We have all been there – a fear of rejection, of the unknown, of loneliness, of how to make both ends meet. Then fear for our children or grandparents… The list is endless. Although those fears seem to be somehow perceived as “normal”, there are certain fears, which add an extra dose of distress in our lives – the phobias.
They torment people from all walks of life – intelligent and uneducated, men and women, poor and rich, powerful and weak. And people end up developing a fear after fear, they grow more and more insecure and form some neurosis. I know the story, because I myself have been there. But life isn’t sympathetic to such people. It constantly pushes you to face the same fears day after day. Until you ask yourself “Isn’t there a getaway from this mental prison”? The happy news is that yes, there is a way.
How to free yourself from fears?
From my personal experience, when I have had some phobia or obsession, the more I have tried to flee from the object of panic, the more I bumped into it. The universe indeed is not a blind force but rather a very creative one. It responds to our thoughts, emotions, feelings, etc. This is the essence of quantum physics. That is why, the creative matrix put me in such circumstances that forced me unwillingly to face the “danger”. But many times I faltered and shook. The challenge was too hard for me. I said many times “not now” or “maybe later”. I needed peace and decided to bypass or cure the fear. For a while I seemed to have peace of mind. Alas only until the next challenge appeared! Then the whole process repeated again. Have you recognized yourself in this picture? Have you been through such experiences? If you have, then you know very well somewhere deep inside you that you can’t cure fear by avoiding it or suppressing it. You have to face it bravely. And that’s something I have experienced too. Let me share my understanding and my personal experience with you.
Transforming the negative into positive
sings Bono in “Elevation”. Maybe you have heard this song. I am quite sure you have, but did you look at it from the perspective of facing a very powerful energy as is fear itself? Many people would oppose and say the song is about sex, not fear. But aren’t fear and sexual energy just the two sides of the same coin? As Freud wrote they are the two main energies dominating in us. One of them is the instinct for procreation, for sensual pleasure, and the other one is the instinct for survival. These two energies are very similar. They are both overwhelming and actually run the whole world. For instance look closer at the movie industry. You will find that the majority of blockbusters have either very hot scenes and/or massive killings, wars, murders, bloody massacres, hideous monsters, etc. In this sense, the lyrics of U2 can apply to fear as well. It seems like Bono and his band have made their own interpretation of the two major concepts of tantra: “One has to rise by that, by which one falls” and “The very poison of life becomes the elixir of life when used by the wise”.
I won’t lie to you it’s not easy at first to face the deep uprooted fear. Maybe you have stored it inside you for years like me, or you’ve always had that particular fear in which case it will take a bit longer. However, the good thing is, once you decide to face the fear you should stick firmly to your resolve. With time it will become easier and easier. I have done it, so can you! Maybe there will be panic for a while, perspiration, sleepless nights or nightmares, but the most important thing is to keep to your objective. It is crucial that you formulate your objective as a positive statement in a present tense. I’ll give you an example: my objective is “I am healthy”. I didn’t choose a resolve like “I have no fears” or “I am fearless”. There is a certain portion of fear that’s essential and even good. It’s like when you cross a street you are careful so that no car hits you. Or when you walk alone at night in dangerous surroundings you should be very careful. I am not talking about these healthy fears which help us protect ourselves from real objective dangers. I am talking about exaggerated and overgeneralized fears, such as is usually the fear of dogs, planes, accidents, relationships, people with authority, abuses, etc. In those cases we project our inner fear on the reality and manifest it, i.e. what we fear happens.
After all what does it mean to face a fear? We face unpleasant people, cold and heat but what is to face your own fear? If we look closely at fear it’s energy. A very powerful one. The ancient tantrics have come to realize that behind everyone and everything in this universe, in the center of each object, there’s greater energy, known as Shakti or potential. And that Shakti is fantastic. It’s a fountain of everlasting bliss and a gate to transcendental experiences. The question is how to release Shakti from the pull of matter? The tantrics and yogis believe the mind is a force, too. It has energy and a nucleus – a center or bindu. And that bindu or nucleus has to be reached. In any yoga practice in which the mind becomes one-pointed or absolutely concentrated, the possibility of reaching the bindu arises. But yoga practices take years to work. They are very, very slow. It may take you decades if not lifetimes to release the inner potential or Shakti. Fortunately, there are shortcuts. One of these shortcuts is to create the fear to such an extent, so that your whole mind becomes fear. You become the fear. Thus a state of one-pointedness is reached. The very thing you have tried to escape, to find a solution for, stands in front of you.
I and I in the sky as Bono sings.
The fear materializes itself. It jumps out of you. It’s not any longer stored somewhere in your body, like the navel or stomach. You are able to see it face to face. Not via Facebook or twitter, but face to face. Then you conquer it.
There is a beautiful example of this in the Hindu catalog of Gods – Kali. Known as the destroyer of time, the most ferocious and fattest of all Gods and Goddesses, she is wearing a skull mala (necklace) and holds a severed human head. She is also hipping with one of her feet on the lying Shiva, symbolizing the consciousness. When all the negative forces, like fears and passions, are awakened comes the first manifestation of Shakti or the inner potential. The benign and graceful aspect of Shakti is Durga, literary “the invincible”. Here comes the role of the Guru. Many people from the West as well as from the East are wondering why one should take someone for a Guru surrendering themselves to another human being. This is one of the reasons: the Guru element, or tattwa, is to make the transformation possible. Otherwise, if the bloody and ferocious Kali is not pacified, one’s mind may forever remain in the realm of the unconscious.
