5 Ways to Overcome Fear
Fear comes in all shapes and sizes, and it's important to recognize which kind you're battling. Observing your fear is the dissolution of fear. It's that simple.
BY: Dr. Steve McSwain
3. Pay attention to the mental noise that typically begins with “My.”
Ego-fear and worry both concern themselves with the stuff that happened in “my life,” (or, didn’t happen, should have, or shouldn’t have happened, and so forth). Or, it concerns itself with “my” future, (what should happen or shouldn’t happen, what might happen or could happen, and so on).
“My” may make you feel empowered in the moment, but eventually “my” is isolating. It cuts you off from a collective spirit of support, abundance, and generosity. Yet, this is how most people live their lives almost continually.
So when “my” arises, take a moment to listen to its surrounding statement. Is it charged with ego-fear and worry?
4. Observe your thoughts of fear and your physical reactions to them.
Here is the key to overcoming fears: Do not fight them. Why? Because you can’t win.
Don’t punish yourself either, thinking you’ll never rid yourself of fear. Instead, observe your fears. In the East, this exercise is known as “the witnessing presence.”
When you observe the conversations in your head, as well as the emotional reactions to those conversations, you put a little distance between you, the real you, and the you who is upset—the ego self.
This distance creates a space of peace or what Zen Buddhists call “the space of no mind.” As you make this your spiritual practice, this space will widen and your state of mind will increasingly relax. Your fears will disappear, too.
5. Know that it takes practice.
Relaxing your mind takes repeated effort. However, people who discipline themselves in this regard will know “the peace that passes all understanding,” as Saint Paul put it.
Observing your fear is the dissolution of fear. It IS that simple. I encourage you to practice this, over and over again, and see for yourself what happens.
Dr. Steve McSwain is an author, speaker, thought leader and spiritual teacher. His books and blogs inspire spiritual seekers around the world. He is a devoted follower of Christ but an interfaith activist as well. He is frequently heard to say, in the words of Mother Teresa, "I love all religions; but I'm IN LOVE with my own." Read more from Dr. McSwain on his blog Your Best Life Ever.