Fear is the mind killer. It is particularly important in terms of shamanic practice, stopping many people dead in their tracks for decades. The subtle influences of fear and the many different masks it can wear are things that take time to unravel in our energy and in our experience. Fear, just like the other poles in our emotional energy, was originally a vital component of survival for us as a species. Now, it has evolved along with our cultures and societies into new shapes and forms, which still serve that purpose, but often on a larger scale. Culturally, fear of many things helps us as a species to survive an increasingly complicated world we have created, often without regard to the consequences.
Natively, fear functions largely as a protection mechanism - but we often find it out of whack in ourselves and in others when it serves no vital purpose, or actually becomes an obstacle to learning or movement. We have all learned fear, what to fear, how to fear it and to what degree we should evoke a fear response. Fear, not love, is what binds our culture together. From the shaman's point of view, fear is the thing that our reason uses as its primary weapon against movement away from the rational expectations we have been given and told to live. Your reason, using fear, will kill you rather than allow that movement. In that sense, it serves a larger purpose of keeping you rooted to a perspective and way of perceiving which serves the biological imperative of species survival.
Anger can cancel out fear and fear can cancel out anger.
Can fear serve as a weapon in a useful way?
The subtle influences of fear and the many different masks it can wear are things that take time to unravel in our energy and in our experience.
Yes, fear can be divided into two essential parts as a response. One is the fear we learn, and the other is body fear, which is purely fear created as a fight or flight response. You can learn to use your fear as a method of movement as well; you can, in fact, use any of the pure poles of emotion in that way, but fear is often the most difficult to wade through in terms of what is actually being expressed. To answer your question, fear can be created and controlled and fed to beasties to control some types, it can be created and projected, it can be raised in others as a means of protecting yourself - it has many uses outside the normal idea of just being afraid.
How do I turn my fear onto fear?
You can become afraid of the fear itself, turning it back on itself. Be afraid of being afraid until that becomes the big fear for you. In other words, by transplanting the energy of the fear you normally have, to a larger fear of the fear itself, it can be overcome - it cancels itself out. It really does work; try it on something small first - some small fear.
How specifically would one use fear to move energetically?
Fear, not love, is what binds our culture together.
You create a fear so great, that if you don't move, you will die. Think of it as a hobby kit for anxiety attacks on a biblical scale. Fear is subtle as well. It can be created and misinterpreted by us as other combinations of emotions, but of course, that would apply to all the emotional points. The difference with a well-practiced shaman is the shaman recognizes those points and uses their emotional energy in very intentional ways. This can make him or her very dangerous. The ability to control and manipulate the emotions of others by the presentation of certain complex emotional facades can create the hooks people respond to naturally.
On the other side of the coin, they can also hold up a mirror to people that allows for growth, expansion and understanding for them by looking into it, without them realizing what it is they are reacting to. Understanding where the balance lies is the trick and the experience. Fear controls people - understanding where their fear exactly comes from in their energy allows the shaman to heal, or to manipulate. Most with any sense at all will choose to heal; manipulation is costly in the end and ties the shaman to the outcomes of others.
I think it's a good way to learn basic movement if you already have the predilection, and the way you do that is by setting up conflicting fears, both equally difficult for you to face, with no way out except through them. In that way, you gain the ability both to conquer fear and learn movement of your awareness at the same time. Or you die; I guess that's always a distinct possibility.
Let's use a simple example: you are afraid of the dark, and you are afraid of, oh, say dogs. You force yourself to use a dog to get out of the dark. That is about as simple as I can make it. People's fears are complex, usually coming from a variety of connections in their energy, and usually aren't related all that strongly to what they actually think they are afraid of. Much of the shamanic is about testing yourself against yourself, but it isn't about thinking about testing yourself - it's about action. If you have problems even imagining confronting a fear, then try to break the fear down into components, facing each one in turn.
Why would you want to evoke fear in someone?
If I look into someone and see that they deny themselves the ability to move to other awareness because of fear, for example, I look to see where it comes from, what the root problem is, and then I create a mirror set of emotions and actions within which they can act their fear out through me and find healing. If I find someone who can't see because their reason refuses to allow them to move at all, I can create fear of not moving and seeing as a life and death matter, reason loses that battle. Fear isn't the best tool, or I should say, it isn't my tool of preference, but each set of circumstances is different. You have to remain fluid enough to meet them quickly.
Much of the shamanic is about testing yourself against yourself, but it isn't about thinking about testing yourself - it's about action.
Could you please elaborate on the mirror concept?
You present an opposite mirror of their emotional situation - opposites attract - so in the process movement occurs and the shaman acts within that movement to heal. The other person won't 'see' anything in it, they will only feel.
The opposite of fear would be anger?
It is the opposite, but not necessarily the only way to approach it. Anger is best used against fear internally, not from the outside. I can't get angry at your fear and do any good.
It would be courage?
Yes, courage in the face of fear comes as an aspect of anger. Remember, we're inside the ball, and where you move and how you touch on things creates an incredibly complex mirror of responses. It's like playing a harp really fast in what may seem like a very discordant way, but at the end it creates the memory of a beautiful melody.
So you might be using emotion to create a desire for change by the attraction?
Yes, or in some cases, repulsion.
How does this work if someone is reacting with anger that is masking a fear?
Cut their heart out. I used to take great delight 25 or thirty years ago at being able to take a totally pissed-off person and reduce them to tears with one sentence. I don't do that anymore; it's counterproductive. What you have to do is look at the root of the fear in whatever way you are seeing, and then go straight for it. Don't be afraid yourself to ask in a very compassionate way about whatever it is you see that is creating the fear. Don't push, or pull, walk beside them.
