Distinguishing Between Externally Based Fear Versus Internally Based Fear
A very important emotion all of us must learn to deal with is fear. No one can escape fear. To help you deal with it -- like everything else I am presenting -- I want to provide with a broader and more in depth understanding. Fear, in general, is an emotion that, without adequate understanding, can overtake you as much as anyone else.
First, let’s look at the definition of fear. Definition: “A feeling of agitation and anxiety caused by the presence or imminence of danger.”
When you experience fear, when you feel some sort of imminent danger, you do various things to maintain a feeling of safety, protection and control. You want to feel safe and protected at all times. To feel safe and protected at all times, you have to have a level of control. Please Note: You feel safe and protected only to the extent that you have control. Feeling this way and maintaining this type of behavior is a very healthy approach to life. This is more than acceptable under everyday life circumstances.
However, it all depends upon the type of fear we’re referring to and what the circumstances are. You’re probably asking, “What do you mean by ‘type’ of fear?” I want to make a critical and important distinction about fear. Part of that distinction is that there are two types of fear that you’re dealing with.
These two types of fear are internally-based fear and externally-based fear. What is “externally-based fear”? “Externally-based fear” originates as a result of being fearful of something that is present in your immediate surroundings outside of you. For example: You’re in the wrong part of town, it’s very late at night, and there is a realistic possibility that there may be a threat to your safety by someone or something in the immediate surrounding area. As a result, you may think, “I’m scared”, or, “I’m anxious”. This type of fear is valid. It helps you to protect yourself from danger and keep you safe. In this case the possibility of perceived harm, or the imminent danger, originates from something outside of you, i.e., from you being in the wrong part of town at the wrong time.
What is “internally-based fear?” “Internally-based fear” originates as a result of being fearful of something that is present inside of you. For example: You’re at home reflecting on a past incident or life experience that you find upsetting. Then in the midst of this reflection you start to feel sad, anxious, scared, afraid, or fearful. Here you are -- in the comfort and privacy of your own home, and you’re experiencing fear or anxiety. How could that be? Remember, you’re at home. There is no danger currently present outside of you in your immediate environment. In your home setting, you would expect to feel in control, as well as safe and protected. Based on your external environment, there is no basis for the fear or discomfort. However, this is not that type of fear. This is not externally-based fear. This is internally-based fear because the fear is originating from within you in response to something that you’re reflecting on in the privacy and safety of your own home.
Another example of internally-based fear is waking up in the morning and simply feeling anxious or fearful. Your home is safe. There are no threats in your immediate surroundings. What could possibly be evoking fear or anxiety for you when there is no form of threat currently present in your environment? This type of fear or anxiety has to do with something very different from what you often think of as externally-based fear. So where is this fear coming from?
Also - "Where" is the Present Moment?
The “moment” I say something, that moment is already gone. It’s faster than a nanosecond. Notice that when you’re thinking, your mind will tend to have thoughts about the past, i.e. something that may have even occurred just seconds ago or an event that happened seconds, minutes, hours, days, months or years ago. These thoughts, be it seconds ago or years ago, are considered thoughts of the past. On the other hand, your mind may focus on something in the future that’s seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, or years away. All of this, no matter what the timeline, is still in the future.
Living in the Present Moment
You may already be doing your best to be present to what you’re doing this moment. That’s a very good first step. However, there’s more to it than being present in a given task. Even when you’re engaging in a task, notice that the task is constantly changing. The moments you’re attempting to be present to are also disappearing right before your very eyes. Because the task itself is constantly changing, the task, per se, is unable to exist in the Present Moment. It appears that everything is in constant flux. Everything outside of you is always in flux; it’s always changing. Everything within the physical world, including your own body, is always going through some sort of transition, and with it, some form of change. Nothing “out there” is able to stay in the Present Moment. So what is the Present Moment?
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Familiar Thought Patterns of an Untrained Mind - Part One
Let’s talk about the topic of Familiar Thought Patterns of an Untrained Mind. In an earlier presentation, I introduced the first familiar thought pattern -- Trying to Figure it All Out. This was followed by Three Negative Thought Patterns:
- “This is a good idea" versus "This is not a good idea," regarding any number of issues that you are reflecting on throughout the day.
- A ping pong match that never ends -- your mind goes back and forth continuously. Possible solutions to the debate lie not in trying to win the debate, but in letting the debate go; or, depending upon the nature of the debate, the solution may be to simply realize that either choice you make is correct. This ends the debate.
The Second Familiar Thought Pattern is: The Dialogue – it consists of:
- The simple habit of talking to yourself.
- The conversation you have that is going on inside with an imaginary person (or with yourself).
- The long-entrenched habit you allow the mind to engage in throughout your life.
What is the purpose? I don’t know. It’s just a habit. What I do know is that the habit has unknowingly helped you disconnect from your Heart because the focus is on your thoughts, not on your Heart.The Possible solution to this is to journal the “discussion” you have with yourself when you have the time. In the meantime, let the dialogue go.
The Third Familiar Thought Pattern is: The Monologue – it consists of:
- The stream of thoughts that seem to just continually flow from your mind.
- The “shopping” list, or your “to do” list.
- Simply talking to yourself about who knows what.
A Possible solution to this is to simply “write it down” instead of trying to keep it all in your head. Like all the other patterns, the best solution is to let the monologue go.
The Fourth Familiar Thought Pattern is: Comparing – it consists of:
- Comparing yourself to others in a way that puts you down and them up (the inferiority approach), or comparing yourself to others in a way that puts you up and them down (the superiority approach). Don’t confuse comparing with simply “evaluating” something for its possible benefits.Comparing is about elevating one person or thing while putting down the “other” -- whatever the “other” is. Ultimately, comparing enables you to judge someone or something. This kind of comparing serves no purpose. The only solution to this is to let it go when it surfaces.
The Fifth Familiar Thought Pattern is: Habitual Thinking – it consists of:
- Anything or anyone – it’s your mind’s favorite place to go when it’s bored.
- A series of various thought which patterns of all sorts of thoughts that you continually perpetuate.
These thoughts serve no real purpose, except to keep the mind at the races. They are sometimes found in individuals who do not pay attention to their thought content or simply aren’t lovingly disciplining their mind. The best solution to this is to enjoy your breath.
Now I’ll summarize all of the familiar thoughts patterns which the mind engages, including the four previous ones that I introduced earlier:
All of these examples I’ve just given you highlight the importance of monitoring your thoughts or avoid giving too much importance to the inner voice in your head.
Choose to replace your constant thinking with consciously breathing!!!