The Role of Fear in Yoga

You are being challenged by our environment to adapt. You are being asked to grow your sixth sense– your intuition. But, when you try to listen to your intuition, you notice that you are being bombarded with messages from an overly anxious friend– your mind.

Most of these messages are junk, repetitive cautions. So, how do you know what is just habitual mental noise and what is intuition? You have to start challenging the noise.

When you begin carefully examining your mental noise, you notice that most of the noise is just the mind’s way of protecting you from either real, potential, or least likely dangers.

The real and potential may be valid. It is the least likely that you must challenge. Because, as you challenge the least likely messages, they lose their power. The mind simply (albeit slowly) learns that these messages are pointless, so it stops producing them.

As with any case, when the noise lessens, the silence heightens. In that silence, you begin discerning intuition from mind. Hence, becoming silent enough to listen is key.

This is what we are doing in yoga through meditation. You are intuition, your mind is, well…the mind. As you practice watching the mind, you are separating yourself from the mind. How? By not responding to everything it says.

You are allowing the mind to speak, but you are not doing as it commands (unless it’s cautioning about real danger in the moment). Instead, you are just watching.

As soon as you do as it says, you become one again. The more you let it speak without reacting, the more you become aware of your separation from your mind. Your ability to act autonomously from the mind increases.

So far, you had done what the mind had said to do. Now, you are doing different from the mind’s command. You are separating the servant (yourself) from the old master (mind). You become aware of yourself as the new master and the mind as your servant.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

The caged bird sings because it thinks that someone out there will rescue it. It’s calling for help. A help that will never arrive. This is precisely what I learned from my own imaginary cage of fear.

I learned that no one out there could help me. It wasn’t that they didn’t want to but they couldn’t; they weren’t meant to. Ever watched that Oprah show where the lady cried that she also wanted to change; everyone was pointing out the problem but no one was saying “how”? I felt her pain.

We all have this sort of an imaginary cage that keeps us from experiencing the true expression of ourselves. The thing I realized from studying my own cage was that the cage had no door. So, how does one end up inside the cage that has no door? You build it yourself. You build it because that’s how all the ancestral conditioning helps you stay safe and survive.

Now, I think this was one of my most critical discoveries. The bad news was that no one could help me. The good news was also that no one could help me. What I had stumbled upon on that day was that if no one had the power to get me out, they also had no power to keep me in

Who then had the power? I did. Yes!!! That’s my greatest discovery. My contribution to mankind is not a child, or an invention; it is this simple realization. When you understand that there is no one out there, you understand your own power and a lot more. 

You understand that blame is a game that you don’t want to play. The only person who’s losing is you. Every second you spend on blaming someone, you are not changing the situation one bit. You are, however, passing YOUR power to someone else “outside the cage,” a person who doesn’t even have the power to save you. What a waste!

You also understand that when you give yourself the message that someone else has more power over your choices than you, you feel powerless, not powerful. The universe allots only a little bit of power to us and blaming is “willingly” giving that power to someone else. How is that supposed to make you feel?

Finally, you understand that just like an egg, this safe that you are caging yourself in is better when cracked from within. This is how you gain your wings and fly.

My Fear is the Only Thing that Destroyed Me

The irony in this realization is what really caught my attention. How was it that the very thoughts I was thinking to protect myself were the thoughts that were destroying pieces and parts of me? The fear of making a mistake, the shame of being wrong, or the anxiety of making the right choice, all these things hold us back from being our true authentic self.