Sunday, April 21, 2013

Fear and the Everyday Mind

Fear and the Everyday Mind: Fear is a force to be reckoned with there is no doubt about it. There is hardly anyone alive on this planet that does not to some extent have to contend with fear. I want to be clear as to what I mean by the word fear. Fear is a psychological state which has nothing to do with real world danger. If you are walking down the street and a man jumps out and sticks a gun in your face, you could say you would react with fear. However what happens in such a situation is really a biological reaction to danger, it’s the fight or flight response, and all animals have this to some extent. It’s natural and part of the survival mechanism of the species. Usually in an acute life threatening situation, the mind and its thought processes freeze and we are thrust intensely into present moment reality as the body forces us to deal with the immediate crisis.

However unlike any other animal human beings project a label on the intense energy of the danger response and call it fear. The problem with this is we create a mental/emotional entity called fear which we then experience in relationship to imagined situations that have nothing to do with any real world event. We might fear that we will be robbed on the way home or that we could be fired tomorrow, even though in the moment neither of these things is happening, we feel a low level danger response. A mental construct is connected to a biophysical response which gives a feeling of reality to the imagined situations we fear. They seem real because we feel some of the same physical response to them as we do to a real world threat. Low level fear is often referred to as anxiety, and you could say that almost all of us experience some level of anxiety regardless of our life situation.

So why does the mind do this? It is an extremely dysfunctional way of existing as it distorts the experience of life and puts the body under much unnecessary stress. But that’s my point right there, the everyday mind is fueled by fear and its counterpart, lack. The mind is often fearing some kind of internal or external threat or it’s in fear of not having what it wants whether that’s money, sex, love or a material object. It’s a process of continual fear and deprivation. At times this may not be apparent when things seem to go well, but it’s just that these things are operating under the surface and so aren’t as easily noticed. But again why does the mind do this?

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