The Truth about Fear

Fear! We all have it and we all loathe it. Especially with a disease like Diabetes. We can’t just be casual about things, especially illness, as our whole life depends on staying as healthy as possible. I have always been pretty driven by fear. Even before I knew I was Diabetic. Being a more sensitive type my nervous system literally hops into overdrive whenever I perceive a threat, whether mental or emotional. I had hoped that my yoga practice would stave off fear but to be honest although it does keep me calm, I have spent a great deal of my life habitually reacting to thoughts. That’s why I love Gyan Yoga, the Yoga of the mind, as it explains in simple terms what fear is and how to work with it.

Many people feel that fear is False Evidence Appearing Real, or that fear is the opposite of love, but in reality fear is an emotion which begins as a thought. A thought about something that threatens our stability or happiness. It’s amazing how fear magnifies when we keep replaying a particular thought. I.e What if I get worse? What if my blood sugar doesn’t come down? What if this… what if that… Once we start bugging that thought it builds in momentum and turns into a forest fire. So what’s the antidote?

The first step is to catch yourself reacting to the thought and to ask yourself why am I reacting? Why do I feel threatened in this situation? Rather then trying all the new age tactics of replacing a fear thought with a love thought or speaking some affirmation try and hold onto the thought  and if it tries to get away bring it back. Notice that no matter how hard you try to hang on it doesn’t stay. Thoughts are elusive, they have no existence of their own. Without you being present does a thought have any meaning? And how many thoughts have come and gone in your life? Did a thought ever kill you?

Logically working through fear and reasoning with yourself is a practical and supportive way to see things as they are.  A thought can never bug you. You BUG the thought.

Sitting quietly for a few moments is a great way to experience yourself as the one having the thoughts. What follows is a simple mindfulness exercise.

Rachel Zinman Yoga

Sit comfortably with a long spine.

Bring your awareness to your breath and simply observe the breath as it flows in and out of your nostrils, softly letting go of all thoughts.

Notice the coolness of the breath on your nostrils as you inhale, and the warmth of the breath on your nostrils as you exhale.

You can also place your finger on the spot right above the centreline of your top lip and tap it a few times to bring more awareness to the area where the breath leaves and enters the nose.

Whenever you notice that your mind has wandered, simply bring your focus back to the breath and feel the sensation of the breath on the nostrils; bring your focus back to the breath without judgement.

As many times as your thoughts may wander, use the action of breath awareness to refocus your mind gently away from your thoughts.  It does not matter how many times the mind wanders, this is simply a practice to quiet the mind to develop a deeper mind/body connection.

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