In the Midst of Our Darkest Fears Emerge Our Wildest Dreams.

Via on Apr 13, 2012
Photo credit: Tanya Lee Markul

I have always felt that fear needed me somehow.

That in some way it was responsible for my gravitational pull and if I let it go, I’d be carried slowly off into deep space. Lost, isolated and set to drift out there forever.

I internalized fear even before I had a language to describe it. It crept namelessly into my life at such a tender young age that I don’t remember the exact moment it became parasitic. Aside from my parental governing or lack thereof, I was, like most of us, raised within a culture of fear mongering—politics, education, the media, the economy, religion and war—there’s not enough to go around, you will be punished for actions outside of the rules, suppress your expression, you need to be controlled and don’t you dare color outside of the lines!

Throughout my life, fear’s intimidation tactics taught me shame and its incessant nagging made me capable of summoning superior amounts of guilt. It also demanded that I constantly re-live the past—turning unhappy bygone experiences into new anxiety over and over again. It has influenced me, shaped me and controlled me probably even more than I realize up to this very moment.

Fear is a universal emotion. It’s life’s greatest manipulator and it is the basic ingredient for all of mankind’s dilemmas.

The gist of experiences that translated into poisonous layers during the early years of my life were abandonment, rejection and death—all three throughout my life have led me to believe it was my destiny to live in the dark shadows of emotional fear forever. Every downward spiral, every emotional black hole, every bad habit, every bout of anger, sadness, anxiety and every ounce of resistance has led me right back into the arms of fear. It’s stealth and intricate—it grew roots in my childhood and has branched out into nearly every aspect of my life.

For many of us, fear is how we gauge our next step forward or how we justify the decisions we make. Fear can be viewed with a deep understanding of life! 

Look around. Why don’t human beings get along with one another, with nature? Look within. Why aren’t you living the life you want to live? Working a job you really love? Why aren’t you expressing, sharing, being who you really are? Who this life needs you to be?

Fear influences us into thinking we are powerless, worthless and incapable of our wildest dreams. Fear can make us believe that we need to be controlled, that we must limit how much we feel and that we shouldn’t trust our intuition. It can influence us to see the worst in ourselves and in other people—a habit that is deadly, paranoid, the opposite of living.

My intuition has been telling me for years to let go of the past, to let go of my fear.

In return, I’d argue back that this fear and all its sorts made me who I was. So how could I ever let go of it? And it was true. I was who I was, because I made it so.

I also used the excuse that I needed to dissect it more, analyze it and incessantly search the bottom of a bottomless well. And, most of us live in fear anyway. Why should I make the effort to creep outside of my little cave when most of the people around me were wallowing in it? Why let the neighborhood know I’d become vulnerable, open to change, myself, when I could end up the object of ridicule?

Because fear doesn’t dare walk alone, it brings with it other minions—aside from the usual, guilt, shame and anxiety it also invites sadness and anger, a lot of anger. And anger associates with all sorts of poisons: jealousy, greed, resentment, frustration, irritability, the feeling of insignificance and rage. Although some fears protect us from imminent and real danger, much of our fear is out of touch with reality, but still the same primitive impulse takes hold. When we live in a constant state of fight or flight, our organs suffer, our energy dissipates and according to Brian J. Zahn, we allow False Evidence to Appear Real.

A few years ago, Bill Tancer analyzed the most frequent online search queries that involved the words “fear of”. His results showed a top ten list of fears: flying, intimacy, the dark, death, spiders, driving, love, god, success and being alone.

In a 2005 Gallup poll in the U.S. a national sample of teens age 13 to 15 were asked what they feared the most. Here’s what they said: terrorist attacks, spiders, death, being a failure, war, heights, criminal or gang violence, being alone, the future and nuclear war.

Other common fears include in other various study results were a fear of ghosts, the existence of evil powers, snakes, tunnels, bridges, needles, public speaking, enclosed spaces, failure, social rejection, pain and damaging another person. And, a few more: fear of the pink slip, fear of unemployment benefits expiring, fear of balancing the checkbook, fear of a doctor’s examination results, fear of hearing about another senseless act of violence, fear of getting out of bed in the morning, fear of germs, fear of aging, fear of saying yes and ultimately, the fear of the utmost truth—that you are more capable of change, of creativity, of healing compassion, of connecting with nature more than you have ever thought possible—beyond your wildest dreams.

You just have to take one step beyond fear. Believe it. You can change. You can help others. You can make a difference. You are more powerful than suppression, destruction and fear. Aggression, punishment and war will never set you free. Neither will denial or false justifications. You already know this. You just have to believe it.

Life then transforms an oppressed hell into a beautiful and worthwhile adventure.

