The root of all unhappiness is simple – it’s fear. We are so familiar with fear, it is such an intrinsic part of people’s lives that few ever give it much thought, it’s just there, manifesting as every form of dread, worry and concern. You may have heard it said that the only thing to fear is fear itself, but have you ever stopped to think about it? Did you think it applied just to certain things at certain times, or did you just reject the idea out of hand as obviously untrue?
Just for a moment, consider what your life would be like without fear, worry, anxiety, hate or terror. It would be bliss wouldn’t it? Heaven on Earth! All these sufferings are actually one thing, fear manifesting in various forms. When people speak of fear, they usually equate it with terror, a moment of particularly strong imminent peril. In fact fear is much more far-reaching than terror, but it boils down to one thing – sadness, and because we feel sadness, we experience suffering.
Fear is, logically speaking, actually completely unnecessary and a waste of energy, because fear is the grieving for something you’re not losing right now. It is the anticipation of being hurt by pain, or more often by loss. It causes people to behave in all kinds of unpleasant ways. If subconsciously you believe that you can take out the threat, you experience hate, anger and aggression. If you can’t fight it but believe you can escape it, you feel fear, worry, anxiety and terror. If you believe that there is no way to escape an impending doom, you experience bitterness, depression and cynicism. You will probably be able to relate to all these behaviours.
In almost all cases, the fear is misplaced and the resultant behaviour it produces is inappropriate. It is bad for you as an individual and everyone around you in just about every way, physiologically, mentally and materially. That being the case, why are so many people doing it? The answer is simply a case of civilisation racing ahead of evolution. Our fear instinct is there for a good reason: to protect us in a hostile environment, and to maintain the highest possible ranking in the tribe.
These were quite handy instincts on the African Savanna where we originated, but in modern civilisation fear can seriously get in the way, because our desire for convenience order and progress has now come into conflict with primordial urges that are no respecter of change. While the development of technology and civilisation is accelerating, evolution has been left standing.
There are many who think that it is possible for some people to become free of fear by amassing wealth, possessions, power and success, or distract themselves with all kinds of sensual pleasure, but look closer at people who have achieved all this and you find them no less fearful or less unhappy, in fact they’re often more fearful and more unhappy fighting an endless battle to keep what they have. Those who are both affluent and happy would have been happy anyway, because they are the lucky few for whom happiness and a positive outlook comes naturally to them.
I’m not arguing for a moment that poverty doesn’t matter or there’s no point striving for success, because clearly it’s better, but that’s not the same thing as happiness. You are better off richer than poorer, but it is equally true to say that you are better off happier than richer. Dig down to the roots of unhappiness and you’ll find fear.
To eliminate fear from your life, or at least stop it spoiling your life and the lives of others nearby by your behaviour born of fear, you have to know where fear is coming from, and it isn’t the world out there. It is in fact your mind. Remember, fear is about things not happening right now. If bad things are not happening now, it must be your mind that is deciding to be upset by the world, not the world actually doing anything. If you can change the way your mind deals with the information it’s getting, you can stop being afraid, stop feeling bad, stop behaving badly and start making a real positive difference to the world around you.
If you want your mind to change the way your mind reacts, you are going to need to completely overhaul your concept of reality. Most people have the notion that reality is a fixed objective thing – the way that it is that is obvious to us all. But as a matter of fact, when you actually examine what people perceive as reality, it turns out that your “reality” is unique to you. It is subjective, not objective. There are things that a lot of us view similarly, there are others that are our unique view. Your view of reality is the result of a complex cocktail of genetics, experience, environment and upbringing. It is not a fixed thing at all, it is a pliable flexible thing that is constantly evolving as we gain more and new experience.
So then, the first requirement in eliminating fear from your life is not eliminating things in your environment, but accepting that your view of reality needs to change. Of course some would argue they’d be a lot less fearful if they had lots of money and lived in a nice place, but what actually happens to people who do make big gains is that their new-found happiness does not last. Their new environment starts to become normal and they return to the same level of happiness they were in the first place. You only have to pick up any celebrity gossip magazine to see that this is true.
Only if you are prepared to accept that reality may be different from how you’ve been seeing it can you truly eliminate fear from your life. It is beyond the scope of this talk to cover the true nature of reality, but what you can be sure of to begin with is that it’s nothing like how you’re experiencing it. For a start, it’s nothing like how it looks and feels. If you just went by your five senses, it would be obvious that the Earth was flat and that the sun rose in the east, travels across the sky and sets in the west. Only through the development of technology has it become obvious that how it looks is nothing like how it is, and that we are in fact on a sphere that is orbiting a star.
In just the same way, it seems obvious that the world is an interplay between matter, or stuff, and energy like light, heat and sound. In fact there is no stuff at all. It turns out that stuff is just dense fields of energy.
In true reality there is quite literally nothing there, just energy and consciousness that enables you to experience it. It is your mind that is constructing the three-D surround-sound experience that you call life and reality, and if you want it to, you can completely change your experience just by changing the way your mind thinks.
It turns out that the remedy for fear is faith. Since the only true certainty is consciousness, everything else has to be an assumption. It is what you believe that shapes your reality. If you believe that life is awful, that is what you will experience. If you believe life is an exciting joyride, then that’s what you’ll experience. So then, to change your experience, you must be prepared to accept that your perception of reality is flawed. It doesn’t work in the way you think it does. Whatever your experience has been so far, it is only one experience in an infinity of experiences, and you must accept that you don’t have all the information.
The way to change belief is to tackle it one aspect at a time, making a new assumption and testing it. To begin eliminating fear from your life, start with this new assumption: what goes around comes around. For a trial period of 30 days, every day, aim to do at least one good thing for somebody and not expect anything back. Buy a new notebook and every day write down in the notebook the something you did and also one thing you were grateful for that happened on that day. When the 30 days are up, you will have the proof that by thinking and acting positive that you can change your world.
You will now be well on the way to eliminating fear from your life by seeing that you are not a victim at all but the creator of your own destiny. Once you have had this experience, you will be ready to move on and discover that the reality is that you cannot lose and so there is nothing to fear, because what you’ve been calling life is much bigger and better than you ever realised.
In my experience, a lot of people are happy to stay in their comfort zone and tolerate the fear and consequent unhappiness they live with. Only those who are absolutely sick of suffering and unhappiness and their own behaviour spoiling everything are ready to grasp the prize on offer – a life completely free of fear, where at every moment they experience the most profound sense of peace of mind and underlying happiness. Why not make a move today? You have nothing to lose but fear and unhappiness!