Although it’s a difficult thing to manage to get one’s mind around, most fear is a fantasy. That’s right. It has no relation to reality at all.
What? You say? Of course, there are many things that are right to be fearful of!
No doubt one could make a long list of these reasons, but let’s take a closer look from a mentally balanced state of right now. Let’s agree for a moment that we can do this.
For a moment, let’s check ourselves carefully to be sure there’s no direct and present state of danger in our immediate surroundings. I’m good here, how about you? (And this applies to nearly all of the time, by the way, so what gives with so much anxiety?)
Alright then. Let’s now see what is required to move from this state of reassurance and into a fearful one, tracking the steps.
Since nothing to fear is physically present in our now, in order to get to the state of fear, we must use our imagination to dredge up something to fear. By this, I mean moving out of the now moment into the not-now moment, a moment that isn’t real, in other words, in our right now.
Moving our consciousness into what hasn’t happened yet (and perhaps never will happen) is a necessity to do this. This is the same as making up something to get excited about, (even if this is something someone else made up for us). Or, perhaps this fun can be related to a past experience. Again, not now and essentially another fantasy.
Here’s a made up scenario for the purpose of illustration about such a fearful fantasy:
If I’m standing at the top of a ladder and it wobbles, I may have a thrilling moment of fear about falling. This is appropriate and makes perfect sense. The purpose of the fear response is to alert me to pay attention and avoid harm.
If I look at all encounters with a ladder with this same thought and emotional context, then this process is the essence of a negative fantasy brought up from the past and associated with a ladder.
Perhaps I fell off of a ladder once, and have a nasty scar to show for it. I could not only associate a ladder in my mind and emotions with fear, but perhaps even take this further as ‘proof’ that any encounter with a ladder is bound to be a dangerous and painful experience.
A possible future fantasy about a ladder might include a story I heard about someone who fell off one. This may, in the future, happen to me. It may seem likely that a ladder is in my future for sure and this danger is therefore real, though I don’t even own one.
This may be a simplistic form of metaphor to what I’m saying about fear as a fantasy, it still illustrates what I mean enough to make a point.
What happens when we recognize how this works, how what we imagine is fantasy, and begin managing our imaginations sensibly? Can it be so simple?
I think it can be, but it takes being conscious of the habitual ways we fantasize without bringing consciousness awareness with us.
May your realities and fantasies be beautiful.
Written for Gaia Scenics’ View
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