We all have experiences with fear. There are levels of worry; often followed by anxiety. These anxiety attacks sometimes end in outbreaks of fear. Anxiety and fear take on many forms. It all begins with conditioned reactions brought on by thoughts (present, past or future). These become activated in our minds. But what does it mean to have a fear of fear? Let us use a situation that can happen daily to clarify what is meant. Your daily work routine is comprised of various tasks; many of which are repetitive.
There are one or perhaps even several work tasks that involve you interacting with other staff members as well as people in the management department. You are busy on a particular day accomplishing your tasks. You suddenly realize that the next task will involve doing something in an area where you will probably encounter different people; co-workers and supervisors.
No big deal right…wrong; it is a very big deal. Why is this difficult for you? You have had several uncomfortable situations pertaining to a certain individual. This has resulted in discussing these unacceptable situations with the supervisor that is actually responsible for them in the first place. No real resolution to the problems has ever been reached during such discussions. These unresolved problems have left both you and the supervisor very frustrated and withdrawn. What happens many times in such a situation? Many times both the person and supervisor do everything possible to avoid any interaction except what is absolutely necessary.
Now let us take this scenario to the next level. Let us say; for point of discussion, that you (anyone) additionally has problems with a supervisor (or any other person). This may be because both you and this person are so different in character. The difficulty between you and this person could be for any number of reasons. You also have deep-seated conditioned reaction problems concerning authoritarian people. These responses are due to childhood trauma.
Most Fear is an Illusion
Now here you are, ready to turn the corner of the office room knowing this particular supervisor may be there. What started out as a conditioned memory reaction to past situations with this supervisor; has now turned into a mild panic attack. There may be slight variations in the terminology used by you but I refer to such a situation as having a fear of fear. Many people may now say that it is important to face your fears. Is this so? This is perhaps one possibility. I am however not convinced that facing a fear will resolve it. I have found myself in similar situations as the one mentioned above. Recently I realized that I was literally afraid of being afraid. This was a conscious breakthrough for me; one that I feel will be very beneficial.
We could say that I was afraid to confront not only the situation that I believed caused the fear; but was also afraid to experience the fear itself. This may occur in each of us several times a day. What can we do? Perhaps realizing that the problem; i.e. fear is not real. It is a product of conditioned memory response relapse. It is not real and will never be real. I like to use the phase “product of human illusion”; but can imagine that you have heard me use this phase too often. Let us just say that the anxiety, fear and panic attack are produced by the mind and emotions. We can make a decision. We can make a shift in perception that will allow all these conditioned thought patterns to fall away. This will permit space within our thoughts. Where there is space, there is surely also freedom.