4 Ways to Master Your Fear

January 20, 2022
10 MIN READ TIME

BIBLE Perfect Love

I hope you’ve been staying safe and healthy.

Like many around the world right now, I am recovering from COVID.

I was fortunate to have mild symptoms, and am left with only a little chest tightness and a stuffy nose.

I had a great holiday prior to getting sick. My partner Soisci and I went up the Gold Coast of Australia for a road trip to stay with friends.

I was delighted to see that much of Australia’s coast remains undeveloped and pristine.

It was beautiful.

After the holiday and being out of commission due to COVID, I’ve been itching to get back to work.

I have a lot of exciting things planned for this year including a new online course on the 4 paths of yoga, and my first workshops around Australia.

Exciting developments lay ahead this year to help you on your path, so stay tuned!

Honoring A Hero

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MLK after his famous “I Have A Dream” speech at the Washington Monument in August 1963

Today also marks a significant holiday in the US: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

It’s hard for me to describe the immense impact MLK’s life and teachings have had on me. He was a Karma yogi par excellence.

Like Mahatma Gandhi and Christ before him, MLK showed the world the spiritual power of nonviolence and love.

If you haven’t read Strength to Love, his fantastic book of sermons, I highly recommend you do. It’s a short, easy read, and more relevant than ever.

His sermon Antidotes to Fear from the book helped inspire this newsletter.

When challenging situations arise in life, I often ask myself what one of my heroes would do.

This question has given me confidence on how to act in many difficult situations throughout my life.

When it comes to the COVID pandemic and the precarious situation we find the world in, I’ve often questioned myself:

What would MLK do in these challenging times?

I can say with confidence that MLK would be against the waves of fear and division spreading around the world, and would instead stand as a beacon of hope, strength, and unity.

This is what he did his entire life, even in the darkest times of segregation and violence.

This isn’t to say our fears of COVID, or any looming political or economic threat are unjustified, in fact, in Antidotes to Fear, MLK acknowledges the healthy role fear plays in our lives.

However, fear is meant to be a natural signal to avoid danger, not a way of life.

To help you confront the fear we inevitably experience in life, and especially in the world right now, I want to share with you 4 ways to master your fears.

Your ability to face your fears boldly: the fear of change, the fear of uncertainty, the fear of instability, the fear of pain… will help you stand successfully as a pillar of strength throughout the many changes we’re living through.

By mastering your fear, you become a beacon of light and stability in the swiftly changing tides of the world.

So, without further ado, here’s 4 ways to master your fear:

💪 Face Your Fear With Courage

Facing your fears is the essential first step to overcoming them.

Facing your fears isn’t easy. It requires profound honesty and courage.

The silver lining is that our fears are often greater in our imagination than in reality.

By facing your fears you bring them into the light of your consciousness where they can be seen for what they are.

This is empowering.

Many of our fears are seen as irrational when brought into the light of awareness and honestly scrutinized.

Some of them can even become comical!

Other deeper fears are cut off from the darkness of repression and escapism where they can grow cancerously in the unconscious mind.

As long as your fears remain unknown they exist as a free form anxiety that can spread into other parts of your life.

When you define and label your fears the anxiety they create can be contained. In Antidotes to Fear, Martin Luther King, Jr. explains how facing our fears makes them manageable:

“Unlike anxiety, fear has a definite object which may be faced, analyzed, attacked and if need be, endured.”

Yet how often are our fears reduced to fear itself?

We fear fear.

This is where courage comes in.

Courage, like all virtues, is created through practice.

Aristotle taught in his famous treaties on ethics, Nicomachean Ethics, one becomes virtuous by practicing virtue, and surrounding oneself with those who embody that virtue.

You become courageous by practicing courageousness, and observing courageousness.

The first step is to simply observe your fear without judgement.

This in itself is an incredibly courageous act.

If you have a meditation practice, you should already have this tool under your belt.

Be honest with yourself. Understand that it’s OK to be afraid. Inquire into your fear.

Facing your fears doesn’t mean watching more news, “doom scrolling” on social media, or talking endlessly to others about the phobias spreading around the world.

It means doing the inner work of self-assessment and introspection, and taking stock of what you truly fear in life.

The outcome of this exercise is always clarity.

Clarity helps remove anxiety around fears and gives them a clear form and limitation.

We may be fearful of our economic situation and ignore bills piling up. But when we take the initiative to honestly face our economic situation we create a sense of power over it.

Your fear becomes manageable when they’re understood.

Empower yourself by courageously accepting your fears.

💨 Control Your Fear with Breath

There is no greater tool to control your mind than your breath.

The mind and breath share an intimate relationship.

This relationship is one of the most profound discoveries harnessed by ancient yogis from thousands of years ago.

The yogi’s ancient discovery, and the one echoed by modern science today, is that controlling your breath almost immediately impacts your state of mind.

When fear or anxiety strike, your breath is a powerful tool to ease the feelings from becoming overwhelming.

There are many good breathing techniques to help save yourself from strong emotions like anger and fear.

Even taking a few deep breaths in the moment can do wonders to calm down the mind.

One of my preferred methods for calming nerves is called The Rescue Breath. This technique is very simple, but powerful in its ability to calm the mind and nervous system.

It works by triggering the parasympathetic nervous system through a short inhalation and a long exhalation.