My own fear experiences
Kali – the slayer of time or consciousness
I have experienced facing my fear eight years ago and I must admit it was a very scary experience at first. At the beginning I thought I was going to die. Well, I didn’t die, I am still alive. Then I thought, I had some sort of schizophrenia, because somehow I became the fear. It didn’t last any longer than few minutes but what minutes! I had never ever experienced anything like this. I can’t even put it in words. One has to experienceit in order to understand it. However, the whole experience was about 20 minutes altogether. After that the fear was completely conquered. This was the big deal. My consciousness evolved after it and the quality of my life changed. I personally have changed. Before this I didn’t take yoga very seriously or any spiritual practice. But once I experienced the release of inner energy, I started believing in yoga. That’s how I discovered yoga. I started with meditation, I tried various practices but there was nothing as significant and overwhelming as my own fear experience. I needed more and I was aware it had to be the experience which would make me finally healthy. Instead I was slowly becoming more and more entangled in the material life. Until I went to a seminar on yoga and tantra in Yorkshire, UK. During one of the lectures, known as
The student dormitory in Oxley Hall or as I used to call it “Cruella De Vill’s house”
satsang (literary “in the presence of truth”) I felt something incredible. I was indeed in the realm of “truth”. I can not explain it, everyone has to experience it for oneself. It didn’t last more than a few seconds, but I noticed it. Soon I forgot about it. On the same day, late at night, the experience came. The clock was passing 10.30 when I turned off the lights and went to bed. But to my biggest astonishment on the wall just pointing towards my head was the very clear image of a huge sword. Like the ones from fairy tales or stories about knights. At first I was really scared, because the sword was huge. Moreover it was pointing to my head. Then I realized it was just the reflection of light trough the curtain forming the shape of a gigantic sword. What a relief! Nothing to worry about. I went happy into my bed ready to sleep. Oh God! I was everything but sleeping. You know, in order to fall asleep you need to relax more and more. This is part of the practice yoga nidra – every muscle feels very heavy and your whole being is very relaxed… and heavy… I was nothing but relaxed! “Oh, my God! This thing is above me! The sword is above my head! He’s gonna cut off my head !” I was petrified. Then I laughed at myself, saying out loudly, for more courage “Don’t be silly, it’s a shadow!” But of no avail. I was getting more and more frightened. There was not even one single thought in my mind at that time. My whole mind was obsessed with the sword above my head and the approaching man. I was feeling in my guts this terrifying man was coming and would cut my head off. Intuitively I started understanding the fears of all the six wives of Henry the 8th. About 10 to 15 minutes in this state of mind, I decided I had to terminate the fear. Yes, looking back then I failed to face the fear properly. I couldn’t do it. Moreover, I wasn’t sure what was going on and why I was so frightened. It felt like a part of myself, my own ego was coming to manifest itself in front of me. But it was too scary to let it come. So I got up and pulled the curtain and the big sword on the wall shrinked. Then the image took the shape of a small knife. I thought to myself “Now, that’s not that scary. I can face it.” Again, the process repeated. Very scared, even more than the first time, I got up from the bed and pulled the curtains so tight that the whole room remained in complete darkness. Just in case, I looked trough the window to be sure, there was nobody around. Only the red rose bushes were looking at me on the green well-maintained grass. I sighed and this time after a while I finally fell asleep.
On the next day – the last day of the seminar, I was serving in the kitchen when involuntarily I dropped a knife in the dustbin. I didn’t pick it up, I was busy. When I could do it, the knife was completely lost. Later on, at the end of my vacation in UK, when my yoga group and I were at the airport passing through the security, my handbag was separated and they found my pocket knife. I had put it there when we landed in England but I had forgotten to put it back in my suitcase. So they confiscated it. I remembered the two knives on the wall, which I avoided, and then seeing how I lost two real knives, I thought to myself: the very same force which manifested itself on the wall in my room was making me lose two knifes. It meant that the experience I had in the night wasn’t subjective, it was indeed real. And not only was it real, but the same force controlled affairs of my life. The only question was how to allow the fear to come without trying to suppress or bypass it and without going nuts.
Transforming the negative energy into positive and creative one
It took me a long time to figure out how. Finally the answer came – trough creativity, literature in particular. One Easter I came across an article in a newspaper about the sale of a ruined castle in East Lothian, near Edinburgh. What attracted my attention was the heading: “A medieval castle, rumored to be built via a pact with the devil, is up for sale for 450 000 pounds”. The sign was there. My mind took it so well, that I started creating a story in my mind. For a year and a few months everything was only in my mind. The nucleus of my mind envisaged and designed the whole story. Technically I am the author and the writer, but I am well aware I couldn’t have created such a piece of writing on my own. Moreover, it includes things I have no experience with such as British law, Broadway or show business. And yet they were all represented very authentically. This novel was drafted in my mind when I was in my Guru’s ashram by the energy that flows through me. It is the same energy that flows through everyone and everything. The Hindus use different names for that energy – Shakti, Durga, Saraswati. That energy is in the base, in the nucleus of the mind. It is not dominant, but it is there waiting to be released. Once it is set free, it is creative and overwhelming. It gave life to the story I put it in words. I started calling it “the gate pass story”. Why the “gate pass story”? Because that story is opening now the gates for releasing my inner potential or Shakti. And it will happen by letting my fear or passion manifest and come to me face to face. That’s for me the big objective.
The Goddess Durga “The invincible”
I suggest all of you do the same. Pray, discriminate suppression and expression, don’t ignore or bypass fears or passions whatever they may be but at the same time stay true to your resolve. That’s the nucleus of a will – the goal. Mind you it is safer to have a Guru on your way to show you how to transform your personal limitations. In this way by the grace of the Lord and with the blessings of your Guru you may overcome fear.