Perception of powerlessness
What is fear? Fear is the thought that something bad might happen or the perception/belief that something bad is happening in this moment. Fear often comes with a cascade of emotions and bodily sensations such as panic, powerlessness, unsteadiness, tension, pain or uneasiness. Fear is almost always found right along side of uncertainty, where the uncertainty is undesirable by the perceiver. The hallmark of fear is a sense of unavoidable, uncontrollable doom of which you can do nothing about. A sense of powerlessness to circumstance floods your mind. The typical reactions to this powerlessness are to brace yourself for potential impact, become apathetically detached or fight it all costs.
You have all heard the saying that “what we fear controls us” and it’s true. We give our free will or our power to whatever it is we fear. It then decides for us rather than us being the decider. We forfeit our chooser-ship-ness and allow ourselves to be chosen for by the thing out there or over there that we deem as frightening or unwanted. We do this blindly. In a way you could call it an act of faith. Faith in our conviction of powerlessness in which our blind act of handing over our power reinforces.
Why do we so blindly and obediently give away our power? Partly because we don’t actually know that we have it. Your free will is your power. They are synonymous. Most do not know or are unfamiliar with their own power, meaning they don’t realize themselves as having free will. There are no classes in our early educational system that talk about that fact that you are free being, that you have free will or that focus on simply allowing you to be yourself. Rarely are your natural impulses allowed to be expressed, but instead the opposite is the case. We are told what to do, where to go, when to be there and how to conform. Very little if any attention gets placed on the inherent nature of our sovereign, free self. No wonder we are such a lost and confused society. We don’t realize our free will because it has become so entangled with the culturally accepted norms of our society. Often to be in your power, or choosing for yourself rather than based on what others may view as right, gives the appearance of being set apart from them. There are certain others that may want nothing to do with you if you decide for yourself and it is contrary to how they view. You may view some of those others as being very important to you. They may provide for you physically or emotionally, and since our most basic need is connection we will do whatever it takes to not lose connection with others less we feel isolated, alone or unsupported. This is how we innocently give away the power we didn’t even know we had.
Knowing your inherent freeness
Yes you are already free. In this moment you have all the freedom and free you will ever have, no matter what the circumstances are that are currently showing up on your screen of life. Your free will has always been intact. The fact that this has probably not felt like the experience you always have is only simply because you have not realized this basic truth, that you are already free. You still believe part of you to not be free yet, which means you don’t experience seamless freedom. You believe you need this thing or that thing, this person or that person, this situation or that situation, and so you manipulate yourself (which includes conforming, compressing or not being yourself) in order to try to get what you think you need or want. You develop strategy, sometimes very efficient and effective strategy, but there is no trust, only reliance on strategy. This means you can never truly relax or rest, hence the tension, unease, pain and discomfort of fear prevail in your experience.
People often view freedom as external, meaning being able to do the things they want to do, live where they want to live, be in relationship with who they want, have their body function in a particular way, etc. Inner freedom has nothing to do with this idea of external freedom or being able to do what you want or have the things you want. See if we view freedom as an external phenomenon than all the ducks always have to be lining up in the right rows, and if one one duck falls out of alignment then the system crashes and we are not free again. This is not true freedom. Even though many people think that they want freedom, and that they will be free when their circumstances of life line up with their picture of what they think they want, most people don’t actually want inner freedom. Instead they want the external picture of what they think freedom is. I am not suggesting that you should not have preferences or desires and not move towards them. I personally believe you should follow those impulses. Instead I am simply pointing to the fact that freedom does not live inside of them. Freedom lives inside of you. How can you be in the worst, most undesirable situation and still recognize that you are free. That’s true inner freedom. What would that take? What would it take to simply be yourself? It takes only one ingredient. That ingredient is trust. Trust in yourself.
I’ve noticed an interesting dynamic over the years. Despite the fact that many people think that they want to be free, sovereign and realized in their power, in actuality most people really don’t. They want someone to tell them what to do because they feel so lost and uncertain inside. They want someone else to direct the ship, to support them, to take care of them, to provide certainty for them so that they don’t have to decide for themselves. They want an authority figure so they can just rest already because they are so tired of being scared and lost. So much so that they are willing to give their free will up and over for it. What lays underneath it all is that ultimately people don’t want to be wrong, alone, unloved or unsupported. These are our greatest fears, and because we are unwilling to face their potential and see through them, we live in the dark and lack trust. While in the dark we grip to anything that we can, anything that seems to maybe know, because we feel we do not. Self-doubt is the story we hold dear and remain steadfastly devoted to our conviction in our powerlessness. To wake up from this all, to stop blindly giving over your free will, you must directly plunge into what you fear most so that you can experiential develop the trust that comes through doing so. This is not something that will just automatically occur. You must take an active role in this process to wake up to the truth that there is nothing to fear. That fear is only a perception, a story and that you can find your way through it to the other side.
Amanda Hessel, Aligned as Love