Yoga journal article on Fear

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Yoga journal article on Fear

Postby runstrails » Mon Dec 23, 2013 6:04 am

http://www.yogajournal.com/wisdom/2652

I enjoyed this article. It touches on a lot of important points (that we speak of here) in a mainstream, easy to understand manner.
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Re: Yoga journal article on Fear

Postby ashley72 » Mon Dec 23, 2013 7:47 am

I couldn't relate to that article at all. I doubt whether the author has experienced irrational fears to the level of an Agoraphobia sufferer.

Two words that we're not mentioned, and in my eyes, play a pivotal role in both the production and destruction of "fear".... is "avoidance" and "exposure" respectively.

Avoidance or safety behaviours is what binds the sufferer to irrational fear of certain stimuli. Exposure is what ultimately breaks the shackles or fear cycle.

I'm very passionate about this subject, as I'm a recovering Agoraphobic. In my opinion there is fear and there is "irrational " fear. Fear is fine and a normal instinct, irrational fear is a disorder which can be treated successfully with exposure therapy. That is it in a nutshell.

Before anyone responds to this post directly. Please watch this short video about how exposure therapy treats irrational fears.

http://youtu.be/wE5F-FjbTRk
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Re: Yoga journal article on Fear

Postby runstrails » Mon Dec 23, 2013 5:22 pm

Sorry you didn't enjoy it.

I thought she did touch on both avoidance and exposure---but perhaps not with the emphasis that you would have liked.

The two questions that she answers are about chronic illness and about performance anxiety---so I agree those are at a level below the irrational fear caused by agoraphobia. But nevertheless relevant to many who may be held back by more subtle fears and uncertainties.

Her perspective is more on the yogic view of fear and how it dominates our lives in subtle ways and how its necessary to recognize that.
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Re: Yoga journal article on Fear

Postby ashley72 » Mon Dec 23, 2013 11:40 pm

Hi Runstrail,

It wasn't that I didn't enjoy it, the article just doesn't help me to understand irrational fears and how I might overcome my avoidance behaviours brought about by my irrational fears. In fact, an article written in that way may make a sufferer more perplexed than they already may be about their irrational fears.

If you watched that video of the Agoraphobic doing exposure treatment (I posted above), you may observe that the sufferer is perplexed (utterly confused) about their condition. They keep getting "tricked" into believing that a certain situation is a threat to them. They believe they need to "avoid" that situation in order to keep themselve safe from doom!

Stage fright is no different, It's the result of thinking of the performance situation as a threat (the anxiety trick), rather than a challenge. Most people with performance anxiety fright get tricked into focusing on themselves, struggling against anxiety in a vain effort to get rid of it. The anxiety trick coupled with Avoidance behaviour is the culprit again. There are difference levels of avoidance of course, which may seem like we're dealing with a different condition, but it's not the case. At the heart of all avoidance behaviour is the anxiety trick, but just of a slightly modified form.

No amount of yoga meditation on "subtle fear" is going to help you overcome irrational fears. IMO, Exposure is the only practical solution to avoidance behaviours brought about by irrational fear.

Normal or rational threats like someone attacking you with a knife. That's not a trick. Fear is helpful in this situation because it allows you to respond rapidly to actual life threatening situation.
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Re: Yoga journal article on Fear

Postby runstrails » Tue Dec 24, 2013 1:17 am

Hi Ashley,
Thanks for sharing your point of view. Ir's an interesting one and makes for good discussion.

My view is that irrational fears like agoraphobia may not be the problem for most people. Fear can also refer to a low level feeling that everything is not quite right with the world. Kind of like the notion of 'dukha' or dissatisfaction that Buddha referred to. That was more the issue for me.

No amount of yoga meditation on "subtle fear" is going to help you overcome irrational fears.


