I was at Brighten Bush hot springs gift store and this book jumped right out at me and grabbed me. The cover, an image of a dark, craggy, old, leafless tree, typified the heavy, overgrown, ominous trees that tend to somehow, inexplicably, surround haunted houses.
I thought, “Who would write a book like that and put a freaky cover on it like that? How will that attract a buyer? That’s crazy!”
But I couldn’t resist picking it up and looking at the back to see the short comments and recommendations. When I turned it over I was mesmerized by the photo of the author, Pema Chodron. Her bright, smiling face, short cropped hair (a buzz to be exact), and Buddhist nun robes, didn’t speak of someone who would delve into scary places. However, her eyes held something more than a typical smiling, middle aged woman’s eyes. Her eyes shone with a glint of someone who knows; someone who has been to those scary places and lived to tell about it. Being in a place of fear myself, I bought the book, hoping to learn her secret. The secret to overcoming my fears.
Her writing was easy to read — warm, compassionate, even funny. She talked about her life, her challenges, her pain and her triumphs. She shared methods she learned or discovered which allowed her to put her fears into perspective.
The biggest jewel I came away with is a mental exercise to be done when triggered emotionally. When you feel your emotions rise, unpleasantly, as they do with fear for example, you pause and remove the story for a moment. Literally you imagine the story that is triggering your emotion being removed from where you are and set to the side. Once you do this you can feel the energy purely, without the story, and you can see that it is only energy with a particular signature; the signature of fear. Realizing how much of what you are feeling is simply a strong energy with a fingerprint of a feeling helps you allow that energy to dissipate.
You can also go a step further, as my teacher Tom Brown Jr. explained, and set the feeling or emotion aside as well, to then feel the energy purely, without the emotion or feeling or story attached. The pure energy is nothing to be afraid of and once that is understood, easy to release.
Having control of that energy is incredibly helpful in overcoming fear.
The most difficult part of this mental exercise is REMEMBERING TO DO IT when the emotions rise!
Give it a try. I would love to hear how it works for you. Or share something that has helped you overcome your fears.