People's fears are complex, usually coming from a variety of connections in their energy, and usually aren't related all that strongly to what they actually think they are afraid of
What about the reverse - someone angry masking it with another emotion?
Be compassionate - it helps keep your blood pressure down. Anger is easier to get at than fear because we usually feel more justified being angry than afraid. We're taught that, but it's still the same principle. As a shaman, you want to deal with what's really there, not the smokescreens. If you're a good stalker, you will use their smokescreen emotion to actually open the underlying emotion for healing. In our world today, you will do an awful lot of emotional healing. There is a lot of damage out there and very few options that really work for people.
How do you look for the root of the fear in yourself?
Interesting question - look for your death. The fear you have of it causes all the other fears to fall into simple alignments. You can see where a big fear comes from when it is confronted with the biggest fear of all.
What if you don't really fear death?
Well, you do, though, perhaps not emotionally anymore, but bodily you do. Use that fear of death at an animalistic level to root out the others.
I don't really fear death itself, more the pain of dying an uncomfortable death.
Look for anger in your energy. When you look through the roots of your anger, you will find the places where the threads of fear are tied - then, you can follow those. The idea is not to be fearless; fearless people are dumb. The idea is to know your fear, control it, use it only to your advantage.
So, the self-pity and self-importance of those emotions hide one another?
Yes, they can, very easily. Human beings without fear are missing a part of their personalities. Without that, how can you be a whole person? Like we call a person who has no sense of guilt a sociopath, we just don't have a name for the other because we don't think it ever happens.
What is the energetic relationship between Fear and Guilt?
Guilt usually runs on the opposite corner with grief/sadness, but that raises an interesting point about all these archetypal emotional energies. All of these are represented, both in polar opposites and in the attraction they create with each other. In other words, the usual course is to experience a combination of them in shaded degrees that creates the full range of emotional energy and the emotional body. We tend to think of them as polar, but they are better thought of as points within a sphere. Imagine a color chart of gradations spread around the inside of a sphere, and each point in that chart represents combinations and degrees of intensity as it lays closer to the core energy of the individual. So, depending on the point within that sphere and its proximity to the core, fear and guilt can easily be associated and expressed together as emotions, as well as other complicated emotional responses. This is what makes the recap difficult to navigate in the beginning, because internally, as you look at patterns, you begin to realize the enormous complexity of the history of your emotional responses and all the different points through which they have passed during your life. Fear can create guilt, and vice versa, they can even be created as touch-points of response from entirely different places within the emotional body.
You can see where a big fear comes from when it is confronted with the biggest fear of all.
Can guilt mask fear?
Yes, it can be a definite part of it, although somewhat obliquely - just as powerful, though. It's one of those odd mixes where guilt springs from the fear of something; usually that 'something' is highly personal and emotional, the fear of being alone, not liked, debilitated, etc.
Is there a relationship between shame and fear?
Shame is usually a subset of grief, fear and anger, all at once. These combinations of emotional energy are sometimes hard to break down, but unless shame is directly derived from fear, it usually comes as an adjunct to grief. You have to put them order of their appearance. If you feel shame, what is the next emotional energy that comes up after it? That will be the overriding direction it's coming from. Shamanically, it is intensely important to be aware of where each emotional energy is coming from. The recap helps with the clarity, but in the end, it's a matter of fluidity so you can handle whatever gets thrown at you.
Is fear at the bottom of addictions?
Addictions are a little more complicated than just fear, but fear is one of the essential elements; although, I doubt psychologists would see it that way. When I have talked about addictions, I've talked about the fear of facing the real person behind the drug, substance, etc., that comes with it, but there are other complicated reasons for addiction too, as well as the allies which seem to govern each.
The idea is to know your fear, control it, use it only to your advantage.
Fear of past or future?
Usually, it involves fear of the future, but that is based on fear of the past, so it becomes a vicious cycle that can be almost impossible for some people to break.
Where are some places that fear hides for those who don't think they are afraid of much?
When things come up in life that you avoid, think about why, usually at the root of it you will find fear. These can be very subtle things. Fear plays under the surface of many of our choices in life.
Yes. Not the ones that deal with physical pain so much as the ones that are just simply social or relational - your own.
What fear would be behind say, not wanting to hurt someone's feelings?
Fear of rejection. Looking good and being accepted, going along, being the good guy - even though you know there is something there that needs to be said. Having said that, it is also a good idea to develop a good sense of diplomacy. Say what you need to say, but say it with compassion.
Is there a fear of people or being around people in general that poses as independence - or would that be rejection too?
Rejection - you have to understand that as human beings, we have been trained to get along with people, trained in such a way that agreeing with people is more important sometimes than following our own vision of the truth.
Where do we draw the line between diplomacy and avoiding rejection?
You draw the line by saying what you needed to say, or felt you should say, as diplomatically as possible. There is also the issue of true detachment. If it isn't important to you, then it isn't something that needs to be said, hence no fear because there can be no real rejection.
Shamanically, it is intensely important to be aware of where each emotional energy is coming from.
We like our pain, it's familiar, we know it, and we'll hold on to it if we don't force ourselves to let go.
Is there a particular place in the body we store fear?
The digestive tract is the traditional place you look first - that's where it usually falls, then it hits your head and, oddly, throat as well. The throat one is interesting. I've met more and more people over the years that seem to exhibit it there. Diseases of the throat, all the way up to cancer and, yes, sore throats, laryngitis.
How about the solar plexus?
Not so much there, but it would tie strongly with grief. It depends somewhat on what triggers the fear - is it an original, or new fear, or is it the result of an old pattern of fears? Of course, we're talking stomach and digestive tract; when you get to the bowel, it has translated into fear-induced anxiety.