Thursday, January 17, 2013

Fear or Peace

Our basic instincts give us cause to act.  Fear engages the most primal part of our brain and instigates fight or flight.  We were designed to react physiologically to dangerous situations with heightened senses and adrenaline to get us fighting or running for safety.  But I don't think any of us have a T Rex chasing us for his next meal.

So what, then, are we afraid of?  What do we fear so much that our choices and decisions are made to solely avoid certain bad things rather than to enjoy the good things?  We are afraid of tests, we are afraid of Biology class, we are afraid of our competitions, we are afraid of that mean PE teacher who will make us run, we are afraid of the bully who humiliates us each day, we are afraid of our so-called friends...

We are so busy worrying that we fail to see what is working in our lives, we fail to find what is good in our day, we fail to see Opportunity and Ease even when it punches us in the face.

What if we moved through our day decidedly ignoring our normal fears?  Purposefully choosing to think of what fears us most, our math test on Friday, for example, as a gift we get to enjoy.  What if we decided to stop enduring the yucky part of our lives, and actually be grateful for the opportunities that yucky part is giving us?

We might find, if we embrace what we fear the most, that our fear has no substance, that our fear is a figment of our imagination, that it is ephemeral.  

We might find that we are actually good at math...

Ironically, chronically high levels of stress and anxiety actually force us to lose our concentration and ability to reason. There is a lessening of cognitive function when we live in a state of fear! If you are stressed out for each test at school, your brain is taking the tests while it is, effectively, turned off.

So, take some Ancient Wisdom from Lao-tzu to heart and put it to use:

"Empty your mind of all thoughts.
Let your heart be at peace...
Each separate being in the universe
returns to the common source.
Returning to the source is serenity...
When you realize where you come from,
you naturally become tolerant, disinterested,
amused, kindhearted as a grandmother,
dignified as a king...
you can deal with whatever life brings you..."

-Lao-tzu, The Book of The Way, 500 B.C., translated by Stephen Mitchell

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