An FB friend called Poly wrote a post where she was investigating the phenonemon of fear. Poly was suggesting that management of fear is a good strategy. This phrase caught my attention and led to a conversation about fear. Many interesting perceptions revealed and i would like to delve again now into this problem of fear.
Let’s investigate together as friends that are strongly concerned with such a serious issue, with no ideas or preconceived opinions on fear. First of all we should ask.. What is fear? Isn’t fear connected with danger? There is a danger and it seems that once i see this danger the brain works and creates this emotion of fear. It seems fear is not seperate from thought, it seems like fear is thought, isn’t it? To further proceed we should (use the necessarily dualistic tool of the language and) distinguish 2 “types” of danger: the true and the imaginery dangers.
I am having a walk and i suddenly see a snake. I know snakes can be venomous. This is an actual danger, isn’t it? The moment i see the snake there is alertness, the whole body is in watchfullness and immediately i run away. There is a seeing (seeing the snake) this very moment and from that very seeing there is instant action .. thought like “hopefully this snake won’t bite me” or “i shouldn’t be afraid of anything, i have to convince myself not to be afraid” or “if the snake bites me i will take an antidote and everything will be fine” is completely absent.. i just see and act. I would like to ask if is there is any fear at all, or only a state of alertness while the danger is close. It’s interesting to notice that time like “past” or “future” seems to be totally absent in this movement which looks very natural, not neurotic at all.
Now let’s say i have a girlfriend. There is an imaginery danger that she will leave me somehow, sometime. This is an imaginery danger in the sense that this moment the danger doesn’t exist apart from my thought (in opposition to the instance of the snake where the danger takes place this very moment). This imaginery danger is a creation of the mind. For some reason my mind thinks that probably my girl will leave me and out of this thought a new thought appears, a thought like “oh my god i am so afraid that someday she will abandon me”. And then fear is. The very moment of this thought there is this painful feeling of fear. So fear is actually thought. Now out of this fear many reactions seem to originate. These reactions are other thoughts like “i should check her phone to make sure she is not having any suspicious chat with another man” or “i should make her feel jealous of me, to make sure she is mine” etc.
All this irrational movement has nothing to do with what happens in the present.. i’ve experienced the pain of a girlfriend abandoning me in the past and i project this past experience in the future by creating a new danger and a new fear, the fear that my now girlfriend will probably do the same sometime. Thus i modify my present by means of the reactions i described before to make sure this fear won’t come real. We should ask ourselves what would be the case if these jumps in the past and future wouldn’t happen at all. Is there any space for fear at all? Or probably Fear is essentialy Time.
Now if we clearly see this imaginery nature of fear, not theoritically, not intellectually, but we feel it deep inside, what happens?