Let Go of Fear by Stopping the Stories in Your Head

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Let Go of Fear by Stopping the Stories in Your Head

Post by diamonds on Sun Sep 23, 2012 4:57 am

Let Go of Fear by Stopping the Stories in Your Head

“The greater part of human pain is unnecessary. It is
self-created as long as the unobserved mind runs your life.” ~Eckhart

For a very long time fear has controlled me. It has paralyzed me,
kept me living in desperate situations, and stopped me from living the
life of my dreams.

It has only been with age and the practice of mindfulness these last
few years that I have come to recognize the fear within me, having
finally begun the process of facing it.

By facing fear
I don’t mean that I’ve started base-jumping, purposely trapped myself
in elevators, or allowed tarantulas to climb all over my body.

I mean that I’ve sat in meditation,
watched the fears arise, and rather than react to them or allow them to
become part of the stories that make up my life, I’ve observed them in
my mind from a distance.

I’ve felt how they’ve manifested in my body, and I’ve moved into that
physical discomfort in order to pay attention to fear in a way I’ve
never allowed myself to do before.

When I think about the compulsive and addictive activities that have
kept me stuck in a place of fear in the past, they all come from stories
that play through my head everyday. For example:

Shopping: I shop to feel better about myself. I
believe that the pair of celebrity-endorsed high heels I’ve just bought
will make me glamorous enough to fit in with the goddesses I see around
me and therefore help me feel accepted.

Interestingly, I don’t feel bad about myself unless I’m comparing myself to others.
Therefore in the comparing, I’m looking at others who have what I don’t
have and, as a result, fear that I’m unstylish, lacking in physical
appeal, or not beautiful enough.

Overeating: When the new pair of high heels I’ve
been wearing to work everyday go unnoticed, start to slowly destroy my
feet, and still haven’t prompted an invite to the ‘right’ parties, I
give up and start to search the fridge.

I discover a tub of ice-cream or pack of cookies that may not make me
more beautiful or accepted, but help me to fill my stomach up and
create a fullness in the exact place that fear is beginning to dig a
deeper and deeper hole inside of me.

Television: When that sick feeling deep down in my
stomach starts rising again, but this time from a mix of cookies and
cream and a base of fear, I sit in the comfiest chair I can find and
reach for the remote control.

Rather than listen to the personal derision that I’ve switched to
repeat in my mind I watch re-runs of my favorite reality show. I can
then cheer the reality star on as I would a friend. Or I can sit and
degrade them to make myself feel better by utilizing the meanest
thoughts I have going through my head now targeted towards them.

Surfing: I would love to say that after this fear
based self-pity and hatred party I would choose to hit the shore with my
trusty long board to work off that ice-cream, but unless that board
comes with a qwerty keyboard I’m more inclined to stay at home.

Only after watching other people live their busy lives does it
actually register that I should reach out and connect with my friends.

And having destroyed my feet in high heels, eaten an entire quart of
ice-cream all by myself, and vegged out in front of the TV in my PJs, I
hardly feel like getting dolled up to go out for some face to face time.
Therefore the next best source of connection is my new best friend—the

After returning a few pokes, commenting on a couple of friend’s
pictures, and then checking my homepage incessantly to see if anyone
online has responded to my posts, the night drags on.

I continually stare at a glowing screen as the minutes tick by,
unable to disconnect myself from the cyber world and face the fear of
being alone with my self-pity and self-hatred.

Reality check time

Can you believe that this entire fear-based cycle of self-pity and
hatred grew from a simple comparison of what I was wearing to those
around me? Unbelievable right? Not really.

Having observed my mind, I’ve come to understand that a good amount
of my daily fear-based suffering starts by making comparisons and then
creating stories in my head.

Encouragingly, I am not unique in what I do. However, it is
unfortunate to realize that many people, who suffer in the same way I do
will never learn how to curb their own suffering. They will never give
themselves the time to sit, reflect, and watch what comes up in their
minds without becoming involved in the stories.

If you would like to take more control over your mind and
your suffering, the best practices I know are meditation and

1. First, accept that in order to become more mindful, we must
recognize that we are solely responsible for the thoughts our minds
produce. While we can’t stop our minds completely, we can take control
over them and create moments of peace for ourselves.

2. Second, when thoughts or fear arise, try to do the following as
soon as you are aware of what’s taking place in your mind and body:

  • Stop

  • Take a long, deep breath in and out. In your mind say “in” as you
    breathe in and “out” as you breathe out in order to ground yourself in
    the present moment.

  • Then, feel the ground beneath your feet. Notice the way your clothes
    feel against your skin, the wind against your face, the sun on your
    cheeks. Listen to the birds singing, the rain falling around you or the
    ticking of a nearby clock.

All this will ground you in the present moment. Even if thoughts want
to drag you away with them, coming back to recognize the breath will
give you the control you need to prevent this from happening.

Follow these steps until you feel that the thought or storyline in
your mind has moved on, or until you feel that the pull of your thought
or fear has dissipated slightly.

At this point you can return to whatever you were doing, and
hopefully you will have prevented yourself from suffering in that

Unfortunately these steps are by no means a quick fix in saving you
from the suffering we all encounter every day. In fact, at first it will
take all your energy and resolve not to react to what your mind and ego
are doing.

It’s also quite possible that even once you’ve covered these steps
you will still get lost in your thoughts and fears by comparing yourself
to others.

Whether you do this or not isn’t the point. The point is that you’ve
finally managed to sit back and look at your thoughts and fear. Once you
have done this, you’ve begun the process of taking back control of your mind and your life.

No doubt, occasionally you’ll also stop and find yourself right in
the middle of buying something you don’t really need or switching on the
TV without thinking about what you’re doing.

But, as long as you notice you’re mid-way through handing your credit
card to the lovely sales person at the cash register, then you’re on
your way to conquering your mind.

The more you practice the better you will get. The key to all this is not giving up.

I’m not saying you’ll be able to climb to the top of the Burj Al Arab
on your next trip to Dubai, or take a shower with eight beady spider
eyes hanging out on the shower head above you.

But you will be able to stop the stories in your head instead of
feeling a pull to distract yourself from all the pain they cause you.

So why not give it a shot. Can it really hurt? Well it might, but it’ll hurt for all the right reasons.



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تاريخ التسجيل : 2011-03-05

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