Question: I wake up every morning and this terror comes over me to the point of producing many physical symptoms. I want God's life with all my being, but I feel like I am standing on a bridge staring down into the abyss and cannot move through this. Please help.
Answer: These fearful states are being produced by parts of your body and mind that want you to desist from your wish to know something of God's life, and the freedom that comes with such grace. We all have certain "mechanisms" in us that will do whatever they can to hinder our awakening to higher impressions, and the soul stirring effect they cause, as we begin to be a bit more conscious. So, watch these fears, but do not engage yourself in what they "tell" you through whatever physical conditions they manifest. Resistance to fear is futile since the action is fear's negative reaction to itself. Break the cycle by surrendering to it; hand the whole mess over to God with the understanding that the Divine already knows what you're going through and, in fact, is actually causing these events to bring you closer to it. Persist... and you will move beyond the reach of what is now trying to wreck your life.
Question: What other way is there of dealing with panic attacks if all forms of resistance are futile?
Answer: Here's the one true solution: it is possible for us to know so much about the nature of fear that, one day, it simply runs out of ways to make us believe in its shaking.
The following three insights are designed to help us look at our old, familiar fearful reactions in a whole new way. But taken altogether, these key ideas tell the story of a whole new kind of self-understanding powerful enough to penetrate fear's protective shell -- dispelling both the feared and the fearful at once. The Light that remains is freedom.
Self-awakening, and the new order of freedom that attends it, begins within seeing through what is not real, just as freedom from the terror of a nightmare begins with discovering you've been asleep, having a bad dream.
No fact is frightening unless it runs into conflict with what we want. When this happens, the fear is not in the event, but in us -- who have decided that in order to feel secure, life must jump through our hoop. So, the fear we feel is in our hoop, not the fact that life may have jumped unexpectedly.
It is in our power to discover that who we really are has nothing to fear, but that we make ourselves fearful each time we look outside of ourselves for some power to make us feel fearless.
(The Essential Laws of Fearless Living)
Question: Why is it that when I hear some bad news, it automatically triggers panic in me? I am so stressed by these overblown reactions, and want to be able to remain calm for the sake of my health and happiness.
Answer: What if you knew that everything was all right, right now?
Wise, serene, happy, prosperous people see their lives and events differently than others do. A wise man cannot be duped or mislead. A genuinely happy woman cannot be swayed by "bad news." A prosperous individual doesn't panic over an item on the evening news or a sensational newspaper headline. These peoples' wisdom, happiness, and wealth permanently reside within, not without.
Anyone who genuinely is happy or wise is that way in every situation. He or she brings that quality everywhere he or she goes. Wisdom and happiness are that person's nature. The converse is also true: An angry or fearful person carries anger and fear everywhere and into all situations with him or her. And this explains the fact why "what you see is what you get." If we're afraid, we see the world through fear's eyes, so fear is what we experience. If we're wise, we find wisdom in what we see, and so truth is what we live.
When you change your nature you change your world. Place a happy person and a bitter person together in the same room and they experience that room in completely different ways. So where do we begin this process of changing our nature? We begin by understanding and observing our present nature and how it operates. People do not understand themselves and are their own source of constant confusion and worry. But you can learn to see your fear with new eyes that also see that you no longer have to be that fear. You can realize that you don't have to act on those worrisome, anxious thoughts; instead, you can calmly observe them without becoming them.
You are not your thoughts. You do not create your thoughts, and you do not have to obey any thought. Being a receiver of thought, just as with a radio, you have the power to turn the dial! You can wake up right in the middle of any thought that may be terrorizing you and see that's all it was: a thought. This is a marvelously freeing, uplifting, and powerful fact, and the more you learn about this, the more your own life will become what you've always desired.
Excerpted from Freedom From the Ties That Bind
Question: Is there another exercise I might work with to remember my true aim the next time panic floods through me?
Answer: The next time (and every time) you catch some negative thought or feeling that says, "I am scared," -- the first thing to do is to come wide awake to yourself. By taking the following inner action, you can deliberately snap yourself out of that dark dream that is trying to weave itself into your identity. Rather than allowing yourself to be drawn into all the reasons that have appeared in your mind to justify why you should panic, reach instead for the shelter of the present moment. Then, while knowing that this negative state is present and pressing you to identify with its little life, work as consciously as you can to drop everything in that negative declaration except for the awareness of I am.
In other words, let go of any dark definition of yourself about to be draped over you. Just stand there, in the Now, within the light of your awareness, and allow your newly awakened state to give you its identity. Then be still; just watch. Be the new you that sees the moment as it is -- instead of being deceived into seeing what that false I wants you to see so that it can go on stealing your life!
Your awareness of these fearful thoughts and feelings roaming through you is the power that keeps their harmful and self-limiting influences from having control over you. Their aim is to get you to define yourself by identifying with their dark and defiling energies. Your aim is to remember that who you really are cannot be confined by dark thoughts or feelings any more than the light from a bulb can be contained in its glass.
As with all true spiritual exercises, we must approach them with great intention and persistence. The habitual dark states that have been misguiding us up to now will not give up their place at the steering wheel of our soul without struggle. Never mind any setbacks that you may experience as you put forth these new inner efforts. Whenever you find yourself a captive in the dark little kingdom of some unkind, troubled thought or feeling, just remember right then your wish to be. Drop whatever would define and limit you by bringing yourself back into the great and unconditioned Now where all is one. That's your part. The truth will handle the rest.
Excerpted from Let Go and Live in the Now