Overcome fear – surfing with a shark

For centuries humankind has glorified courage as the quintessential ingredient to overcome fear. Like the archetypical hero, courage arrives for many different reasons. For some it was the cause. Names etched in history, such as Joan of Arc, Socrates, Galileo Galilei, Nelson Mandela, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Rosa Parks and Emmeline Pankhurst were driven by a higher purpose. Though for most, courage has a universal purpose — to triumph over fear.Last Friday I went surfing with shark. By the size of its dorsal fin, my guess it was a biggie. A small group of us were sitting in the line-up on our surfboards out the back of the breakers when someone spotted the dorsal fin. A shark’s fin is triangular and distinctly different to the curved dolphin fin. I’ve surfed with lots of dolphins and very few sharks though I know how to tell the difference – unless they’re coming straight at you.

While our little clique of surfers all knew that a shark was about fifty metres from us, surprisingly no-one got out of the water. I had to ask myself though – was my reaction courage or stupidity? While many would say its stupidity, part of me cannot disagree with you – though another part of me knows we fear far too much in the world and we need to overcome fear.

The next day I went surfing on my own when I noticed something strange. Dark shadows everywhere! Everywhere I looked I saw dark shadows in the water and I felt paranoid. These were tricks of the mind.

Change your state and you overcome fear

How our mind works when it comes to fear is simple. We experience something (like my latest shark experience) and it creates two things at once; a thought and an emotional response to the thought. This excites a neural network in our brain and stores all our ideas around that thought in specific places in our brain. So what we will have is a trigger, which is anything that reminds us of the initial event. It could be word or phrase that someone says. It could be something we see, like shadows in the water and POW! We’re back to experiencing that initial event.

Fear is re-experiencing a fearful event through our eyes, ears, feelings and that initiates the original thought pattern again. We can equally start a thought pattern by stimulating the feelings in our body again. I got on my surfboard and it triggered my previous shark experience all over again. That’s where all the shadows came from. They came from my vivid and productive imagination.

I decided to shift my state and so my thoughts.

Fear is the reason we need courage and it takes little research to discover that fear is more than being scared, it’s a global epidemic. Particularly when we realise that humankind has a great number of fears. According to phobialist.com there are over 530 recorded fears. Everything from a fear of heights (Altophobia), to a fear of Heaven (Ouranophobia) to the fear of Hell (Stigiophobia). It seems like that no matter where we think we’re headed a fear is awaiting our arrival.

The greatest of all fears, at the top of the list goes to public speaking. It is America’s number-one fear, well before death at number five and loneliness, weighing in at number seven. Fear of public speaking provides a clue to the real source of our greatest fear — the fear of other people. It is perhaps a fear of what others will say or the fear of what others will or won’t do. To work as a single unit, a tribe, we must overcome fear.

While today, a fear of public speaking seems unfounded, our history books are filled with those who were mocked, mobbed, stoned, crucified and killed for speaking up or speaking out. This fear is deep. It is hard-wired into our psyche because fearful people should be feared.

A quantum evolutionary leap will occur when we no longer fear those who are different, but courageously accept them

They say there is more truth in fiction, I concur. If the night sky was lit up by flying saucers and should aliens land here on earth, I do not have to stretch my imagination to believe what extreme violent human reactions are possible, should they be portrayed in movies, or should they be real life. Nor do I disbelieve the cruelty thrust at Elephant Man Joseph Merrick or Jesus Christ for that matter.

The human is fearful of anyone or anything that is different. Of all things on earth, the human is the most dangerous and so he should be feared, as we don’t know what he will do. He is capable of anything. Australia’s so-called leaders fear of the burqa and are selling us fear so that we will buy their involvement in a war that is not ours and one that few really understand. For centuries, fear has been the weapon of choice to control the masses. After all people respond so well to anything they fear, anything they cannot understand. We must overcome fear.

Anyone who projects difference or indifference within the human tribe is treated like an extra-terrestrial. To avoid being treated like an alien, the human religiously and meticulously aims to be just like the masses. Both he and she will discard their true personalities like an oil-soaked rag. We too easily sacrifice our true selves to project the idolised and accepted model of perfection. We aim to be just a bit better than everyone else, but not too much better or we risk social ostracisation.

Due to wide acceptance of the internet and the much larger populations, ET’s can now find each other and come out of the closet to form their own tribal groups. The world is splitting into much smaller clusters, creating niches within a niche. These splintered social groups congregate based on social interest, ethnicity, religion, career, status, sexual preference, physicality, mentality and gender among a multitude of subdivisional categories.

While all social clusters seem to live together in harmony on planet earth, I believe that acceptance runs a poor second to tolerance. A quantum evolutionary leap will occur when we no longer fear those who are different, but courageously accept them, rather than just tolerating them. Here is where courage provides an answer to peace.

For this reason I believe that the way to world peace and world harmony will be realised through courage. Not a forceful courage, but a kind courage. The kind of courage that I believe was intended in the true meaning of the word, humankind. If we continue to fight for peace, we will only have more wars. For peace to exist, there is no fight, there is the courage to communicate to be understood and equally to understand the differences of others.

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