It is good to examine the reasons why we find fault with others or gossip or blame them for things that have happened. Often we will see, if we look deeply enough, that these behaviours are rooted in fear. Fear and anxiety evolved to keep us from physical danger. Our brains use the same mechanisms when it comes to emotional danger also, and depending on the upbringing we have, we can find that we expend a lot of energy each day dealing with fear. This underlying fear is not easy to work with; however, acknowledging it and becoming aware of our instinct to run away or cover it up with distractions, relationships and busyness, is a necessary starting point. We practice looking at what scares us and opening to all that life offers. We develop a greater compassion towards ourselves and our confidence can grow.
If we are honest with ourselves, most of us will have to admit that we live out our lives in an ocean of fear. — Jon Kabat-Zinn
That last line that if we are honest we would have to admit living in fear made me think of R.D. Laing too and what he has said of “normal” people. One brief quote here:
The condition of alienation, of being asleep, of being unconscious, of being out of one’s mind, is the condition of the normal man. Society highly values its normal man. It educates children to lose themselves and to become absurd, and thus to be normal. Normal men have killed perhaps 100,000,000 of their fellow normal men in the last fifty years.~ R.D. Laing, Politics of Experience (you can read more Laing here)
Not that he speaks of fear specifically but I think what he says about “normal” people is also linked to a terror most people deny. Becoming mindful helps us see many things we might have once denied.
More exploration of fear and anxiety on Beyond Meds: Fear and anxiety: coping, reframing, transforming…
Click here for a list of posts featuring Jon Kabat-Zinn’s work on Beyond Meds…some very good stuff!.
Here are a books books of his that are popular. You really can’t go wrong: