This section is hard for me to write because I’m still convincing myself that fear is nothing, but an illusion. It’s very hard to convince myself of this because the feelings associated with fear are so real. Most people who know me know that I’m afraid of open water. I don’t totally remember what happened. I just know as a kid, I drowned in a pool. The memories feel more like a dream than reality, but when I get in the water, my body is resistant.
I went on a trip to Thailand with a bunch of my friends and classmates. As you can imagine, being on an island meant that I was surrounded by water. I joined in some of the festivities. I missed out on a champagne toast at the edge of an infinity pool because I knew I wasn’t going to go out that far. There was a time during the trip when we were on an island tour. One aspect of the tour was snorkeling. Of course, I didn’t get in the water. I did see my friends have a fun time watching the little sea creatures under the ocean. At some point, my friends wanted me in the water. They encouraged me to get in with a life vest. They held me all the way in. I was encouraged throughout the entire process. Without their help, I wouldn’t have been able to see the beautiful fish and coral reefs reveal themselves as I dunked my face into the water.
Our fears are based on survival. I’m not afraid of open water because open water is scary. I’m afraid because I don’t want to die from drowning. At the same time, we have plenty of fears that have nothing to do with life or death. It was the philosopher Seneca who said, “Our fears are always more numerous than our fears.” We are under chronic stress from fear that was reserved for a saber tooth tiger. I would say that a good amount of fears, even when they feel really real, are baseless. There’s no evidence of fear than the anxiety that causes our imagination to run wild. We try to predict the future and typically the future is bleak, so we ruminate on fear.
Our fears are based on things that just aren’t real. The future isn’t real. What happens to you tomorrow is make-believe until tomorrow happens. If we only think of what is happening right now, there’s no reason to be afraid. Think about it. Stop whatever you’re doing and ask yourself, “Is there a reason to be afraid right now?” We then do irrational things as a result of our fears. I wouldn’t get into water that seems perfectly safe for other people because of experience with something I hardly really remember. I know people are too afraid to drive on a freeway, go outside at night, or watch a scary movie. All because we are afraid that something. we made up in our heads will come true. Are you still not aware of the power of your mind?