Regaining our physical, emotional and spiritual health by befriending the dragon of fear
Uninvited, unwelcome, the dragon of fear can enter our lives in a concentrated and focused attempt to undermine our self-confidence and self-worth. When it gathers up strength it’s capable of attacking us ferociously, to devastate our physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Its awesome display of power can feel overwhelming at times, thus keeping us trapped in a cycle of passivity and negativity, holding us back from what we could be.
Even in its quiet mood this fear can still be felt, lurking in the background, making us feel unsettled, uncomfortable about what decisions we need to make in order to move our lives forward. Unnerving us, eroding our sense of self-esteem, its quietness at times belies the intensity of damage it can inflict. Fear, in one shape or form, seems to accompany us wherever we go, casting its long shadow over our lives, especially when we are most vulnerable
Befriending the dragon
Like all ‘visitors’ in our lives, fear is here for a reason and so we must give it space, allow it a full voice, in order to understand why it is present, why it is seeking our attention. Quick fired, instinctive reactions to fear often exacerbate our problem. They only help to push fear to the margins of our consciousness because we mistakenly feel we have dealt with it. But the fear is still present, waiting and festering in its unattended state in order to re-engage us at a later stage. Fear needs our recognition so we must give it, we must assess what it is saying by listening deeply to its voice, even when this feels unbearable.
A few times in my life I have felt severely that I was under attack. Full of anxiety, I quickly withdrew and psychologically ‘hid’, but that only allowed the dragon of fear to grow. I eventually grew stronger, more confident in my ability to tackle life, and stepped right back to see how fear had kept me confined; stopped me from taking the appropriate action that could alleviate my suffering. I then took a solemn vow never to let fear diminish my life again, and to this very day I have kept this vow…..
“Everything terrifying is, in its deepest being, something helpless that wants our help.”
We mustn’t keep fear at the perimeter fence, at the periphery of our hurt, but actually let it right in to our innermost core. When we allow it to penetrate fully into our very centre, then, and only then, can we really start to transform it. Fear is, in many ways, a lack of confidence in our innate ability to turn things around, to change our lives for the better. Recognising this, and acting upon it, can secure a golden opportunity for us to use the alchemist’s art of transforming negativity into creative possibilities – fear into fresh, personal growth.
Dancing with the dragon: a new life
Fear is not an external enemy trying to ravage our self esteem but very much an internal one stalking in the shadow of our minds, waiting for the right moment to attack. My friend knew all about this enemy within, felt its presence for many years, until one day he decided to kill himself. His fear had reached such a point, gained so much power that he felt he couldn’t go on. A failed suicide attempt followed.
In the aftermath of what was a crucial time for him, he slowly started to turn things around, to look at his life again, but in a different way. Supported by sessions of psychotherapy and good friendship, he came to see the value of his life, its potentiality for good. The fear that he had engaged with for so many years, that took him to all the dark recesses of his mind, suddenly started to break up and give him a brighter future. Fear was only a call for deeper understanding, and he slowly came to realise this. Now that his life is full and vibrant, his only regret is the time he wasted in trying to empower negative projections, many of which never happened.
“Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave.”
Undertaking personal change can often be a relatively easy process in the short term. What proves to be difficult, however, is its continuation. We can all get inspired by an initial burst of enthusiasm, perhaps encouraged in our new venture by those around us – new objectives to achieve, new territory to explore – but then something quite strange happens. Perhaps we start to challenge and undermine the very course that we have embarked on that will take us off to freedom.
We start to pull back because of the doubting voices within us:
“You are not good enough.”
“What’s the point?”
“Can I really change?”
“Do I really want this now?”
“I’m not going to get through this ordeal – so I might as well give up.”
There are many voices to contend with and no one can convince us that it is easy, because it isn’t, but one thing is for sure – if you commit to growth and you work steadily on this, then success will come; perhaps not be in a loud, self-announcing way but in a quiet, incremental but nevertheless solid way. We need to remind ourselves that the time may come when the risk to put off change may be more painful than embracing it so we must remain steadfast in out endeavours and push on through to gain that momentum to break through to a new and better life.
Many of us, throughout our lives, are exposed to an assortment of differing ‘dragons’ (eg, anxieties, doubts, fears) which impede our growth to a better, fuller existence. Indeed sometimes they may feel so persistent, so tenacious, that we cannot conceive of a life without them. They become so embedded in our consciousness, so deeply ingrained within our psyches, that we can never consider a different life waiting for us.
But we are wrong. Certainly life throws up its difficulties. We must expect that from time to time. But we do have hidden strengths, inner powers within us to overcome these and go forward. The difficulties we face on life’s path should be looked at in terms of learning and development, for, when we engage with them creatively and imaginatively, they will stretch and strengthen us, thereby making our presence in the world that much more spiritually enlarged.
We must all recognise and affirm this truth, on a regular basis, and feel confident in that knowledge, or we run the risk of diminishing ourselves, allowing the enemy within to have victory over us. In Chinese, the dragon is not a symbol of death or diminishment but transformation. So seize the opportunity to engage with its dynamic and see what you can achieve; what new opening is available to you for personal exploration and liberation – good luck.
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