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What scares you? Speaking in front of an audience? Elevators? Looking silly in front of your peers? Flying?
No matter how great or insignificant, fear is a part of our daily lives. We can hardly escape it. Whether we realize it or not, fear has an impact on our decisions, the opportunities we embrace or ignore, even the friends we make. It finds a way into our consciousness and tweaks our future. When we find a way to overcome a fear, it seems there is another waiting in line to take its place.
There are healthy fears—fears that keep us from getting hurt. That’s not the kind of fear we are talking about.
Ignoring our fears does nothing to diminish them. So, how do we confront our fears, dispel them, and move on with our lives more courageous than before? It starts with the awareness that fears are born from a disconnection from the Light of the Creator. This disconnection is often a direct result of our egos stepping in and taking over.
For example, fear of closed in spaces may stem from a fear of becoming trapped. Likewise, a fear of flying may really be a fear that the pilot won’t be able to land safely in an emergency. Both are situations in which we have little control. The urge to be in control is influenced by the ego, which convinces us that we are safer when we are in control. Our egos cloud our judgment, convince us that we are in danger, and weaken our certainty. They also tell us that with the loss of control comes the potential for a loss in status, love, recognition, or material things. Our egos desperately want to hold on to these things.
The Zohar teaches us that those who are completely connected to the Creator never experience fear. Fear is actually the result of a chain reaction that begins with selfish acts. Knowing this means that anytime we feel fear, we can be sure that it is simply a manifestation of a disconnection. Distance from the Light is created when our egos behave reactively and we commit selfish acts. “When we are in fear, we are no longer connected to the positive energy of the Light, says Karen Berg. “When we’re in fear, it’s the ‘I’ that’s afraid.”
Take a look at your past actions. Every time we cause another harm – physical, emotional, or otherwise – we’ve made a rift in our connection to the Light. And sooner or later we’ll see the effect of our actions. Though our actions can bring about fear, we should not see them as punishment for selfishness, but as opportunities to transform ourselves. When we examine our fears on a deeper level we may discover valuable information about ourselves that can lead to transformation.
Rav Berg once said, “For a kabbalist, fear is not to be trusted and certainly not to be acted upon.” And he was right. Fear does not show us the reality of a situation. But we can use it as a tool that points us in the direction we need to go. Fear can show us the paths that we are afraid to explore and the doorways we need to walk through. Spiritual transformation only truly comes about when we are pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zones. Fear shows us exactly where those boundaries of our comfort zones are so we may move past them.
“If you’re experiencing fear,” says Michael Berg, “this has to be the question you ask: What am I doing to push myself to connect even more strongly with the Light of the Creator? All fear is a message to change and to grow in our connection. If we hear that message and change from it, we can ultimately remove, slowly but surely, any type of fear that we have in our lives.” Shift your Desire to Receive for the Self Alone to the Desire to Receive in Order to Share. Make a conscious effort to connect to the positive. For when we are connected to the positive, there is no room for the negative.