When I was a kid, I was afraid of the bogeyman. He apparently enjoyed floating around my bedroom—but only when the lights were off.
In college, like many suddenly independent young adults, I was fearless. I lived in foreign lands. But, I spent more time exploring my host countries than reading textbooks. There was one class for which I never did any assignments. While I felt confident about passing the exams, I was petrified my professor would ask me questions during the lectures.
Much later, like most expectant moms, as my belly expanded, uncomfortable thoughts surfaced. Would my baby be perfect? Would labor and delivery be uncomplicated?
Thanks to many years of eliminating nagging unfounded worries, I can suppress fear, and focus on positive outcomes. But I can’t prevent stray thoughts from popping up like the last few popcorn kernels. My daughter is 35 now, but I still overthink when she doesn’t return my texts.
As a certified yoga therapist, I recognize fear is one of the most prevalent emotions. Band-aid approaches don’t solve the issue.
Sometimes I share with my students a :60 audio recording from Sadhguru. The yogi and mystic says, “To fear is always about what happens next. That means your fear is always about that which does not exist. Your suffering is always about that which does not exist...It amounts to insanity. You're not rooted in reality”
“Fear is a predominating force in the human mind,” said Radhanath Swami.
The spiritual leader, activist, and humanitarian spoke of pervading angst or apprehension that interfere with our well-being. “Deep down, this fear of death...of loss…of not being to myself or others what I want to be [restricts us].”
Radhanath Swami frequently refers to the stories from the "Bhagavad Gita" and other ancient sacred texts. During this gathering, he recalled Lord Krishna’s words, “Surrender to God, and become free from fear.”
That relief, Radhanath Swami explained, comes through experiencing the infinite joy and beauty of God: Krishna, a child of God. There is freedom and a feeling of shelter when we surrender to a higher source.
Krishna says, in Bhagavad Gita, 18.65-66, “Always think of me. Be devoted to me. Offer your homage to me. Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.”
Rather than obsessing about what does not exist (the future), let go and seek shelter from the omnipotent one.
“We want to control our environment, and that's the biggest problem…we are not the controllers. We can try our best, but ultimately things will forever remain out of our control.”
That struck a chord. I feel most comfortable and fearless when I am in control. The unexpected, or relying on others, can test me. But, I don’t let fear take over. I try to manifest or focus on positive outcomes.
Radhanath Swami says positivity is our true nature. But sometimes, we disconnect from what is deep within. “The nature of the soul is ananda (bliss), to be happy. Material life, from a spiritual perspective, is all different forms of a nightmare.”
He addresses those negative powers in “The Wisdom Tree.” “Material desire and fear are like the two sides of a coin. Therefore, the whole world is fearful of death and suffering. However, if one remembers God with true devotion, fear disappears and it cannot stand before God.”
Who wants to cling to fear and negativity? Reach for spirituality to feed your soul.