Freedom from Fear, Anxiety & Other Negativities
By Dr. Tan Kheng Khoo
Since birth until now all of us have been taught to worry, to be
anxious, to be apprehensive and to fear. All the consequences of any
future failure are spelled out in great detail for us. We are not
allowed to perform poorly, let alone fail. This atmosphere is our
prevailing condition of our growing up. In addition, we are
repeatedly told of the shame we would bring to the family if we fail
or not succeed! We are instructed to do well in our studies in order
to earn a living. After we obtain a good living, we can then look
for a pretty wife, who is preferably rich. So in the first quarter
century of our life, we are asked to be attached to our mental-ego
status, our material welfare and our relationships. Thus, during the
whole of the first 25 years of our life we have many negative
records made in our left brain. Now we can trace the multiple causes
of our fears and anxieties. Before we go into that let us remind
ourselves of the
1) Fear of Pain: torture to the physical body
2) Fear of Loss: separation from loved ones and loss of one’s faculties.
3) Fear of Meaninglessness: not being needed or loved anymore
4) Fear of the Unknown: foreboding about eternal damnation and punishment for sinful behaviour
5) Fear of Non Being: self-annihilation or total disappearance of identity.
All the following causes of fear are due to the Ego, which is not willing to be submerged by the unconditional love of the soul. We will go more into the antics of the Ego later.
The causes of fear are the following: -
1) Karmic Inheritance
All of us have been reincarnated millions of times. That means we have committed heinous crimes like murder, rape and theft in our past lives. In those incarnations we were told that we would have had to be burnt in hell forever or other eternal damnation but we did not! These quilt complexes are brought over to this life as our ‘shadow’, which means we have numerous underlying fears that the ‘hell’ promised us is still laying in wait to pounce upon us at any time.
Every time we come down to be reincarnated we bring with us only a percentage of our total karma to be worked at usually about 10% to 20%. This is because we cannot handle 100% our karma in one incarnation. We bring down both good and bad karma, depending on our potential fortitude in the physical. Before we descend into the physical, we know that in order to eliminate the bad karma, we have to use love, compassion, service and forgiveness and other unselfish tools. But the minute we are born we have amnesia, and forget the promises we made to ourselves. And that is why we have this inherent quilt and anxiety the minute we are born. Not all parents teach us right and wrong; they teach us to be successful. So the feeling of quilt is inborn.
While sojourning through this life, we have forgotten about our promises and our ‘G-plan’. But the underlying ‘shadow’ keeps us unhappy. As we progress through this life, we also further commit good and bad karma, which will come into fruition later in this life or next life. If it is bad karma we have accumulated, we will have added tension from the thought of future retribution. All this quilt, tension and stress will add to our fears and other negativities.
The last point in this section is that we are reborn together with most of our friends, relatives, competitors and enemies. We are now given a chance to redeem ourselves, or to pay back the karma we owe our benefactors from the past. Further, we are also given a chance to promote service to our current relatives and friends, which is part of our mission in life. So do not waste it.
2) Genetic Inheritance
In this section, we should realize that we chose our parents, and therefore we knew all about their physical characteristics, genetic makeup and the inborn diseases we will inherit from both our parents. For example, shortsightedness and diabetes are definitely inheritable. Then, some cancers, like breast cancer, are also more prone to occur in the same family. Similarly, high cholesterol runs in families, and therefore heart attacks and strokes again tend to occur more frequently in these families. Therefore, if we know about these inheritable diseases, we anxiously wait for them to turn up. This is an added fear and anxiety.
(a) Parents, siblings and relatives: These relatives exert an influence over us only to the extent of the way we think. This is especially so when we worship our mentors or parents or older relatives. The influence may be reversed when we know better as we grow older.
(b) Teachers, colleagues and peers: these personalities exert the same amount of influence as the above except for a charismatic teacher. The latter could really influence the student very strongly and for a very long time, but here again the individual will outgrow the admiration of the teacher in due course
(c) Communal, social and national: here it depends on the character of the person and the political climate of the country he is living in. Whether one would like to be in the in-crowd and how much one-upmanship there is in the community are all relevant to the issue. Take for instance the national characteristics of not wanting to be left out and fear of being wrong, backward and not keeping up with the Jones’s. The local word for it is ‘Kiasurism’.
4) Simple consciousness versus Self-consciousness.
