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No Risk...Remain the Same!

Key Lesson: The freedom you seek cannot be found by protecting a fear.

The Power to Dissolve Any Anxious State

The next time you feel yourself slipping into some anxious or fearful state, your awareness of its dynamics will give you the "power" to unfix yourself from it. For example, perhaps there's something you want to do, but you're afraid that if you do it, something bad will happen. Perhaps it's getting up and giving a talk before an audience. Until now, you always thought there was no other choice but to be afraid -- that somehow your fear protected you from fearful situations. With increased awareness you can now begin to question your fear and how it could possibly be protecting you, when the only pain you feel is the fear itself.

Now suppose you've been asked to make a presentation to a large group of fellow employees. It's still weeks before your talk, and you see that you're caught up in nervousness over it, which you perpetuate by thinking about it. You see that there is no value in any of this, so you try something new. You refuse to give in to the feeling by sitting in the corner and shaking over it. And you refuse to struggle against it by putting on a false bravado and insisting you're not nervous at all. Instead you just walk past it. "Proceed while being afraid," is Vernon Howard's succinct instruction when faced with any scary obstruction. This means just move forward without paying any attention to the state at all. You're aware that the nervousness is there, trying to take you over, but you don't do anything with it. You stop feeding it your life energy. As a result, your experience of giving the talk is not at all as traumatic as your imagination had tried to tell you it would be, and you know that with your newfound understanding, you need never be as nervous again.

You are able to get past the fear when you understand that the only thing keeping you involved with the state is you. It's really all very simple, but only if we're willing to leave ourselves behind. We have to leave behind the false self that sees the state through its eyes and attributes it with power. We have to see that fear has no business being in our business, and it won't be if we don't get fixed on it.

We must learn what it means to become unfixed from negative states, and we will when we realize that the sense of self we derive from them is worthless. It's not based on anything real, and it has no permanence because with time all states pass. Then, we are left exhausted, and fall prey to the next negative state that comes along. When the negative state comes, don't struggle with it or give yourself over to it. Instead, just go on with your life as though it doesn't exist, for it doesn't, not in reality. At night, when we fear the darkness, we flip on the light and everything that frightened us is gone, because the light dispels the frightening images in our own minds. When we flip on the light inwardly, psychologically, we see that dark states have no power outside of our fixation with them. When we struggle with them, we give them our power. When we give in to them, we allow them to dominate us. The only true alternative is to go on with our lives as though the thing were not there, and if we do that, it won't be there.

This article is excerpted from The Intimate Enemy (pages 54-56).

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