Fear and Understanding
Gaining new understanding is like entering a new reality. What we previously accepted to be our world of belief will shake on its very foundations when new insight comes to light.
Fear is an inevitability when we are open to this new reality, and that same fear is often the same reason we close ourselves off from it. To lose what we are familiar and comfortable with, even if it’s revealed to be a lesser truth, is a tough pill to swallow. And that’s why we’re inclined to spit it out when its taste comes unexpected.
Exploring new and undiscovered terrain always makes us wary, and the scene often appears to be scary in response, even when the landscape of new truth is in itself beautiful. But that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and for as long as our eyes are adjusting to the new light it will only be disorienting.
In addition, when we don’t fully accept the new revelation, but still become doubtful of what we knew to be right because of it, we might actually become stuck in a state of confusion and anxiety – sometimes even in a state of heightened fear – between these two planes of existence.
Not trusting our new insight is mostly the cause of this. The world around us still keeps promoting the old ways when a new path reveals itself to us individually. Not only do we have to internally overcome our ideas of what’s right and wrong, but when everybody around us is also still going in the “wrong” (old) direction, it’s difficult to not simply follow; or easy to freeze up in hesitation unable to choose between that long established broad way and the newly opened road less traveled.
Letting go of old ideas in favor of new concepts allows us to fully enter – i.e. become accustomed to and trustful towards – the undiscovered country.
But the difficulty of this acceptance depends partly on the depth of the new finding. When we stumble upon new realities (new realizations) we will experience a level of unease in accordance to its world shattering power. An insight that challenges small ideas won’t have as much impact as an insight that make you look differently at life in general.
The conclusion is that new understanding for some time leads to fear. And in order to conquer that fear it’s essential to understand where it comes from. When you’re facing fear, you’re not just facing fear, you’re also facing the choice of accepting new insight. Therefor discover what insight lies at the basis of your fear. Don’t let fear numb your reasoning, because it’s one the tool needed to effectively deal with it.
And when the reason for your fear is fear itself – either based on experience or on tales of terror that plague the world – try to see what you can learn from it. Because while understanding leads to fear, the opposite is also true: fear can also lead to understanding. It can make us open our eyes to look for the cause of our danger, making us find new insights in the process. That is, if we dare to look, instead of keep our eyes shut even tighter.
Indirectly, every “wrong thing to do” hides the lesson and the realization of “the right thing to do”. And to discover that right thing to do, and to fully embrace it, is what makes the apprehension of its opposite dissipate.
So look into what frightens you, but also look away from it. Focus on the insight that either already found you or is still waiting for you to be discovered.
A philosophical dreamer with a passion for self-reflection and contemplating life. He’s serious about helping people with the insights he gathered, but playful in the way he communicates his wisdom. He left a career as environmental engineer behind, in favor of becoming a personal development coach and thought-provoking writer.