The Engine of Fear

When pain arises within us, an engines kicks into gear that fuels the explanations we give for the physical discomfort we feel. These explanations define the little annoyances of our lives, all the way up to the enormously painful changes that we inevitably face. Revolving around blame and judgement (both against the self and against the other), explanations are the brick and mortar that make up the wall we’ve built in order to hide from the pain we so desperately fear.

The manifestation of this fear varies from person to person, and is quantifiable based on each individual's actions and behaviors, but it shows itself because, to the subconscious mind, any level of pain is a threat to survival. When pain is triggered, our fight/flight/freeze response kicks in, and the ego takes over in order to protect us. It uses the mind to create explanations that will convince us to run so that we may live. Running is symbolized by denial, distraction, judgment, attack, and blame.

Our fear is primarily subconscious, which means we have no firm grasp on it. We regularly sense a low-grade (sometimes high-grade) fever of pain that terrifies us, but we can’t quite explain why, and so, when the pain flares up, we react in the way we've been conditioned to: with deflection. In our ignorance, we focus on the surface of things, believing them to be the cause. “He did this, and I’m now angry.” “She did this, and I’m now sad.” “He is doing this, and I am irritated.” “She accomplished this, and I am jealous.” “He looks like this, and I hate her for it.” “She looks like that, and I hate him for it.” The pain hurts, our subconscious mind tells the ego to run, the ego builds its case, and we listen.

When explanations create chaos in our minds and/or in our lives, and we blame external sources for our pain, we are merely trying to survive another day. We can't see the insanity of our choices because we are so afraid. However, there is another way: In the moment that the engine of fear fuels the thoughts which feed our explanations, we can stop thinking, breathe, and simply focus on the physical discomfort itself. We can refuse the stories, and let the pain be. We can follow its map to the wound, and, in so doing, piece by piece, we can heal it.

Only honesty and introspection can exonerate us. Our shame liberates our shame. Our anger liberates our anger. Our sadness liberates our sadness. Our irritation liberates our irritation. Our jealousy liberates our jealousy.

Comfort arrives with the blameless acceptance of what is.