Anxiety & Fear
by Marcus Antebi
Article at a Glance:
Many people that I encounter, including myself, have grown accustomed to having a low frequency anxiety flying just slightly below our conscious radar, and for our entire lives.
It’s a very subtle vibration of nervousness anxiety and fear. It’s a cocktail made up of pieces of low self-esteem fragments of trauma. Experiences that are unsettled, words spoken to us as children, perhaps a few humiliating experiences; these things are mounted one by one on top of each other to create a puzzle in our overall personality that is guided by fears and anxieties.
We have to become aware of this presence, and that this may be truth for monitoring your behavior. Look at your varieties of addictions and compulsions or things that you would otherwise consider your weaknesses or character defects. It can be very difficult for a lot of people to look at themselves with such scrutiny. This is because it feels as if it’s just depressing, negative thinking. But in the case of examining our personalities closely, this is not the case; it’s not a negative thing to assess ourselves from a truly honest perspective.
At some point in our lives it will be time to sit down quietly and concentrate on the fears that lurk inside of us and try to connect to their sources. It may not be possible to do so alone. As an example, it would be very difficult for a surgeon to remove a tumor from his/her own stomach. We usually need an outside point of you. There are many ways to find these aspects of ourselves, but they are not easy. Even when we are aware of exactly what we’re doing and where it came from, it is not easy to unhook ourselves from the entanglement of oppressive mental structures. But we must do so and become extremely effective in this battle.
Sometimes simple mantras and slogans that we repeat to ourselves on a regular, frequent basis can be a starting point. They may not address the source of the problem, but they can be helpful in the short term. When I take a shower, for example, I repeat to myself that fear cannot be the force that guides me through this life. Then I ask myself to surrender fear, because it blinds me from seeing light.
I have to continually remind myself moment by moment to stay present, to follow the breath and to recognize that there is nothing permanent in this life. Everything is in a constant fluctuation, and the only thing I have is the moment. And I need to frequently say the words, “I am grateful.” I need to repeatedly practice reminding myself that I am not afraid and that I am not empty. I have a wonderful consciousness, and I enjoy looking at and experiencing things.
My fears are just a small part of me. They are not invited to control me, and they do not control my destiny. Instead of responding to fear, I think of things I can do to demonstrate compassion and love. Maybe I’ll write a kind letter to my wife or call my daughter on the phone and see how she’s doing.
Now I communicate with mature responses as opposed to the responses I gave to people in the past as a young person. At that time, I needed to respond to situations guided by compulsions or destructive behaviors, because doing that gave me quick relief, even if it was painful. The pain of the addiction was always less than the pain of the original injury that happened a long time ago when my self-image and spirit were wounded.