This month, I’ve been preparing for my autumn lecture tour. Each year a theme surfaces from the collection of stories that I put together to talk about. Last year I found the theme of “hope” naturally emerged as I had some profound spiritual experiences in 2017 (climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro for one). This year, though, the theme of “fear” is what’s coming through the legends, lore, and evidence.
Fear can be a good thing. If we lacked any sense of fear, we wouldn’t last very long as a species. (“Surrrrre I can jump from one tall building to another…”) Fear can keep us alive and safe. Fear speaks to the primal parts of our brain. It readies us for fight or flight. It even helps store traumatic and frightening events into our long-term memories because that information will allow us to get out of possible future danger. It will make our genetic line stronger because we can explain to our loved ones the danger we were in and how we got out of it. Fear is good…
...but fear can also be bad. Fear can move from something that keeps us safe, to an emotion that cripples and debilitates us. Some fears can move in like a hovering fog and stay with us all of the time, causing anxiety. Though the cerebral parts of our brain can reason away how irrational these fears may be, they don’t go away. Those fears have to be confronted.
Since childhood I’ve carried a few fears with me, and this past month I got the chance to face down one of them. I can tell you I experienced a lot of anxiety in the week leading up to the event, and sheer terror once I was ready to actually face this fear head-on. Not to spoil the story, but I didn’t die… and I feel like a stronger person for having done so. If you want to know what I faced, I invite you to attend one of my lecture programs this fall. I’ll show and tell you all about it.
I did this because I wanted to tap into that most primal part of myself. But I also did this experiment with myself because I believe accessing that fear opens us up to the world around us. When the world is too safe, it’s easy to hide in our shells. Stay safe and hide too long, and you stop growing as a person. You stop connecting with others and participate in this great experiment called life.
What makes us different than the animals is that we seem to be the only species who actually seeks out fear. It’s like we know deep down that conquering this invisible foe is a path to enlightenment.
In my paranormal research, I’ve learned that a little bit of fear heightens our senses and makes us more open to subtleties in our environment. Maybe that’s why when we explore haunted places we sometimes have an experience—because that fear opened up parts of our abilities that lay dormant otherwise. Fear is a factor in our lives, and one that can serve us when we’re our optimal selves.
This month, let’s discuss and face our fears together. Good things will happen.