You are not your parents, you are not your childhood, you are not the abandonment, rejection or ridicule you may have experienced, you are not your shitty job or your education, you are not war—unless you deem it so. No my friend, you are so much more.

“There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy.”

~ Friedrich Nietzsche

According to various sources, there are 27, 59, 84 or perhaps 40 world wars taking place right now. There are over one billion hungry people. The Homeland of Security Advisory System in the United States has been set at ‘orange’ also known as ‘high risk of terrorist attacks’ since 2001. The past 2000 years more humans have been violently hurt, abused and killed by the hands of other humans more than any other force on this planet.

What would make anyone do such things other than fear?

Fear of unemployment. Fear of foreign cultures. Fear of being killed. Fear of retribution. Fear of being homeless. Fear of being friendless. Fear of being the first one to speak against the common opinion. Fear of the power of one’s self. Fear of effort. Fear of change.

Fear is a basic instinct, and without it we couldn’t judge real danger. It took me years to really understand that nearly all of us are deeply afraid of who we might really be. It can take a lifetime to learn how to distinguish between fear of real danger and the unsubstantiated fear. Most of us probably never fully learn it. We are taught unsubstantiated fear from childhood and as we grow up we nurture it with greed and neglect and feed it with anger and what ifs and what should have been.

Haven’t we learned enough from this type of fear? It doesn’t work for us. It never has and it never will.

Perhaps it is worth striving for a deeper understanding of the obstacles that hold us back—the obstacles of unsubstantiated fear. Once we lose the death-grip fear has on our lives, we are able to breathe, even see a bit more clearly. We can then investigate deeper into our consciousness, our abilities and find our unique self that is literally dying to come out.

The more we live without fear and the more we invite each other to live without fear, the more likely we will be able to come up with our own unique solutions to solve problems with compassion, creativity, confidence and with love. We can make our own revelations without having to be controlled by our own or other people’s fears.

The world needs you and the uniqueness you carry in your heart, in your being, in your soul. It doesn’t need another humanoid fear-clone.

Photo credit: Tanya Lee Markul

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

-Marianne Williamson

Read more:

10 Creative Ways to Make Money.

Work Harder, You Worthless Debt Slave!

Nature. Beauty. Gratitude.

 

About Tanya Lee Markul

Yoga Editor, Elephant Journal. I yoga, write, take photos and I investigate existentially. I got a thing for those who have found expression through some form of mastery or artistic fashion, and sincerity. (You set me free I set you). I adore anything that is equally cute and creepy. The most special ingredient you can find, be and put into anything is: yourself. Remember, everything you want, you already have and are. Look within. The more you use it, the more it will grow. For more randomness and love, visit me at Rebelle Lotus and, you don't want to miss the creative rebellion at Rebelle Society. Join us.

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40 Responses to “In the Midst of Our Darkest Fears Emerge Our Wildest Dreams.”

  1. Valerie Carruthers ValCarruthers says:

    Thank you, dear T for fearlessly plumbing the depths of your soul to write and share this. Sending this right out. Many blessings and Love. Taptaptap…xoxo

    • Tanya Lee Markul Tanya Lee Markul says:

      Thank you so much, Val and always thank you for your kindness and energy. Taptaptap. xoxoxox

  2. Lisa says:

    I love this! Eloquent and powerful.

  3. Tim says:

    I love the intent, but this piece makes some generalizations that would be more powerful if they weren't asked to bear more they're capable of lifting. "It’s life’s greatest manipulator and it is the basic ingredient for all of mankind’s dilemmas." Really? I could buy it's "a basic ingredient" or "it's my life's greatest manipulator," but to pose this as the final answer weakens the effort.

    I like that you mentioned some of the other negative qualities that can swamp us once we're vulnerable to fear, but any of the, say, Cardinal Sins could've served as a plausible culprits to the world's problems that you cited with fear following in their wake. As Mark Twain said, "To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail." Here we have fear as the bête noire to someone who has admirably beaten back hers.

  4. Kurt Wimberger says:

    WOW!

  5. Wonda Schoo says:

    Hey there. I found your site via Google at the same time as searching for a similar matter, your website got here up. It seems good. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to come back later.

  6. Sharon Marie says:

    Anxiety, Excitement, and Anger, sprinkled in with depression was my cocktail of emotions that I swam in for many years, not truly realizing it. The Fear kept me "protected" and "safe" from feeling anything else. Survival mode was comfortable to me and very familiar. Fear is a subtle foe appearing in many ways that you mention here. Thank you so much for writing this timely piece. Ever onward to peace, joy and hope. That is where I want to swim. Peace & Blessings

    • Tanya Lee Markul Tanya Lee Markul says:

      So beautifully said, Sharon! Thank you so much for taking the time. Onward to peace, joy and hope! xoxoxo

  7. Valerie Carruthers ValCarruthers says:

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Spirituality Homepage.