I agree that it won't help you with irrational fears---but it might help with the notion of 'dukha' or dissatisfaction with life. Ultimately, if you trace 'dukha' to its roots, it comes down to the fear of annihilation (of not existing) that the egoic personality has. Self-realization eliminates this fear. Obviously, when you realize your true nature, you also realize there is nothing to fear. The goal of yoga (and meditation) is to help you get Self-realized. Of course, these days yoga is practiced more to get you Self-toned and sculpted :wink:. Very few yoga teachers and/or practitioners realize that the true goal of yoga is self realization.
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Re: Yoga journal article on Fear

Postby smiileyjen101 » Tue Dec 24, 2013 2:45 am

I thought she covered avoidance and exposure quite well in the illness section - Welcome the truth.. and
especially when talking about her homeless jobless family-less friend's panics in the middle of the night
But he found that simply thinking "I am not my fear" was too abstract to help him with the sheer physical terror of not knowing how his future would play out.

He told me that three things helped him through this year of radical uncertainty.
First, he began paying attention to the feelings of fear in his body and breath.
Second, he faced his fear of the unknown every time it came up, rather than turning away from it, denying it, or trying to talk himself out of it.
And third, accepting his fear as natural, he then asked himself two questions: "Where is love in all this?" and "Where is the Self that doesn't die?"

Magical Thinking

To work with your fear, you're being asked to accept and even welcome what your health crisis is trying to show you—that loss and death are natural parts of life. The more you try to protect yourself against loss, the more fearful you become and the more likely you are to be thrown by the natural uncertainty of life. It's a paradox that when you try to insulate yourself against the things you fear, you make yourself more susceptible to them.


culminating in this bit...
There's an old saying: "What you resist, persists." Its opposite is also true: "What you let in, leaves." That release gives you the opportunity to discover the natural courage that is even deeper than fear.


This bit seemed to me like an interesting example of acceptance, enjoyment & enthusiasm - in aware states of doing
On the road to loosening the clutch of fear and taking back your original joy of singing, try one of these self-coaching points. (They're not just for singers). First, realize that you are developing your skills. Think of yourself as being in training. Instead of expecting yourself to have mastered your voice, think, "I'm learning." If you believe you're supposed to be a master, you'll criticize yourself when you aren't. But if you define yourself as a learner, you're much more likely to forgive yourself for mistakes. Instead of mentally trashing yourself when your voice quavers, tell yourself, "I'm in the process of learning how to sing with power and ease!"

The second step is to make your voice an offering. Offer your voice and your song and your vocal cords to humanity—to the All—using whatever frame allows you to touch your sense of the greater whole. Remember that once you make an offering, the outcome is out of your hands. It's not your voice anymore. It belongs to the universe, to God.

Third, ask the universe, the absolute love, God, your higher Self, or perhaps the spirit of a singer you admire, to sing through you. Open yourself to allowing that to happen. The key to letting go at the deepest level is to feel that you are not singing, but being sung. In fact, this is the truth. There is no "you" singing. Singing is happening through your body, your vocal cords, and your mind. What freedom arises when you let that be true!


Thanks for the heads up 'trails :)
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Re: Yoga journal article on Fear

Postby ashley72 » Tue Dec 24, 2013 6:18 pm

Jen,

Writing for the sake of writing... is just another subtle form of intellectual masturbation. That article on fear fell into that category for me. Now, I'm not saying there wasn't any pearls of wisdom buried in that article... I just I don't see that article being all that helpful to the audience it's suppose to help.

The video I posted on exposure treatment is my recommendation for anyone trying to overcome a fear based phobia. But as Runstrails pointed out, that fear article may be better suited for someone wishing to meditate on underlying dissatisfaction (duhka).
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Re: Yoga journal article on Fear

Postby smiileyjen101 » Tue Dec 24, 2013 11:35 pm

Hi Ash,

As I read it, it was answering other peoples' specific questions on meditation & fear, and letting a wider audience eavesdrop.

Here's a guide to working with fear from three points of view—inspired by questions from readers in the process of encountering and moving through some basic fears.


I didn't take her answers 'personally', or assume who it is supposed to help, or indeed think she was writing for the sake of writing. She was answering specific queries - not your queries, not from your perspective and not with your answers you would have given with your awareness, capacity and willingness - other people's specific queries and her answers within her own awareness, capacity and willingness to do so.

I realise you're passionate about the subject of agoraphobia & avoidance, and now exposure therapy - leave some space in that passion for differences, otherwise it will become a swinging pendulum - 'this' vs 'everything else'. I also realise its a conundrum saying - leave some space - because that space will be filled with uncertainty ... and space...

