Who else can it be? I hear you say. I suggest you consider again: What is the source of your fears?
If we could return to the moment of our birth, maybe we could understand what it means to be truly fearless.
But yes, you are right; we cannot go back to that day! Instead, we can look at newborn babies and very young children. The only fear they have is for survival—such as being detached from their mothers, who are their protectors and feeders, or being in danger for their lives. Even then, if we could ask them, they may not call this “fear”!
A while ago, I was reading a section in a book by my friend Cem Şen named The Breathing Book, which was about the human brain. This is my favorite subject, and it immediately engaged me. He was briefly talking about the three different divisions that form our brains.
First, the reptilian brain is the primitive brain and is primarily concerned with keeping the body alive, although it also forms habits. Second, the mammalian brain controls and manages our senses and feelings. Finally, above these two, there is the cerebral cortex and its most crucial segment: the neo-cortex! This third part is what makes us all human with its ability to think abstractly or logically, plan, and strategize.
Even with just this quick summary, the picture is crystal clear. Survival functions come from our reptilian brain, such as anger, fear, and sexual desire, as well as the basic habits of survival needed for continuity. Feelings come from the mammalian brain, such as love, generosity, protectiveness and of course our social nature. On top of this, we have the well-known part of the brain with its curly outlook, the cerebral cortex. This is the “thinking” part of us and the part that gives us our personality and very consciousness.
Actually, I direct my question to the brain: “Is it really you who has the fear?”
Fear inside the Brain
If control passes to the reptilian brain or to the mammalian brain, the final decision will be made to satisfy their needs. The reptilian brain will say, “You need to stay alive” and will try to keep the status quo. You might guess that in any conflict the reptilian brain will usually be the winner. However, when the mammalian brain takes control, it incorporates feelings into the decision, which I’m not sure is better or worse.
Both of these brains do their duties perfectly. However, when it is time to take a decision to proceed, they may sabotage the situation with all their good intentions! In particular, maintaining the status quo is the worst enemy of development and innovation.
I know we cannot deny that they also have many positive contributions. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be so enjoyable discovering life repeatedly every day. Our built-in habits help us easily deal with our everyday routines. Usually we do not need to remember our bodily functions; they happen automatically. It would be strange to say to our lungs, “C’mon, you need to breathe now!” as we need to breathe 15 times every minute. This would also be very laborious! Likewise, it would be strange to control the liver with, “It’s eleven o’clock; you have to work now.”
It’s so good that our primal needs are met so easily. However, Life is multi-faceted, and when you need to meet needs too, things start to have a different face. Let’s say that you are in a habitual occupation or in a habitual relationship, but these attachments are not satisfying you in certain aspects. You desire a change, but when this desire arises, the reptilian and mammalian brains protest in panic. Yes, be prepared to face anxiety and fear!
Where do these diligent brains find the source for it all? To find the answer to this question, you do not need to look far; just look inside, into yourself! All the information stored in you, gathered from the moment of your birth, will be the source of these emotions.
For a child, there is darkness and bogeymen. In fairy tales, there are giants and dwarfs, as well as witches always doing bad things. There is losing and there is winning. There are awards and punishments. Even love can become part of a penalty, becoming a subject of fear.
Even if we try to disguise it, there is death. How can we expect parents to talk about death as a matter of course when they fear it themselves.
To Fear From Life
Still, just think once again in this frame of mind. Being born should be the most frightening experience in life, coming into existence out of nonexistence, into matter out of nothingness, transforming, changing and growing…
But we celebrate every birth with joy. When our hidden teeth cut out or our bones extend and we grow in height, we become happy. We are charmed when we discover sexuality.
So, what about aging, losing, and decaying into nothingness again? Why are we are so afraid of these? Is it merely the idea of losing something we once had? Why is having something so important?
Why do we always want to define our personalities by the things we have? This makes it so easy to make you lose yourself, your personality, just by stripping you of your possessions.
Humans have had amnesia from the time of creation. It means we have forgotten where we came from, who we are, and where we are going to. Comings are not frightening, but goings always bring fear. “Each ending is a new beginning.” We hear this saying and a cunning smile appears on our lips. Today we see it in a movie: A colorful life starting in old age and ending in childhood. Ah, this is just one of all those fantastic Hollywood stories…
Be Aware of Your Fear
I’m not telling you, “Do not fear!” Actually, I’m saying “Do fear,” and fear to survive. If there is a situation that genuinely threatens your life, don’t hesitate in fighting back or running away.
However, also remember to ask yourself every time you feel fear, “Is it really me who has this fear?” If your fear is not for survival, or if it sounds similar to the stories you were told, I say, “This fear is not yours!”
Over the centuries, different fears were created and invented to control humans and sentence society to live in a culture of fear. People fear ignorance and these days even fear too much knowledge.
Are you aware? Please, be so.
Every poison has an antidote. The antidote for your fears is in yourself; it is in your thinking and belief system, and you just need to evoke it.
Do you remember that familiar curly brain, the “thinking” brain from earlier? Yes, that is the source of all the solutions. All you need to do is to calm down the reptilian brain and think.
Now be aware or not, but our most fundamental duty is to have control over our thoughts and have will power.