Bhay means fear, Bhay-an-aka means full of fear, terror and dread. To worry is to fear the future. Nervousness is the restless nature of fear. Dread, terror and panic are all paralysing to our mind-body experience. If you suffer fear and dread, this practice will help you understand and overcome fear and help to bring you courage to bravely face life.
We tend to hold the inhale, waking us, focusing our attention and not letting go because we are afraid! Ultimately, fear is one of our mental emotional afflictions that is hardwired in us whether you are wise or naive. This is called Abinivesha. Fear can manifest in many different ways;
Rajasic fear is the fear of pain.
Tamasic fear is the fear of death.
Sattvic fear is one that keeps us from harms way and we learn boundaries to keep us safe.
Understanding what brings fear up for you and how it manifests in you is key.
Fear is caused by ignorance/Avidya that affects us, our ego attaches to how we define ourselves by more or less of who we are to what we are afraid of called Asmita and reacts by attaching to more pleasurable things/Raga or avoids what the ego thinks will cause pain/Dvesa. It is natural to fear as it is hardwired into our nature for self-preservation from predators, harm and natural dangers.
The ego fears the unknown. It fears change, illness, disease, loss and death. Death usually comes once in our life time, however the fear of death can last a lifetime, influencing how we live our life. Now days we have the added exaggerated reaction of fear informed in the way we have immediate access to information and our inability to fully digest what we read, see and feel as a result of information at our finger tips. War, austerity measures, crime, political instability, social ignorance, cultural injustice, viruses, cancer, divorce, all these ideas thrown at you instantly and our busy lives keeping us from taking the time to process any of it thoroughly. Not a good recipe to help overcome fear. On top of that, the social pressure in society constantly being measured and feeding into our egotism of our worth and compounding our irrational fears of losing what we have or not being enough defined by what we don’t have is a terrible pressure. FOMO, Fear of maintaining status, fear of being seen or not seen, fear of being seen as a fraud or an impostor, fear of loosing relationships belonging and followers…the list goes on… This all truly shows a lack of faith, trust and a confidence in understanding the point of our existence, our unique place and part to play in this life time.
Notice where you feel this…notice what this is tethered to. The Bhava or feelings of fear can span from being;
alarmed, timid, agitated, distressed, to fearful, frightened, averse, afraid, anxious, nervous, scared, then escalate to horror and being completely engrossed in terror.
Notice how fear affects the body, energy and mind.
Bringing the emotion of Vira or Courage into your experience of fear is key. Vira means courage, the Bhava is one of being the fearless hero or heroine, feeling brave, confident, self-assured in being able to spontaneously take action filled with faith and trust in whatever the outcome, even if it is death. As courage suggests, the ego understands its purpose or Dharma in this life time and that following this personal path, one will face Karma, the consequences due to choices and actions, this Karma is designed to educate, challenge and evolve the ego fulfilling its purpose.
This process is not easy. It takes training, patience and trust, refining the tools to bravely face the difficulties in life, remaining open hearted and minded. Understanding that life is not just happening to you, it is happening for you. Believe those words. By facing our fears, we expand our understanding of ourselves and the nature of life itself. We can appreciate the gift of life, the gift of the other Rasas of love, joy, wonder and open up to a trusting calm place within ourselves. This belief in ourselves, the inevitable truth, that everything has a beginning, middle and end. The truth of impermanence. Everything will have a birth, life and death. To trust, have faith and bravely keep moving forward with loving awareness.
What is causing you to fear today?
- Climate change
- Fear of confrontation
- Fear of being left for another
- Fear of being controlled
- Fear of sickness
- Fear of feeling out of control
- Our future
- Fear of intimacy
- Fear of being alone
- Fear of not having enough money
- Fear of cancer
- Fear of…
- A health concern
- Instability in a relationship
- Fear of being seen
- Fear of speaking your truth
- Fear of loving someone
- Fear of losing your possessions
- Fear of the unknown
We all have a need to be safe, loved, belonging and feel connected. If these fundamental needs are met, we normally can face most fears that cross our paths. This is why we practice Yoga to right size our fears, reconnect us to a calm trusting place within that is always there, even when we aren’t present of its presence. We practice drawing our minds back into our bodies, bravely observing what is between our fears and being peacefully present in the here and now. Giving ourselves the permission to feel our feelings of fear in a contained practice, moving and breathing to help process the excess Bhava or feelings of fear felt. Through the lens of loving awareness we regain our power and start to feel belonging to our bodies and that through our actions we fall back in love with life, feeling safer within ourselves to make courageous choices towards what was causing the fear.
In this practice, I remind students of the importance of the RAIN sequence, which is so important to our therapeutic approach to heal what our insight reveals and to learn how do take kinder and loving actions to guide us back on our Dharmic path and fulfil our soul’s longing to do this lifetime well and to thrive!