Fear is a natural and healthy emotion that lets us know something is dangerous. There are two distinct ways we can respond to fearful situations. In the jungle a lion stalks its prey. Right before the lion pounces for the kill it lets out a fearful roar. The victim either freezes in terror or bolts like lightning. If it freezes in terror its dead. If it bolts in terror it might have a chance to live another day.
Several years ago I studied the martial arts and some of the behavior patterns were sinking into my subconscious. I liked going for walks in the country, especially at night. I would walk along the road next to a creek. One night I was walking along the road when a beaver slapped its tail in the water about six feet away from me. It sounded like a shotgun going off. I was terrified and jumped almost two feet into the air.
The interesting thing is that in mid air I managed to turn around to face the sound and came down crouching in a martial arts fighting stance. When the brain goes numb the body reverts to training. This is something the military knows very well.
In my terror my body responded the way it had been trained. This was a good thing. Now another example. Several years ago I was working a job in a casino as a security guard. We patrolled the entire casino and kept an eye on things. One of my co-workers was making her rounds in the pool area when a baby fell into the pool. The mother froze. All she could do was scream. She couldn’t even make an attempt to save her baby. My co-worker dived into the pool and rescued the baby without even thinking about it.
Again the body reverts to training. Training to escape, training to rescue or even training in self-defense are vital. This is the training that allows our body to function when our minds freeze.
There will always be fearful situations in life. We will at times experience fear. We don’t need to become paralyzed by it.
A very powerful type of self-empowerment is to confront our personal fears and learn to deal with them so they loose their ability to harm us. I am afraid of heights but I can go up on roofs if I need to. I am afraid of water but I have learned how to swim enough that I can save myself in most situations.
I have been afraid of intimacy within relationships but I am learning how to cope with that as well. Confronting these types of fears becomes the work of a lifetime. It is also one of the most rewarding things a person can do.
PS: I’ve started a new Facebook discussion group called Organic Gnosticism. Feel free to join if interested.