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November 14, 2012

Fear Factor

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/fear_factor/

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Do our negative thoughts and fears have the power to control our outcome?   Over the course of the last few months I have had several people call me for advice in the midst of their serious crisis of faith. Their crisis of faith was not just faith in G-d but in the faith they had in themselves.  More than one person admitted in a quiet hush, with shame and trepidation, almost afraid to unleash these frightening beliefs from their minds and form them into words that would have the power to be set free in the cosmic universe, that they believe painful experiences they are in the midst of facing is their fault because their fears have willed it to happen.  Because of that, G-d must surely have it in for them.  One young woman went so far as to say, “I think I’m killing my child,” when she was referencing her deep belief that the illness that struck her son must have heard her. His illness must be her fault since her fears of ever having a sick child were so pronounced, that the thoughts of hoping it would never happen may have actually triggered the illness to unchain itself in her wake.

I can understand this backwards thinking.  I too, thought that because my fears were so acute they actually willed bad things to happen in my life prophylactically.  That old famous saying heard from parents- “Don’t cry or I’ll give you something to cry about,” rang in my ears as a constant reminder that if I cry enough over displaced fears, G-d will strike me down just to prove a point...that I shouldn’t cry at all.  I had so many fears as a child, that by the time I reached adulthood, I needed a lot of therapy and ended up writing an entire book about it just to finally get over all of them. (I am over them by the way. Except for iphones. You never know when you might get caught on someone’s camera phone in a compromising position. Keeps me up at night sometimes. Scares the hell outta me.)

What emerged from that process was an incredible understanding of how much power we do have if we trust our ability to get real and decode our thoughts.  When G-d created the world, the process of creation started with a thought that then led into a word and finished with an action.  This procedure of creation is exactly how human beings dive into their own creativity as well.  It begins with a thought, those thoughts extend into sentences that can then go on to create the experience through an action.  If this formula is to remain true, than surely the young woman who’s thoughts of her own child becoming sick must have indeed created the outcome for her poor son. For she thought it, then spoke about it, which must have willed it.

However the thoughts that unleash creativity are thoughts that we as human beings have the ability to truly believe and have massive faith and enthusiasm over.  The thoughts it takes to create something magnificent takes planning, it takes ambition, it takes motivation and inspiration.  Thoughts of fear are not from that same place of creation. Thoughts of fear are not inspired thoughts. They are not thoughts that provoke deep excitement or enthusiasm. Usually when we have those kinds of sad, sick, self destructive thoughts, they come from a place of  anxiety, worry, neurosis, and apprehension.  Like a deer caught in headlights, these particular emotions instill a frigid self enforced crippling that can not possibly engender the surge of energy and greatness that comes as a result of true authentic creativity.  Fear is the master to all self paralyzation. Fear does not have the ability to create beauty, love, humor or structure that is envied or admired.

Fear usually does what it does best, it forces one to be beholden to it.  It is such a good manipulator, that it can even maneuver our thinking into believing that our painful outcomes, the same outcomes we despise, hate and abhor, must be of our own making.

So why did G-d create fear?  Besides warning us against a hot stove, doing something stupid like jumping out of space ship (so much for that), and getting us to react in the wake of danger, I do believe that fear is also meant to be the mechanism that forces inner change. It is meant to remind us that when we feel unnecessary fear, we have an obligation to ourselves to not allow it to become our compass only our teleprompter. It is there to give us insight in ourselves. It is not there to take the shape of a BIG GREEN HAIRY GOBLIN who lives in space with a t-shirt that says “I created the world and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.” G-d does not have to be that mean alien in the sky waiting to strike like Darth Vader. Or Hello Kitty. That cat scares me. She has no mouth. Seems wrong.

I’m sorry, I will not allow fear to rule anymore. I will not allow fear to dictate to me how I will run my life, how I will react to pain, or how I will overcome adversity. Fear is there to remind us that the only one in control of it is us. (And those idiots that work at Knott’s Scary Farm on Halloween.)

So do our negative fears have the power to control our outcome? The question should really be, do we have the power to control our negative fears? Can our negative fears handle what we plan on doling out when we open our eyes to realize its sneaky little schemes? To the woman who was afraid that she unleashed an illness on her own son, I say that to believe in fear is to believe she is the reason for her sad fate. That is just not something I am willing to let her or anyone else believe.  Because when we start believing in our own fears, then we can lose focus on concentrating on our destinies that can be filled with a brighter future rather than a dark bleak outcome.  We may not have the power to control our destinies, but we do have the power to terminate our crafty fears that unleash unnecessary torment.

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