Transcending Fear of the Unknown
Competition driven by fear
Often, a sense of competition drives our initiative in this world. The root cause of this competition is actually fear, in my perspective. Fear of uncertainty drives us as human beings to lead highly competitive lifestyles.
We're seeing people become completely individualized. There's not a sense of community or unity at the core. Even in our own families, we’re not as selfless as we could be.
This competitive energy can lead to either unity or division. In unity, humankind would emanate a powerful collective energy. Yet division is where the collection has chosen to be, weirdly. It's an interesting mirror. Competitiveness creates disturbance and insecurity in humans. It reminds us that we're out of control.
Things could happen at any given point that completely disrupt our path and the control we perceive to have over our lives. Notice the past year, the reaction to what we've navigated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course it's absolutely positive to see people rush to solve the problems and enhance quality of life from one perspective, but at the same time I can see where there’s a level of trying to control the situation by wearing masks, buying sanitizer in bulk, and hoarding toilet paper.
If we can have the foresight to see “this is bigger than us” and “things do happen for a reason” we gain opportunities to grow and to reach awakening or enlightenment. When you’re guided through your fear of the unknown with these thoughts, you can transcend the fear.
Symbols of reactivity
At Taochemy we work with stress and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and I don't throw around the term “PTSD” lightly. We’ve conducted very serious trauma treatment practices historically with veterans and first responders.
What we've been seeing lately is a slightly modified and subtle version of PTSD coming through for the average person. It's a fear, not necessarily a shock or trauma as we see traditionally. Almost like PTSD has emerged as a fear of shock or trauma. It's been manifested in their bodies.
Your body doesn't know the difference. If you're telling your mind constantly that you're fearful or avoiding this so-called shock that may or may not come, your neuropathways don't know the difference. They will communicate with each other as if, "Oh my gosh, I'm preparing for a shock, I'm preparing for a shock!" If you're telling yourself this story every single day, you can get lost very quickly.
Handling shocks when they happen
We try to guide people into identifying their frequency - low, high, etc. Really, a “vibe” is a frequency. Shocks happen every day. The severity differs, whether you're having someone honk at you when you're crossing the street, getting rear-ended on the highway, or tripping down your stairs. Little things like that. We ask, “How do you react to that? How does your body react? How does your mind react?”
Secondly, and more importantly, we might ask, “What is your level of fear of the unknown and uncertainty? How much fear do you have around that piece of life?” Uncertainty is inevitable.
We can categorize this on a non-linear spectrum. It's a ring, actually. We can either be in the low element of the ring or a high element. The low element is reactive and repressive, such as hostility or being a coward. We've seen a lot of that in the past year. I see a lot of people living in extreme fear, so they don't do anything. Or I see people living in highly reactive states that actually initiate a trauma pathway in their mind.
In reality, there may be nothing wrong in this moment, but people are living as if there is. That does wear away at your nervous system over time. That's where we see a high, high activation of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) as well as liver issues. Liver is associated with anger. We see a lot of people detoxing their liver and having high SNS who are living in that reactive, low frequency state.
The path to raising the frequency: the unknown
The challenge is, of course, how do we get to that high frequency? It's not clear. It's not as clear as the low frequency of course because of the collective -- we are living in a low frequency in my opinion. It's easy to identify what those things are if you take a second to look around you and really see.
The high frequency is a bit … grey. That's actually the beauty of it. It's the unknown. We're not completely clear on what that is. You only actually know what that is when you're actually living in it.
The high frequency is living in individual empowerment, and having the confidence, and the courage and a low reaction to fear of the unknown. It's almost like stepping through a portal where you transcend this fear of the unknown. It creates an automatic ability to create unity in your own life.
Even though you are alone and working on this individual path, you're able to connect better with everyone else because you have seen the other side -- what is so scary to most people.
It's almost as simple as helping someone by saying, "Oh, look. I've already been over there, it's not too bad. You don't have anything to be scared of." Slowly you can start bringing family, peers, friends into that space.
