Mostly because it keeps smacking me up upside the head.
Well, no, that's not how it comes to me ... it sneaks in wherever I happen to be most vulnerable at the time ... it enters wherever I'm weak, slithers through my body, working its way to my heart ... where it declares its presence with a cold, slimy, bottomless-pit sort of pronouncement -- like a cross between a maniacal laugh and a sinister whisper.
And just to be sure it's gotten my attention, it permeates my whole body ... with chills, tremors, paralysis, and weighed-down muscles -- not to mention rushing doomsday-thoughts.
Now, the worst sort of fear is the nebulous sort. I mean, fear makes sense, and is even rather handy, when it warns you about an intruder, an oncoming truck, a snarling dog, or a snake about to strike ...
But when it's of the free-floating anxiety persuasion ... well, then it's hard to diagnose, much less to deal with.
Here's a real-life, and current example: to the best of my ability to discern, I've been plagued, for as long as I can remember, with the fear of making a decision.
Yes, this opinionated, feisty, stubborn, tenacious and obstinate woman is afraid of making decisions. Specifically, the fear of making the *wrong* decision.
And ... I've been wondering why this is.
AND ... I think I had an aha-moment-of-insight about it today.
So, bear with me as I ruminate outloud ... to see if I can put my primordially formulating thoughts into typed-out words.
Quite honestly, I believe that this is due to my fear-of-God hang-over. Fear was the background music of my early life ... whether real, or just my childhood impression, the threat of punishment loomed over me regularly ... there were many ways I could break the rules, and I seemed to manage to do so quite regularly. Now, this is not to blame anyone ... we all give what we received ... we pass on that with which we are most familiar. We all do the best we can, with what we know at the time.
Still ... I was quite familiar with fear -- it would be fair to say that it was my baseline "normal" state of being.
Then came the introduction of God into my life ... and make no mistake, this was a fearsome God. This God actually commanded, and demanded, that I fear Him. And, to ensure that the fear would be real, lifelong, and effective, the threat of endless torment in hell, for those who behaved/believed wrongly (i.e., those who "made the wrong decisions") was the lynchpin for the deal.
The message was clear to me, in a plethora of overt and covert messages: MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION, OR ELSE SUFFER PUNISHMENT!
So, life became a frantic, frenetic frenzy of trying to make sure that I made the RIGHT decisions ... by adhering to the following guidance:
~ Do what you're told by those who are in charge.
~ Conform to what those in charge expect of you.
~ Follow all the rules.
~ Don't think for yourself.
~ Don't trust your heart/feelings (for they are deceptively wicked).
~ Don't ask questions (this indicates rebellion).
~ Don't challenge authority (this is outright rebellion).
In other words, "you'd better get it right, but you can't trust yourself to know how to get it right, so be safe by just doing what you're told, what's expected, and then you won't be punished."
Fast-forward a few decades ... I've worked through that view of God ... no longer believing in hell, or that God has anything to do with fear, or that we're here to be obedient, or that there's any sort of absolute sense of right/wrong, or that conformity is the purpose of life.
In other words, I no longer THINK this way.
And YET, this nebulous fear sneaks up on me, on a regular basis ... so something else, beyond my conscious thoughts, is in operation here.
This tells me that it's a core belief ... something implanted in my subconsciousness when I was young, likely before the concrete-reasoning age of 7, when I was like a little sponge, soaking up whatever I was given ... this was not my own belief ... it was one that I inherited, and it's one that is no longer serving me.
Here's what Gregg Braden says about the foundations of our beliefs, in his book, "The Spontaneous Healing of Belief":
Estimates are that upwards of 90 percent of our daily live are directed from the subconscious level. Our success and happiness, our failures and suffering, our physical conditions ... and even our life expectancy have all been linked to our subconscious beliefs. And usually the most damaging ones begin early on, as we allow the experiences of other people to become the template for our own.
Studies have shown that until the age of seven, our brains are in a hypnogogic or dreamlke state, where the mind is absorbing everything it can about our surroundings. During this time, we're literally like little sponges, spending our days soaking up information about the world around us with no filters to tell us what's appropriate and what's not ... we pay the price for dealing with life from such a quick and reactive place -- especially when our reactions are based on the beliefs of other people that we learned to mimic early in life.
What we really believe (subconsciously, rather than what we think we believe consciously) is being mirrored back to us in the form of our most intimate romantic relationships, friendships, businesses, and careers -- and even in the condition of our health. The world is nothing more and nothing less than a reflection of what we believe, both as individuals and collectively, consciously and subconsciously.
Our most troubling beliefs aren't even our own -- but have come directly from our caregivers.
Looks like a nasty and unavoidable set-up, no?
So, what to do with these pesky (& false) core beliefs that haunt us, and rule our lives, unconsciously...?
How can we let go of what aren't even our own beliefs, so that we can freely choose to believe what works for us, for our lives now...?
More on that ... next time!
Shalom & Namaste ~