Deepak Chopra says that anger is an inflammatory emotion. I think fear is a neurologically damaging emotion [for lack of a better term].
After counseling a young man with schizophrenia several years ago, I came to the conclusion that fear was at the root of his condition. It seemed to me then that this young man was filled with fear and the disease was his way of escaping it. Of course, he didn’t do it intentionally, it was the overwhelming fear he was experiencing that ’caused the electrical wiring in his brain to go haywire. I can’t prove this theory [I am a layperson], but I think it might be difficult to disprove it.
Fear is the normal response experienced by most species when danger is apparent. It’s what causes the fight, flight, freeze or collapse response. Once the danger has passed, the fear passes as well. Creatures in the animal kingdom have a mechanism to let go of fear [ducks for instance flap their wings vigorously] and move on. In other words, animals only experience fear in the moment. Humans, on the other hand, hold on to fear, and not only do we hold onto it, we experience it in anticipation of future events.
Nature may have provided us with a way to let go of fear [as I said, ducks flap their wings], but humans have something that tends to interfere with what nature created. And that is, thought! We keep thinking about it over and over. This ability to think works against us. Why is this the case? Your guess is as good as mine [perhaps our Creator has a delicious sense of humor]!
What is the relationship then between fear and neurological dysfunction? Consider the effect that the fight or flight response has on the body and in particular, the central nervous system. Every part of the brain is affected. Certain parts shut down, while other parts fire up. The same is true of the endocrine system [our glands]. Now consider what holding on to fear [chronic fear] would do the body. It puts it in a constant state of fight or flight. It would be like running the 100 yard dash 24 hours a day. Imagine what that would do the body. Eventually it would break down. Fear, I believe, has the same effect on the central nervous and endocrine systems.
It became very apparent to me about a month ago [not long after I started experiencing severe anxiety] that in order to recover from this condition I’m experiencing [Parkinson’s], I would have to overcome and heal fear. In trying to understand the root of the anxiety, I realized I had lived in fear much of my life, and I was especially fearful that people would find out how scared I was. In the past month, a long list of fears has come into my awareness, especially when I think about the progression of the symptoms I’m experiencing [constriction in the throat, softening of the voice, low blood pressure and loss of mobility]. It sends me into a tailspin of high anxiety and a feeling like I’m losing my mind. This happens because I’m projecting into the future and worrying about my ability to swallow and my ability to speak and my ability to look after myself.
Animals don’t worry about the future. They don’t project. They live in the moment.
So the question is, how do we let go of fear? How can we be more like animals? To begin with, we need to understand that the fear we hold onto is not real. We’re not hurtling towards the ground in an unopened parachute. We’re not standing alone in a jungle confronted by a hungry lion. We didn’t just look up from our cell phone to see a transport truck barreling down on us. In this moment there is no reason for us to experience fear [and the corresponding fight or flight response], and yet, that is what is going on inside of us. But here’s the thing [I had another insight … or lesson from the animal kingdom], as I said, the fear we hold onto and project into the future, is not real. It was created by our thoughts [throughout our life] because of what we were told or because of how we interpreted our experiences, and many of those thoughts and interpretations were created by the immature mind of a child who didn’t know better and I was never told any different. If anything, we were taught how to hold onto it!
In order to make more clear the connection between false fear and healing PD, let me give you an analogy. Let’s say you found out your best friend said something very unkind about you. This made you feel angry, hurt and resentful. You were so upset, in fact, you developed a migraine headache and stomach ache. Then you found out a week later that it was all a misunderstanding. Your friend had actually paid you a compliment. Immediately, you let go of the anger, sadness and resentment and shortly thereafter, the headache and stomach ache went way. The same, I believe will happen to PD when I release fear.
I was recently pleased to discover that my theory about the relationship between fear and the development of Parkinson’s is supported by the study of Psychoneuroimmunology which examines the relationship between thoughts and the development of illness.
I am presently using four techniques to let go of fear:
- Healing prayer
- Positive affirmations
- Live in the present moment
I simply tell myself [usually standing in front of a mirror] that “the fear I’m experiencing is not real … just like Santa Claus is not real … so I can let it go. My life, in this moment, is not in danger. The fear I’m feeling is a product of the thoughts of the egoic mind, and the fear I’ve been holding onto all my life was the creation of a child’s mind who believed what he was told, by people who didn’t know better. So begone fear! You’re not real!
Be patient! It might take time to retain your brain.
2. Healing mantra
Whenever a specific issue comes up, like the feeling of anxiety, I like to say my healing prayer. I find it to be very effective [not to mention, soothing]! It goes like this:
“Thank you God I Am for neutralizing the energetic frequency, healing and releasing from my body and from my being all fear, all anger and all unresolved emotional energy at the root of the anxiety I am experiencing [or the constriction I’m experiencing in my throat, etc] and I thank you God I Am for this healing and I thank you for increasing the effectiveness of this healing by 100 times or more.”
I repeat this prayer many times a day for various issues!
3. Positive affirmations
If one simple thought can send me into a spiral, then it stands to reason that one simple thought can also put me in a positive frame of mind. It’s just a matter of retraining the brain so that it responds to positive reinforcement as easily as it responds to negative, so I use positive affirmations. Here are some examples:
- I am recovering.
- My body is healing.
- I am healthy and well.
- My body is healthy and well.
- I am courageous.
- Thank you body for teaching me.
- The kingdom and power of God are within me.
Joel Osteen says, “Whatever follows ‘I am’ will find you.” So, if you want to be healthy, say “I am healthy!”
4. Live in the present moment
When you live totally in the present moment, there is no fear [unless you are standing in the aforementioned jungle, facing down a hungry lion]. According to Eckhart Tolle, fear dissolves when you live in the present moment, so I make this a constant practice.
What causes one person to develop schizophrenia, another, Parkinson’s, another, MS, or another, dementia, is anyone’s guess, but to ignore or discount the role of fear in the development of neurological disorders is to do everyone a disservice. I really believe fear is at the root of Parkinson’s, so I’m going to pursue it with all my vigor. Besides, what have I got to lose by letting go of fear!
Have an awesomely fearless day!