Fear and Fate or Power and Choice?

Oct 31, 2006 by Luann Robinson Hull
“As a species, we should never underestimate our low tolerance for discomfort. To be encouraged to stay with our vulnerability is news that we can use.”—Pema Chodron

In last week’s dialogue on Fear and Triumph, we opened a discussion on where we are as a species, particularly related to what scares us and how we respond when we are shocked by an unexpected event. Recent scientific studies have provided empirical evidence to suggest that there are more active pathways carrying messages from the lower regions of our brain (reptilian brain) going toward the cerebral cortex (higher areas of reasoning), than there are leading back to the brain stem.

And so what does this mean? In simple terms, it suggests that when we are startled, the cerebral cortex is instantly flooded with messages of fight or flight. And, because the neuro-nets (or highways and byways of the brain) do not appear to be as plentiful back to the brain stem, the scary messages often win out, even if their alert is out of proportion to what is really happening. As a result we either want to:

1. Fight what we perceive to be the problem.

2. Flee from the threat. (Back in the cave days, sister babe and brother brute used these signals to keep from croaking.)

Now, sometimes choice one or two is appropriate, assuming that we could indeed be at risk for danger. But often we overreact to what is really going on. And when we do we are tuning into the reptile rather than listening to reason, choosing instinct over insight. At this point in our development as human beings it would appear that a blend of both is the most optimal mélange. Most of us can recall a time when we caused ourselves (or someone else) unnecessary suffering because of our reaction to a perceived threat or menace. Note: Anger is most always a response to some type of fear, hence the instinct to “fight” when we are “mad” (which of course means “crazy”).

So how do we change? What will help us to cultivate the courage to sit with our fears, rather than fighting or fleeing from them? Our brains are hardwired for magnificence, and we are only using about 5% of what is there. Isn’t it time to flip the switch and light up the other 95%? What would happen if we actually started to activate the unexplored conduits and corridors of our minds?

Stay tuned as we continue to learn together how to train ourselves for Choice and Power, and avoid giving in to Fear and Fate.

Email us with your tools and thoughts and tell us how you are overcoming your fears. Don’t let anything stop you from living the cherished life that you deserve. You are the most powerful being in the Universe. Treasures await. Begin (or continue) discovering them…now!

Radiant blessings and love,