1. Fear and insecurity are synonymous. When we feel insecure, we naturally become concerned and spend great portions of time, energy, thought and money toward establishing external security. We focus on acquiring and protecting our sources of persons, food, shelter, sex, money, possessions, prestige or any other external factors which will help us feel secure.
2. This type of thinking and living is often, by necessity, ego-centered and maintained at the expense of others. We do not feel secure enough to love and give, but need to take. When such a psychology permeates our social and national psyche, it can lead to conflict and war.
3. When we feel insecure, we seldom feel the confidence to try something new; we tend to stick to old habits and familiar ways. We fear the new and the unknown. Our lives become stale, boring, habitual, meaningless and without growth.
This boring, habitual kind of life leads to inertia; a waking sleep, a living death. Much time and energy are spent on satisfying our security addictions and there is little or no energy left for emotional, mental or spiritual growth.
4. Fear is also the cause and result of a feeling of vulnerability and mistrust. When we feel insecure, we feel threatened by unfamiliar situations or people, thus explaining the development of racial hatred, religious intolerance, and international tensions and war. We mistrust each other and act in defensive and often offensive ways in order to protect ourselves from the imagined danger.
5. When we fear, our reason is nullified and our imagination runs wild, creating the worst possible scenarios, which are usually far from the actual reality.
6. Perception is distorted and we misinterpret others’ intentions and actions. When our reason is sufficiently overcome by a panicking imagination, we are moved to prejudice, narrow-mindedness, anger, hate, and in extreme cases aggression, violence, cruelty and war. Even in cases where we do not get carried to such extremes, our relationships usually suffer. It is not possible to be open and loving when we are insecure and fearful.
7. Such irrational behavior reaches its climax in the mob mentality. When many human beings gather into in a large group, their mentality often tends to be reduced to that of the lowest of the group’s members. This can be likened to a chain, which is as strong as its weakest link. Large groups of people are not much different in their instinctual reactions from herds of animals and flocks of birds. If one panics in fear, all follow. We often hear of hundreds of persons injured and even trampled to death at soccer matches, demonstrations, and other large gatherings.
8. Living in fear means living with a constant underlying tension. There will be frequent secretions by the adrenal glands as unfamiliar persons and events will cause alarm and elicit the “fight or flight” response. This is exhausting for the nervous, immune and endocrine systems. The pituitary gland and hypothalamus are thrown out of balance, and the immune system becomes run down, setting the stage for a variety of physical and mental illnesses. Health and happiness flee from fear.
9. Perhaps the most unfortunate result of fear is that it acts like a magnet, literally attracting to us to the very things that we fear the most. Fearful thoughts are like magnetic waves which subconsciously interact with the world around us, attracting to us those exact situations and experiences that cause us to be frightened. If we fear thieves, we increase the possibility of encountering them. The same would be true of dogs, cockroaches, spiders, etc.
We do not, however, create the death of a loved one by fearing that. We do not create the others’ reality.
Attracting what we fear is actually very useful for our growth process because it forces us to face and become familiar with the things that we fear, which is the first step towards overcoming them. Many of us have discovered by experience that our fear of an event had been out of proportion to the problem actually created by that feared event, and that our fear was entirely unnecessary.
10. Fear is also our greatest obstacle to moving forward in our lives. Every fear is like a closed door that prevents us from researching, growing and developing in many aspects of our lives.
We will investigate the causes and solutions to fear in the remaining sections of this series.