It's really challenging but as we enter spring and summer this year, it's important to sit back and look at yourself -- think about, "How much fear am I carrying around with me? How much am I letting that affect me? How much am I scared of that's not even real? It's very hard to be present. That's the simplest way to put this. Be present.
There is nothing to be fearful of. Sure, in the next two minutes, a tornado could come through Kansas City, or I could be falling down the stairs going back into my kitchen, things like that could easily happen. But living in fear of those things is what keeps you in the shadow, in a chronically agitated state of fear.
Coming to terms with living and dying
My entire life I've contemplated death and detachment. I’ve always been interested in Taoism, Buddhism, and the concepts of letting go and being in the now. When you're living with a fear of death, like a fear of the unknown, it completely isolates you and you become a prison to your own mind.
Expectation is something that is really rooted in desire. It's an amazing thing because it's alive and keeps us reaching and growing. Given the right relationship with desire, you can create amazing things. When mixed up with our own expectations, though, it can get sticky. Looking at the desires of our own minds -- we create desires that are minuscule compared to what is possible.
I don't even know what I truly desire, what I really expect. I'm living in a very finite fraction of my own being. That helps me put things into perspective sometimes.
What we desire or expect of life
Expectation is the source of all human mental fear. I’m talking about death. About time. In a way, we’re expected to sit and wait for death.
Meanwhile, we have notions of, “I'll do it when I have enough time, energy, or money” such as, “I’ll travel when I have children or after they're grown.”
These are excuses. We’re sitting, expecting, waiting for something to happen. There’s a time limit on our lives. Whenever you’re waiting, you see the end. In this body, the end is death. When life seems really small, that's where mental illness comes in.
One book that I really love about the role of death in life is called, “The Worm at the Core by Sheldon Solomon, Jeff Greenberg and Tom Pyszczynski. It's about the psychological theory that fear of death is the hidden motive behind everything we do. Paired with my own outlook on life, and understanding of Buddhist practice, the ancient wisdom “be here and be now” made sense to me when I read this book.
Are you constantly getting trapped in the cycle of associating everything with dying--what you want to accomplish, your lineage, creating something your grandchildren can be proud of so that you’re remembered?
I realize that whenever I'm thinking about those goals, those motives, it's like I'm living in the past. It's inauthentic. Being here and being now is something I struggle with every day. I think everyone does. It's uncomfortable. People don't like talking about fear and death. The end. Pain. It's scary. But turning back to that question -- how can I be here, now -- is important.
There's that fear of the unknown. But once you overcome that fear, and release that shadow and expectation of your life - it melts away. You can see a highly dramatic shift. In your relationships and in the way you're living. Your interactions.
A seven-year circle of growth and decay
The notion of time is shaped by our response to it. Looking at our natural life cycles, the circle of life (think: The Lion King), we see that this life that we're living is not just one life. It's several. This is the concept of the seven-year cycle of growth and decay, and you can see it throughout everything in our world.
One of the most powerful examples is that of cellular regeneration in our human body. We have a new body almost every seven years. At that point our cells, most of them, have all died and been replaced with new cell growth.
I think that's one of the most beautiful things ever. It brings me great comfort. We're constantly growing and changing, our bodies are literally new.
It's no wonder that people start to see major shifts every seven years or so. Think back to yourself at age 7, 14, 21, 28. In astrology, you get your Saturn return at age 28. Usually there are huge shifts in your late 20s. Going forward, you see some huge shifts every seven years, such as career changes, parental roles, divorce.
Personally, I’m about to go on my Saturn return in the next year or two. I feel like I'm shedding my old self, life, body.
It's important to honor where you've been so you can be present as you go into the future. That way you're not held back, because people can get stuck in the time loop of fear. Fear of where things end.
I'm looking at the future and thinking, how can I take my life a day at a time, a moment at a time, but also seven years at a time? That's a very appropriate way to handle the major shifts. As humans we do have to grasp onto some time and space so we can have enough drive, motivation, desire, and attachment to live and survive.
Start looking at these interesting concepts--the seven year cycle and living in the now. Think of life at a biological level. That does create some ease and peace with death and the end, finding a healthy detachment style and honoring yourself and your body.