Merry Xmas Ash... & Trails & Everyone
Our rights start deep within our humanity; they end where another's begin~~ SmileyJen
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Re: Yoga journal article on Fear

Postby runstrails » Wed Dec 25, 2013 12:29 am

Namaste and Merry Christmas to you Jen, Ashley and everyone :D.
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Re: Yoga journal article on Fear

Postby ashley72 » Wed Dec 25, 2013 11:05 pm

runstrails wrote:Namaste and Merry Christmas to you Jen, Ashley and everyone :D.


Merry Christmas! :D
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Re: Yoga journal article on Fear

Postby peas » Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:13 am

All fear is irrational, except primordial fear which is more of an automated response to danger by our natural systems. Observation of thoughts and emotions has freed me of my own irrational fear of heights. Exposure could help, but only if the person is willing to observe what is happening inside themselves. Exposure is going to happen naturally anyway, as life brings you the experiences you need to evolve your consciousness. Exposure that is forced could send a person deeper into the fear.
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Re: Yoga journal article on Fear

Postby Yidaki » Fri May 16, 2014 10:19 am

In regards to the performance anxiety section of that article, the author fails to recognise that for most people it isn't the fear of failure, but more so the fear of the symptoms that are associated with the performance.

See, for me it isn't about my identify as the speaker. I don't get anxious because I am worry that the person who the speaker is might fail. Instead, I get anxious because I think I might die from the powerful physical sensations. Seriously, they are powerful! I couldn't care less if I stuffed up during a presentation, but rather worry that I will die from the intense physical feelings. For example, my heart will skip multiple beats if I had to give a speech. In fact, this fear has set me back a few years as I was embarking on an honours degree which required me to give to presentations. I just couldn't do it, so I ran gave up on it for now.
"Wisdom comes with the ability to be still. Just look and just listen. No more is needed." ~ Eckhart Tolle
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Re: Yoga journal article on Fear

Postby rachMiel » Fri May 16, 2014 2:14 pm

Yidaki wrote:See, for me it isn't about my identify as the speaker. I don't get anxious because I am worry that the person who the speaker is might fail. Instead, I get anxious because I think I might die from the powerful physical sensations.

Consider this. Your physical symptoms are the result of your fear of public speaking, which is the result of your sense of self identity. If you were self identity free, there would be no fear of failure, death, success, exposure, etc.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...
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Re: Yoga journal article on Fear

Postby Yidaki » Wed May 21, 2014 12:35 pm

rachMiel wrote:
Yidaki wrote:See, for me it isn't about my identify as the speaker. I don't get anxious because I am worry that the person who the speaker is might fail. Instead, I get anxious because I think I might die from the powerful physical sensations.

Consider this. Your physical symptoms are the result of your fear of public speaking, which is the result of your sense of self identity. If you were self identity free, there would be no fear of failure, death, success, exposure, etc.


Hmmm, interesting point.

See, I don't believe it is my sense of identity that is under threat. I understand that our identity can also be reflected in our physical form, so maybe that is where most of my ego lies.

Again, I don't fear others opinions, or what they may or may not think of me. It is more so about my mortality as I pointed out before. When placed in a situation (such as a presentation), my mortality gets questioned as I feel the surge of feelings and then my hypochondriac thoughts come about. I can't just sit there with the anxious feelings because of their strength and power and what they could "potentially" lead to.
"Wisdom comes with the ability to be still. Just look and just listen. No more is needed." ~ Eckhart Tolle
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Re: Yoga journal article on Fear

Postby peas » Wed Jun 18, 2014 9:34 am

Yidaki wrote:See, for me it isn't about my identify as the speaker. I don't get anxious because I am worry that the person who the speaker is might fail. Instead, I get anxious because I think I might die from the powerful physical sensations. Seriously, they are powerful! I couldn't care less if I stuffed up during a presentation, but rather worry that I will die from the intense physical feelings.


Fear of fear. You can't have one without the other. Seek the root fear, which is fear of making a mistake. When that is revealed for what it is, ie. self-talk, and ceases to be believed, all fear will transmute into life energy.

In stillness all these matters are resolved.
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