Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How To Be Calm During the Storm

I love writing about fear. I just think it controls so much of who we are and what we do and say. A strange little undercurrent that wields tremendous power over who we become. Or not. Manifests itself in control, obsessions, conformity and other darker extremes. We may see them as just controlling our outcomes but regardless of what we call them, they are truly just fear masquerading as relatively socially acceptable forms of fear.

We are born wild and free. Then slowly we start to adjust our behaviors to avoid things that we learn to fear. This has a positive side in that it prevents us as children from climbing into a strangers car for instance. But on the other side, we learn to fear outcomes that never happen and maybe never will. We digest the fears of those around us and incorporate them into how we behave. We learn to fear the loss of love so we conform. We learn to control other people to achieve our desired outcomes. We get so good at it that eventually we no longer recognize who we are under all the layers of accomodation.

I am not a huge control person but I do manage outcomes through manipulating other's behavior. Subconciously. I think we all do. Even as toddlers we know intuitively how to do this. It gets more calculated as we get older but less transparent so that we do not even recognize it in ourselves. Fear of undesireable outcomes develops our skill at creating these desired outcomes through manipulating other people to help us to achieve our outcomes.

We want to be loved or liked so we withold an opinion that matters to us. We wish to be part of the group so we do what we might prefer not to do. Until eventually we become a little less than what we started out as. And after many years we can no longer uncover our essence. Fears and adaptive behaviors in so many layers that we cannot find ourselves underneath.

Try this next time before you respond. Notice your desire to gain a specific outcome from what is happening or what you are feeling. Now release the outcome and just be there. Let it happen. Hear what is said or feel your feelings without judgement. Flow with the current. Relax. Breathe.Smile. Know that whatever outcome is going to happen, will do so regardless of your desire to control it. Picture the difference between floating in a current and swimming against it and you understand why flow feels so much easier. Keep your brain quiet. No chatter. No words to add meaning or fault to an outcome. Silence.

"Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them - that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like." Lao-Tzu. Kind of a cool feeling not to have to own every outcome.

Fear starts to slip away when you don't own the outcome. You see things as they are rather than through your filters of fear. Not being afraid liberates the person you are. Your gift to the world.

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