research or even guess the answers. Using logic is a primal mechanism of convergent thinking. The issue with convergent thinking is that it comes to conclusions accessing only the information to which you have been exposed. While this can work for simple issues, in an ever-changing world, it often leaves us with solutions that only work some of the time.
To create divergent, or creative thinking processes, many people rely on a “Higher Power,” however they define it. We’ll talk about the source of this higher power as we continue our exploration, but before we do that, I would like to look at using our higher power as a resource. Our subject has worked years developing this resource. She is comfortable with her means of communication and can return to it at a moment’s notice. It is something she practices every day of her life. When it comes to food choices and which exit to take on the freeway; when I she hears a bump in the night or wants to know if a price is fair. Whether it is asking if it is wise to have an extra hour of sleep when she is tired or if there will be enough gas in the car to make it to the next town, she turns to “Spirit” and she trust what she is given, to the extent that she can.
“Guides,” as she calls them can come in a number of ways. They might be a famous spiritual master, an ancestor, or a friend. They could be living or deceased. The key is, they come as a teacher and they are there to teacher her how to recognize and accept support.
As in early development for children, our first task before exploring new possibilities in the world around us, is to get support from that world. We must be fed and clothed and guided toward this new life and this guidance must come from outside of us before it can come from within. Like small children, there are a multitude of messages coming to us at any one moment. Suggestions from the subconscious mind are constant but we often get so busy with our grown up lives that we don’t always consider the information. We might miss moments of inspiration designed to help us overcome a limitation or move beyond the social survival models. This moment, for our subject, is about realizing she never needs to do anything alone. Even with her extensive communication experience, she still doesn’t think of it. She is so trained to solve her own problems that she doesn’t look around to see if there might be someone who can help.
The grandfathers of her vision, her ancestors, appear to her as trees, each unique in presentation and in their message for. She is quick to build dialogue. Now, is the time to trust in there being an aspect either deep within her or inherently surrounding her that can not only see the bigger picture, but can effect her physical safety as well. As she has developed this relationship, she is learning to not only begin trusting the world more, but also her ability to move through it. This is about not scrambling through a hundred conversations with people in her life who may or may not know the entire picture of her experience. This is about building a deeper communication with her own soul, to answer the simple and sometimes complicated questions she faces every day.
I spent some time recently examining my belief on intuitive thought. I wondered; where does intuition come from? As I spent time with the thought, I came to believe Intuition is the Voice of our True Self. I think it is the deepest essence of our being, telling us the truth of who we are. This is how that deepest essence of who we are sees us. Whether you believe the same or if you believe there is another source for our intuition, this is the story of who we are. When we are born, we know this perfection. We know what we want to say to the world, but the rules of safety often negate it. In the end, our subconscious mind will always suggest safety. It is the nature of all animals to repeat what has kept them safe in the past and this is wise. Safety equals life.
We do not want to remove that instinct. We are not here to ‘take risk.’ We are here to change our definition of threat. Right now, you only know what you have been taught. Whether it was the experiences of your life or the things you adopted through genetics, how far you step into the world will always be determined by how safe you feel.
So, how do we overcome our limitations if the prevailing mechanisms of our body drive us toward them? We must reject the suggestion, but we must do it without threatening the system. Unless you have something or someone help you navigate the change, this can be tricky.
So what happens in a situation like the one our subject faced? Being able to talk ourselves out of fear or pain, or any experience we consider reality happens at the brain level, not the nerve ending level. Even physical pain is regulated in the brain. The simple act of awareness reduces the fight-or-flight mechanism. It lessens pain, and fear. As a mentioned, the brain only stay invested until it finds something it would rather do. In the same way a deep breath can trick the mind to shift from the fight-or-flight state to the rest-and-digest, any disconnect from the story will change the fight-or-flight message in the brain.
Mindfulness meditation is a perfect example of shifting the brain from one mechanism to the other through the simple act of observation, but what becomes interesting in our focus here, is our subjects ability to hear one voice over the other while triggered.
Our subject spent much of her life alone. Even when others were present, she was not recognized as part of the group. Through her own doing and the people around her, she was excluded from intimate, secure relationships. The process of inspired communication became a process of finding a new parent. Is it real? It’s as real as her fear and it’s consistently improved her experience of life. When she asks, she knows the answer is there and not only that, the answer is profound, inspiring and continually propels her life forward.
Her communication tools help her recognize what is important at any given moment, and it is wisdom she has not been taught. Regardless of their origins, the messages she is receiving, the messages most people experience in her situation are receiving, are life altering. How do we know? How is the information received, at a physical level? Does it matter?
Fritz Perls said, “Fear is just excitement without breath.” I love this idea. I spent most of my life holding my breath and I didn’t even realize it, but now, I notice. Now, I see; when I am afraid, I stop breathing.
There are often times in our life where the potential for something new can feel terrifying, though in its nature, it is no real threat to our safety and well-being. In fact, it could be something very good for us and still, it can feel overwhelming and beyond our control. In these moments, when I feel stress or tension or outright terror; in these moments where there is no real threat to my safety, but I am afraid anyway, I simply stop and I breathe. I stop and I take one deep breath. Then, I take two or three if I need it and I allow my fear to become excitement, for what might be. I watch my mind shift from what might go wrong to what might go right. It seems a simple thing, but it is profoundly transformational.
In my past, I was controlling. I thought I knew the way everything should happen and if I could just get it to happen my way, everything would be good. Now, I’ve come to know a different picture. In this process, I was becoming something new. The dreams of my past did not serve me here. I had to tell myself; those that do, they will survive the veil and find themselves in my new stories as well, but it was not for me to take them there. I knew; if I could just put them aside for just a little while, maybe I could see beyond them to something even more magnificent.
It is this willingness that opened the mind of our subject enough to transform her existence. Little more than surrender is required. To just be willing to see is all we truly need. Some have it naturally, others must put in a bit of work, but it is available to all of us if we are willing to let go… of what? Of everything, we think we already know. That’s the hard part.