Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Post #73: Overcoming Fear

Last week we talked about Nik Wallenda, who recently walked across Niagara falls on a high wire. I was inspired by his master ability to "feel the fear and do it anyway," and I found myself reflecting on how fear has affected my life, but more importantly, what has helped me most to overcome it.

Generally speaking, exploring spirituality (our connection to all that is) has been the greatest positive influence of my life, especially with regard to managing fear. Where formal religion can sometimes evoke and even promote fear, seeking our own connection to the divine more often has a spacious and comforting effect. I like to say that if it makes you feel bad, it isn't God.

Religion can be beautiful, but it can also be limiting in that each person is unique, and the rituals and beliefs of a particular faith will fit for some, but not for others. Trying to force a square peg into a round hole can sometimes do more harm than good.

I could write a laundry list of all the spiritual ideas/practices that have helped me deal with fear (surrender, forgiveness, mindfulness, etc.), but the one I wanted to focus on today is the concept that we are immortal souls who occasionally inhabit physical bodies (in order to learn certain lessons).

I'm referring to reincarnation, but that's not all. In the last twenty to thirty years, there's been an explosion of consistent information coming through (especially from hypnotherapy clients, reputable channels, and people who have had near-death experiences) about life between lives, or what happens when we are outside of our normal human perception of reality.

I have read many of these books, and even though I'm often skeptical I have been dramatically transformed by sharing in the experiences of these people. The stories resonate on a level so deep that to me there is no question of their validity. When we realize that our current troubles and challenges are just a drop in the bucket of who we are and where we've been, it puts everything into perspective. And when you realize that the people you love (and hate) have been with you many times before, you recognize that loss is not what it seems to be.

Where I've landed in all of this is that I generally no longer fear for my own life. The idea of dying does not worry me, except for the pain it might cause others and the possibility that I had not achieved all that I set out to achieve in this lifetime. The fear I have of my loved ones dying is solely based on the human suffering that would ensue. Being in a body and losing someone you love can be horrible, no matter what you believe, but knowing that you will see them again can help a lot.

Here are a few of my favorite books on the subject:
  • Journey of Souls: Case Studies of Life Between Lives (by Michael Newton, 1994)
  • Many Lives, Many Masters: The True Story of a Prominent Psychiatrist, his Young Patient, and the Past-life Therapy that Changed Both their Lives (by Brian L. Weiss, 1988)
  • Exploring the Eternal Soul: Insights from the Life Between Lives (by Andy Tomlinson, 2007)