The Balanced Millennial: Living Balanced Life in an Unbalanced World
The Cycle of Fear
By: Rowan Faefire
We live today in a society of fear. Fear of rape, fear of attack, fear of drugs, fear of failure, fear of not being accepted, the list can go on and on and on. Part of it we grew up with, all of it was learned from outside influences. As a society, we have chosen to integrate this fear into ourselves to a point where it is eroding the very foundation of the way we live. Which, in turn, allows for more fear to come about. Thus the cycle continues on and on. What if we learned to break that cycle on a societal level? In order to do that, the cycle has to be broken on a personal level first.
To break the fear cycle on a personal level, let us first understand that time is an illusion, as discovered by Albert Einstein. To quote Doctor Who, it is a bunch of “wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff” and thus, not linear. Secondly, that a person’s consciousness can be anywhere in this universe, or even anywhere in the multiverse, at any given point in what we call time. For example, when a person is sitting at their desk and just staring off into space daydreaming, fantasizing about how their dinner date will go later that night, they’re actually living those moments as a possible reality. So when a person replays a memory over and over in their mind, they are reliving those memories.
In the Warrior Within Release Program, Alfred Willowhawk discusses fear as an acronym, “False Expectations Appearing Real.” Continuing with the example of the dinner date, person one, based on past experience, expects that their date will go horribly, that person two will be a jerk, the food will be terrible, the waitress will spill food all over their hundred dollar dress, and the whole night will be just a wreck. This expectation is false, as we can never know what the future truly holds. Person one is projecting their fear from memories of terrible relationships and horrible dinner dates of the past, continuing the cycle of fear.
On the flip side, person one, while they were “daydreaming”, visiting that alternate reality, they could make a different choice. They could interfere in their own thoughts and say to their fears “Whoa, whoa whoa. Hold on a minute here. I don’t truly know what is going to happen. This is a different person, a different restaurant, a different time. Let’s not think the worst.” We can choose to constantly relive the past in a continuous cycle over and over, or we can choose to break free and make a new cycle, a new pattern.
In the 2013 movie After Earth, Will Smith states “The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me, the danger is very real, but fear is a choice.” As human beings, we have the power to change our reality. We have the power to overcome our insanity. Because we are insane. The definition of insanity, according to Albert Einstein, is to repeat the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. For example, we all have had that friend who was in a relationship and was treated horribly. Male or female, it doesn’t matter. It happens across the board. As a side note, if you don’t have this friend, you ARE that friend. This friend gets out of that relationship and says “never again.” Time passes and they find another relationship with a person exactly the same as the person they just left and they wonder why it isn’t working out. Or even worse, they go back to the same person that treated them horribly without any evidence that person changed other than the words “I’m sorry, I’ve changed.” The friend chose to go back into the exact same situation and expected a different outcome because they have a fear that they won’t find anything better and anything is better than being alone. Thus they are continuing to live in a cycle of insanity, a cycle of fear. EVERYTHING is a choice, including fear.
Let us discuss this on a societal level now. Instead of facing and overcoming our personal fears, we pass them on. We teach our children, to fear the world we live in. Our news is presented in such a way as to keep our minds focused on what is wrong with the world, thus enhancing our fear of the world. We deny the fear that we feel and thus project our own fears onto the people in our environment. For example, a woman who fears men gets it into her head to educate young women about what rape and abuse really are. While this is a perfectly wonderful intention, it can do more damage than good. It passes on the fear of this one woman onto many young women. I am not suggesting that children should not know what is going on in our world, merely stating my personal opinion that the approach of teaching them is doing more damage than good to our general society. Our personal fears, projected onto another, projected onto many, continues and grows the cycle of fear we live in. My suggestion is this: Each individual take responsibility for their own fears and break the cycle within to break the cycle without.
Once the fear cycle is broken, then what? Stop looking for reasons to be afraid! Do not listen to the violence and negativity on the news. Be aware of how you react to other people and examine how those reactions occur. If you find that those reactions come from a place of fear, make a different choice next time. Try approaching the world with the joy and innocence of a child. After all, we were not born fearful, we were taught to be fearful.
Continuing the fear cycle is a choice. Our personal and societal insanity comes from our refusal to make the choice to break our fear cycle and keep it broken. There are many different ways to overcome fear, the key is to stop looking for reasons to be afraid. Thus the cycle stays broken. If every person reading this article decides to break their fear cycle, and keep it broken, I imagine that our society can begin to heal and thus begin to make the world a better place.
Rowan Faefire was born in Columbia, MD in 1992. She is a second-degree priestess of a traditional coven. Growing up, Rowan always had a passion for helping people. After going through the Warrior Within Release Program, Rowan now teaches classes and helps facilitate balance for others.