The Function of Fear


You could say that I have a lot of things to be afraid of right now. I’ve just moved back to my hometown having spent the guts of 2 years abroad; earning money, making friends and exploring more of the world. At present my income is non existent, I haven’t much of a social network and there’s no sign of this changing anytime soon. 

Amidst my recent adventures I became a qualified yoga teacher (as if there weren’t enough already!) and I’m putting on my first classes at home this week. I’ve rented rooms and promoted myself as best I can. So far I have little to no interest from students and I probably won’t be able to go ahead with the 6 week course I had planned. 

I won’t lie, my situation is a little un-nerving. If I had found myself here a year ago, by now I would have thrown in the towel on cultivating a nourishing lifestyle for myself and gotten a job in a pub just to ensure my funds, security and ego remained afloat. However I’ve done that enough times to know that it doesn’t give me any real sense of peace, so I’m prepared to sit with the uncertainty for once. 

“Move, but don’t move the way fear makes you move” — Rumi

Fear is an emotion that exists to protect us against danger, which traditionally might have consisted of assault from natural disasters, wild animals or unfriendly folk. Nowadays we seem to perceive anything and everything as danger; failing, missing out, judgement. Yes, the aforementioned may hurt you at the surface but if you can distinguish between your authentic self and the ego, this can be mindfully navigated. 

If a man has a gun to my head, then I have cause to be concerned. But honestly, whether anyone shows up to my yoga class tomorrow or not is hardly a justifiable reason to be terrified. What’s more, whether or not I stew in fear for the next 24 hours isn’t going to change the outcome of attendance at my class. Life unfolds whether you are scared or not, and so lately I’ve been choosing the latter. The only real difference lies in the quality of your experience throughout the journey. 

You see, fear is associated with what may or may not happen. It doesn’t actually have anything to do with what is happening now. It’s a fact that we never have certainty over our future, for there are simply too many forces at play; maybe the bus is late, the weather changes, or people just don’t want to go to yoga classes!

By surrendering the need for control and certainty, we open up space for freedom to enter. This does not mean we have to stop living our lives. You can still make choices and take steps toward your goals. Share the gifts that you have. Love! We can embrace all of this along our journey - without the paralyzing effects of fear.

David Boland