To practice The Rescue Breath:

  1. Take a short, fast inhale through the nose.
  2. Then do a long, slow exhale out through the nose.
  3. Repeat as many times as necessary (usually 3-5 breaths creates a noticeable difference)

The technique works by extending the length of the exhale, which thereby slows the heart rate, calming the nervous system.

This pattern of coherence between the heart and breath is called Heart Rate Variability (HRV), and is an important biometric for health and athletic performance.

As you may have guessed, yogis have used techniques that work on this coherence between the heart and breath for centuries.

As with most breathing techniques, their effectiveness is improved with consistent practice.

Usually, the biggest obstacle to using the breath as a technique to control fear is that people simply forget to do it.

They get too caught up in what they’re feeling, they forget, or even consciously choose to not calm down.

The next time you start to experience fear or anxiety make the conscious choice to control it with your breath.

💞 Transcend Your Fear with Love

The New Testament affirms:

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear.”

This love is no ordinary sentimental love.

It’s a decidedly strong and enduring love that can withstand any attack of hate.

It’s a divinely inspired love that confronts brutality without flinching.

It’s a love that sees with an equal vision upon all as one unified whole.

It’s the same love used by MLK, Gandhi, Christ and other divine prophets to change the world forever.

It bridges all gaps, heals all wounds, and unites all people.

In these modern times, it’s easy to slip into thinking that only physical force can solve our problems.

The famous French military commander and political leader Napoleon, said this about the transcendent love embodied by beings like Jesus:

“Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne and I have built great empires. But upon what did they depend? They depended on force. But centuries ago Jesus started an empire that was built on love, and even to this day millions will die for him.”

This transcendent love gives us the power to overcome even the most terrible of situations. It alone endures throughout time where even the most mighty military forces have faded away.

Prolonged fear inevitably leads to hatred, hatred follows the dark road to violence, and violence leads to the gates of chaos.

Love is an antidote to the hatred which inevitably arises from fear.

Hatred inflicts just as much pain to the hater as the object of hate.

Hate damages the body, heart and spirit of anyone who holds it whether it be seemingly justified or not.

The damaging power of hate does not discriminate among race, party, class, or creed. All are equally damaged by its effects, and they should be avoided at all cost.

Hating our rivals and adversaries, or even worse our neighbors and fellow countrymen whom we may disagree with, is not only wrong in a moral sense, it’s dangerous to our own well-being.

We need only look to history and the world stage to see how fear and hatred have warped the relationships between rivals, cultures and countries.

At its very best, fear and mistrust hold rivals hostage in a state of deepening bitterness and resentment.

Ultimately, only understanding, good will, and love can cast out fear and hatred.

This holds true not only on the global setting, but for our own personal lives as well.

The transformative power of love is a universal principle that, like courage, must be observed and practiced to learn.

As MLK so beautifully expresses in the closing remarks in Antidotes to Fear:

“Hatred and bitterness can never cure the disease of fear; only love can do that. Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illumines it.”
 

⚔️ Destroy Your Fear with Knowledge

Most, if not all fear, comes from attachment to the body and mind.

We fear death from old and age and sickness.

We fear physical harm from violence or accidents.

We fear psychological harm from failure and rejection.

A little fear will always be there as long as the body lives. It’s natural, but excessive and unnatural fears have no place in our hearts and minds.

Even if fears are rooted in legitimate threats to body and mind, for a person attuned with the spiritual dimension of life, much fear loses its sting.

Spiritual traditions from across the world assert the reality of the soul that transcends the body, mind and world with all its endless dangers and sources of harm.

There is a part of you that is completely transcendent from this world.

It’s divine and untouched by any harm that could possibly befall you.

In Vedic scriptures, this transcendent part of you is called the Atman.

The Atman is the drop of universal consciousness within each of us, and, ultimately, is one with the universal ocean of consciousness called Brahman.

Although the quantities may be different (the ocean is giant compared to a drop), their quality is the same (both are water).

Thus, proclaim the great statements of the Vedas, your soul, your Atman, is one with the universal consciousness Brahman.

Atman is Brahman. The individual is indivisible from the universal.

This divine, universal consciousness is unborn, deathless, immortal, immutable, and indestructible.

As the source and power behind the world, it’s completely beyond the ability to be harmed or die.

This is your divine identity.

We must remind ourselves of our true identity, and practice embodying this truth.

Otherwise, the world of “forgetfulness” will push you further down into a prison of fear and attachment.

Only knowledge can free you from this prison.

The consciousness of bondage, of weakness and of impurity is present in us, because we have forgotten our divinity.

The moment we assert our divinity again, our inalienable nature manifests itself as joyful, timeless, deathless, ever-free divine consciousness.

Spiritual knowledge tells us that we have nothing to fear in this temporary world.

What is most fearful, in fact, is not some physical or psychological threat, it’s living in ignorance of the spiritual knowledge that lifts us out of fear and suffering.

When you assert yourself as soul, as divine consciousness, you destroy the attachment that is the root of fear itself.

Alright, I hope you’ve found these ways to master your fear inspiring.

Tackling your fear is no easy task.

Be patient with yourself and take small steps consistently, but persistently.

You’ll be surprised how quickly fear disappears in the light of genuine effort.

How do you handle fear in your life? Do you have any strategies to share?

I’d love to hear about them.

Until next time.

SHARE THE POWER OF YOGA AND THE INNER PATH

Hi, I’m Ryan…

I’m a spiritual mentor and meditation teacher sharing the transformative power of authentic yogic teachings for modern minds. I help inspire people to realize their divine nature, and actualize their human potential.

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