Fear Transformed Into Courage

Written by Pat Sullivan

While you may be stressed and experience fear, there's an inner strength to calm you. Columnist Pat Sullivan tells us how to turn scared into spiritual growth.conquering fear and turning it into courage

When life feels as volatile and uncontrollable as the stock market, it's natural to be scared. But within fear, surprising gifts can be found. 

Panic never helps you deal effectively with fear. It wastes energy and limits your ability to see options.
Panic may even drive away people who want to help you.
When you embrace fears rather than run from them, you mobilize creativity and other resources, and you empower yourself to act effectively and gracefully.
When you meet fear consciously, you discover how to act effectively in situations where you are most vulnerable to things you cannot control.
Meet fear head on and you will discover how to thrive in a world that's much more wondrous and satisfying.
Fear is nature's herald of danger, its mobilizer of adrenaline and other resources of body, mind and spirit. Fear is a gateway to a wondrous world much bigger than any of us.

I first discovered the gifts of fear during a major earthquake. Danger signals bristled up and down my spine even before I recognized "Earthquake! Big one!"

The next 15 seconds were paradoxical. Though I had to act quickly, I also felt as if time stretched, so there was no panic. Never have I felt so efficient and empowered, yet also so vulnerable to forces totally outside my control.

For me, the earthquake became a spiritual touchstone for what it means to be in the presence of God. It taught me what it means to be fully alive and how to find the best resources for meeting life's challenges inside the challenges themselves.

The gift of fear is actually a gift of faith. It tells you that whatever happens, it's best to meet the situation consciously.

Ways to tap into the gift of fear:

* Don't try to rise above fear or talk it away with positive thinking. Instead, allow your scary feelings to flow freely through your body.

* Ground yourself by bending your knees slightly and standing on a solid base. With one hand, support your belly, the proverbial seat of Buddha wisdom or gut instincts. Place another hand on your backbone, the proverbial home of temple guards. Envision your inner guards handling immediate worries so your inner Buddha gains quiet reflection time.

* Pray for serenity while you seek guidance for the best possible course of action. Open your "eyes" (intuition, instincts, memory, etc.) and welcome inspiration from any source. Discern which course of action has integrity for you, and then follow your path with courage.

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