I recently read a perfect acronym for F.E.A.R: Forget Everything And Run.
The story of my life. We live in a time when we are always connected and always expected to respond instantly to every little tweet, text, and status update. We exist in a heightened and anxious state. This might make us more efficient. But when it comes to the big, grand, overarching life challenges (ie fear), efficiency is not usually the answer. The yogis would tell you that the only way to deal with fear is to slow down, stare it in the eyes, and move through it.
Following are 3 tips for getting a handle on your fear, whether it relates to money, love, health, anything:
1. SHIFT YOUR MIND
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Wayne Dyer
In his book Savor, Buddhist monk Thich Naht Hanh explains that in the Buddhist tradition, you cannot experience change in your life until your experience insight in the mind. Whether you want to lose weight, find love, or conquer fear, there has to be a mental shift. In other words, try to step back from the bump and grind and allow yourself the chance to see the world differently. There’s a story of a guy on a train who sees the infamous Picasso. This guy is not starstruck and decides to challenge Picasso. So he says to Picasso, “Why is your art so weird? Why don’t you paint reality?” Picasso says, “Explain reality.” The guy shows a picture of his wife. Picasso says, “She’s very small. And flat too.”
2. GET IN ALIGNMENT
“In the fight between you and the universe, back the universe.” Frank Zappa
An article in the NY Times talks about how successful entrerpreneurs tend to be hypomanic. This means they are not far from manic and have obsessive tendencies causing them to be fixated on their vision at the expense of everything else in life. In other words, these entrepreneurs have harnessed and used to their advantage a quality that could overwhelm another with fear and neuroses. I think of it this way…there’s this huge wave moving through these entrepreneurs’ inner lives. When they align themselves with the wave, they’re in for a great ride. Should they not take the time to play to their strengths, they’d be crushed by the force of their hypomanic tendencies. Sometimes we all have to look within, get a sense of which way the waves are breaking, which way the winds are blowing, and get back in alignment. Fear festers in misalignment.
3. GET YOUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT
The yogi Satchitanda tells a great story: A king asked his ministers to bring many beautiful things to a park. The King then invited his subjects into the park to take whatever their hearts desired. As the king sat on his throne in the middle of the park watching his subjects, a poor woman entered and said to the King, “But are you sure? We can take anything?” The King responds, “Anything your heart desires.” And the poor woman responds, “Then I will take you.” And from that moment, the woman took possession of the King and all of the King’s possessions, his entire Kingdom. Point being, rather than hoping for one thing or another, inner peace is the single most important possession. When you have that, you have everything. When you lack inner peace, nothing else matters.