    Valerie Carruthers
    Please go and "Like" Elephant Spirituality on Facebook

  8. Robert Piper Robert Piper says:

    This article is absolutely incredible!!!!!!!!!

    This quote is epic, "Fear is a universal emotion. It’s life’s greatest manipulator and it is the basic ingredient for all of mankind’s dilemmas."

  9. Valerie Carruthers ValCarruthers says:

    Just posted to "Popular Lately" on the Elephant Spirituality Homepage.

    Valerie Carruthers
    Please go and "Like" Elephant Spirituality on Facebook

  10. [...] In the Midst of Our Darkest Fears Emerge Our Wildest Dreams. [...]

  11. Brilliant!! Love it Tanya. Clearly coming from such a beautiful, divine well of inspiration.

    Featuring tonight on Elephant Journal Facebook.

    Cheers,
    Jeannie Page

  12. lisa lindenlaub says:

    Beautiful, inspiring and true:)

    Buh bye approval! Buh bye fitting in! Buh bye fear!

    I’m going for it….

    Thank u brave soul<3

  13. Vikram Zutshi says:

    "You are not your parents, you are not your childhood, you are not the abandonment, rejection or ridicule you may have experienced, you are not your shitty job or your education, you are not war—unless you deem it so. No my friend, you are so much more."

    Indeed! Thank you Tanya. This is beautiful.

  14. [...] In the Midst of Our Darkest Fears Emerge Our Wildest Dreams. [...]

  15. [...] little boy tells us quite convincingly that we should not be afraid of [...]

  16. [...] In the Midst of Our Darkest Fears Emerge Our Wildest Dreams. [...]

  17. [...] is too hard and too short to not dance walk through [...]

  18. [...] I often wonder if hope always creates a living hell? [...]

  19. [...] but each time, some sort of magic happens. I feel as if his words lift me out of a slump, they send light when darkness descends and make me feel a sense of freedom that I know exists, I’m just too afraid to let it run [...]

  20. [...] There are relationships and friendships that just aren’t fixable—this includes family. There are situations that you can endure for only so long before you’ve grown them. There may come a crucial a time when you have to separate yourself from your family in order to do what is best for you and possibly for them. [...]

  21. [...] just for today, listen to your intuition and work towards achieving what you never thought you could. Be one with the process and you will [...]

  22. Ahmed says:

    What an incredible and inspiring piece of work right here. As I was reading it, my subconcious was actively trying to compel me into believing that this is just another bland attempt to “to self-help” and like its predecesors, will likely be futile. However T, I want to confess that something in me moved reading this article and i am just trying to overcome my own fears right now and walk away fr way from what is holding me back.

    Thank you for pushing me with your eloquence and thoughtfulness.

    • Tanya Lee Markul Tanya Lee Markul says:

      Ahmed, thanks for being so honest! I know what you mean! My old habits and old ways of thinking are ALWAYS creeping in and keeping me from seeing the little crack of light that could result in deep change……especially when something challenges my older ways of thinking and doing things. It's like the mind goes through three stages of truth….first phase defend our existing ways of thinking, second ridicule the new potential way of thinking and then third, acceptance through self-evidence. BUT then again, some things just don't resonate with us. Doesn't mean we have to 'judge' them good or bad, we just move on. :-) xoxo

  23. Lynn B says:

    I love this piece. It really speaks to me. For so long I have been 'working on' getting rid of my fear…or as the book says "Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway" since it perhaps never really leaves. But this got me to thinking about what fuels my fear and when you spoke of compassion you hit the nail on the head (for me). Compassion for myself as well as others. Some of my fears come from what others will think of me or my writing or my hair or my clothes (silly, yes?) but these fears are fueled by my own judgments of others and the beliefs I have about myself (whether they are true or false is TBD). I know I'm rambling but this really got me thinking…thank you for this!!

  24. [...] away with so much more and that is: 1. Let it go. We hold on to so much, but we don’t have to. Let go of the fear and doubt and worry. Let go of expectation. Let go of what happened yesterday, this morning or five minutes ago. Stop [...]

  25. [...] helps us return to a more relaxed state and enables us to release the muscles constricted by our incessant anticipation of the [...]

  26. [...] are four best friends that reside under the umbrella of fear: inadequacy, danger, loneliness and [...]

  27. [...] People may tell you to walk away, growing disgusted as their words appear wasted on the ears of someone who has stopped believing in all those ways they are, and continue to be, most wonderfully special. True friends will try as they might to stay the course—ever hopeful that they may soon find that one very simple combination of words and emotions to save you from darkness. Yet, I stayed frozen in all of those ugly moments, afraid to step away for fear of falling deeper into the shadows. [...]

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