We are living in fear filled days. Fires, violence, sickness and death seem to dominate our news and our conversations. And even if we try and filter our news and conversations, fear finds other ways to manifest itself. Fear can come from the idea of being separated from something or someone that we think we need in order to feel secure or happy. Fear can come from being threatened by others. Fear can come from ignorance or self grasping. Fear can come from a past traumatic event that leaves a lasting influence. And, of course, fear of death can also have a very powerful effect.
When we let our fear or anger based emotions take up residence, it gives those emotions more power than they deserve. In yoga, we call these impressions Samaskaras. They are often compared to grooves in the road that get driven over again and again. Over time, these imprints begin to contribute to behavior patterns that can then lead to the forming of habits. Then that fear takes hold and feeds upon itself. One way to combat this negative cycle is to acknowledge the source of the fear and ask yourself why you feel this way.
- Do you have a fear of losing someone or something?
- Do you have a fear based on a threat from an outside force?
- Do you have a fear based on grasping or ignorance?
- Do you have a fear based on a traumatic event in the past?
- Do you have a fear of death?
Once you ask yourself these questions and acknowledge their presence, say to yourself “I am feeling this way because of my fear of ______ and I am not going to allow these feelings to create a Samaskara.”
Let that fearful thought move through you and don’t allow it to stick or create a rut or groove. It’s as if your mind/body is a filter and you let the worst of it pass through, not allowing it to take up residence. Then see if there is something positive or loving to focus on in its place.
In the wisdom of Buddha:
The thought manifests as the word, The word manifests as the deed, The deed develops into habit, And habit hardens into character; So watch the thought and its ways with care, And let it spring from love. Born out of concern for all beings.. As the shadow follows the body, As we think, so we become. Buddha