The National Council of Psychotherapists
Dare you be alive?
Asaf Rolef Ben-Shahar
deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are
powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness, that most frightens
us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, talented and fabulous?'
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does
not serve the world. There¹s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to manifest the glory of God
that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let
our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the
same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates
When you are threatened, you feel afraid. Fear is a natural response to threat. It is meant to increase your awareness, your caution - to protect you and sustain your life. However, when you are chronically exposed to a life-threatening situation or an ongoing danger, such as trauma, chronic or terminal disease or abuse, your body will be in a constant stage of stress, weakening the immune system and increasing your susceptibility to illness, emotional pressure and exhaustion. These conditions would gradually prevent you from being fully alive.
Together with the fear of death, many people live in fear of exposing themselves, of living fully - they shrink themselves and become shadows of what they could have been; of what they ought to be. Fear gives birth to shame and guilt, and limits expressions of life. If stress and fear override you they can easily become an unconscious pattern, and then begin to limit your life - not opening up in relationships, carrying body patterns of 'holding on', not initiating as you can, participating in destructive behaviours, and more. Stress and Fear can stop you from being the amazing person that you can be.
In some situations, the fear is even more encompassing. AIDS, for example, not only create fear in the effected person, but also in the people around him or her. HIV is probably the leprosy of our era, when fear can seclude you, inject guilt, blame and stress, and deny you from some basic human needs - to be touched, to be honoured, to be unconditionally loved.
To transcend fear requires faith, because fear is exactly the opposite of trust, and to trust is based on faith. Regardless of the object of faith, be it god, yourself or the fellow person, it is only through an active implantation of faith that we overcome fear.
And in days when the world is full of fear, when people are off-centred and their entire focus loses its grip with fear, especially in days like ours, how important it is to find the courage and trust. How crucial it is to find the place in ourselves that can still, willingly and lovingly, have faith.
In my therapy chair I expect the acts of trust and faith from my clients. To bring about change in my fellowman I ask them to have faith in me, in their somatic self, in their bodies. I remind myself, too, to face the world with hope, and in an act of faith bring love and vanish fear.
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