Does Understanding Fear Cure Fear?

January, 2012

Does understanding fear cure fear?

I recently read that: “The understanding of fear cures fear.” Really? In order to cleanse myself of fear, all I need to do is understand it? Let’s see, suppose I fear heights. Now, let’s suppose I understand that I fear heights. Am I cured of my fear? Well, maybe understanding that I fear heights and understanding THE FEAR isn’t the same. OK, so perhaps there is something to the understanding of fear cures fear. Hmm…

"To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom." - Bertrand Russell

Recently, I was telling a friend about my fear of having a recurring nightmare. He had explained to me, previously, how enjoyable his dreams were now that he could remember them. You see, he had started a new form of meditation that helped him remember his dreams, whereas before, he was unable to do so. I told him I was trying not to remember my nightmare dreams. He immediately responded that remembering my nightmares was a healthy act of my mind. Apparently, according to him, our subconscious minds brings out the “bad” thoughts in order to get rid of them. Perhaps this is an example of our minds understanding our fears in order to cure our fears. Hmm….

I have heard that every experience in which a person directly faces fear, s/he gains courage and confidence for facing the future, no matter what it holds. But, how can we face fear? For example, if I’m afraid of heights, how do I face the fear in such a way that I gain courage and confidence for facing the future? Perhaps, trying to understand the general fear of heights will allow me to face the fear. Really, what is there to understand besides the fact that when my body is elevated to a certain height I’m afraid? Hmm…

"Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood." - Marie Curie

Now that I think more about it, I suppose there’s at least an element of unconscious thought involved when something, like a fear of heights, is manifested. It seems reasonable that understanding what caused the unconscious thought could result in an understanding of the fear. And, it seems reasonable that a fear of heights might be traced back to an event, such as falling out of a crib, when a person was very young. Though, as an adult, a person might not remember the fall, her/his unconscious mind would. So, if someone understands that s/he fell out of a crib at a very young age AND that’s what is causing the uneasiness with heights, then gaining courage and confidence for facing the future seems natural. Hmm…

Does understanding fear cure fear? Well, maybe fear is always a choice we have in life. Looking at life from an either/or perspective, we either understand it or fear it. Marie Curie once wrote: “Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.Bertrand Russell stated: “To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.” Considering what I have written up to this point, I think fear is grounded in ignorance. Hmm…

Does understanding fear cure fear? Hmm…Yes!:-)

What do you think?


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