Everything on earth has consciousness. We started as mineral and moved on to vegetable. Then we graduated into animals, from which we finally arrive at our present state --- humans. As mineral and vegetable we possess only primitive consciousness. Then, when we became animals, we had simple consciousness. Finally as humans, we are endowed with self-consciousness. Primitive and simple consciousness is of the group variety. That means their consciousness recognizes only ‘us’ and ‘them’. There is no ‘I’ involved. The simple consciousness of animals makes them aware of only their surroundings as a group. They have survival instincts, but no free will. When one creature learns something it is passed on to its fellow creatures even though the other animals are in other islands to which places there is no possibility of any communication. Besides animals do not have a proper structured language.
As humans we arrived at a higher stage of consciousness: --self-consciousness. At this stage, we are aware that we are aware. We can now think conceptually, and we are able to plan and therefore also start to worry. We also have free will. There is now a sense of sin associated with a quilt complex. Because of this mind of ours, we start to compare, and envy and jealousy become the mainstay of our worries. We feel that we are separate, and this individualization gives birth to pride. With all these complexes, there is an inherent discontent, because it is never enough.
At this point of time, self-consciousness will begin to ask questions when one begins to mature. The questions are: ‘Who am I? ‘Where do I come from?’ ‘Why am I here?’ and ‘Where do I go from here?’ Although some of us who ask these questions may take several thousands of years to arrive at the next stage of super consciousness, nevertheless, the journey has already started towards ‘Christ Consciousness’. The anxiety here is only about when will I arrive at the next stage. There is no fear involved here.
When we graduate from the primitive through to simple consciousness and to self-consciousness, we do not discard our primitive instincts. These instincts remain with us, but we have our mental concepts and inhibitive controls over our urges, desires and instincts. Therefore, our rational mind will continually conflict with our instincts, and if we give in to our instincts, regrets and quilt will dominate our subconscious mind. There is here a constant source of fear.
The Four Basic Instincts:
Hunger >>>>>>>> Food
Homeless >>>>>>>> Shelter
Insecurity >>>>>>>> Security
Celibacy >>>>>>> Sex
5) Left Versus Right Brain
The left side of the brain is the logical, analytical and linear aspects of our brain. Throughout childhood we instill our will and fear of failure in this side of our brain. Therefore all the negative records are made in this hemisphere of the brain.
The right side of the brain is where we open our mind to erase or break the records in the left brain when we meditate. New positive records can be made. The right brain is spatial, intuitive, non-verbal and holistic.
From the above catalogue of the qualities of the left and right brain, one can see how diametrically opposite they are. Consequently, in trying to adjust from left to right or vice versa one can understand how conflicts may arise. This is especially so in countries of Chinese origin in which Confucianism is the basic background of upbringing. Take for instance, a boy who is principally right brain is born left- handed. He is spatial, non-rational with no sense of time. Although he is holistic intuitive, he is also non-verbal. The teacher and the parents are forcing him to change into right-handed. This causes great conflict resulting in anxiety and fear in school. Being non-verbal, he is unable to answer the questions pose to him by the teacher. This gets him down and depressed which further accentuate his fear of school, parents and school- mates. Life is then quite miserable for him.
6) Fight and Flight Syndrome:
When we are in the jungle, whenever we see an animal, the instinctive mind prepares us for either a fight or flight. If it is a tiger, we run like hell. If it is a deer, we prepare to kill it for food. In both cases, our mind stimulates the body to secrete lots of chemicals and hormones (e.g. adrenaline, cortisone and sugars). After the fight or flight, all these chemicals would be used up, and then we will have a rest. However, in the present context, in the concrete jungle, we meet our adversaries everyday in the form of our bosses or colleagues. Under these circumstances, there is no possibility of a ‘fight or flight’ situation. Therefore the hormones and other chemicals remain in our bodies. These cause tension in us, which again leads to anxiety, worry and fear. Diseases like gastric ulcer, hypertension and heart problems may ensue if these conditions persist.
7) Materialism, Relationship and Ego:
(a)Materialism. These are usually composed of money, house, stocks and shares, cars and businesses etc. Most people in the developing and developed countries spend all their lives acquiring these possessions and objects. Therefore having acquired them, we tend to cling on to these possessions dearly and steadfastly. We do not want to ‘Let go’. The possessions themselves are neutral and harmless, but it is the possessiveness that causes us the worry, anxiety and fear of losing them.
(b) Relationships. These involve spouse, children, siblings, parents, friends, other relatives, and colleagues, work mates, employees and employers. In this category, we are more likely to be anxious and worrying than fearful. However, a relationship is more tenacious than a possession; the other party is alive and has a mind of her own. Therefore the other person cannot be treated as a possession or a plaything. She can retaliate and take actions of her own to initiate your downfall! Therefore, there is a fear on the one hand of losing the other party, on the other hand, there is a fear of the other party rocking the boat. You want peace of mind, but your G-plan does not allow it. Hence, tension anxiety and fear.
(c) Ego: The following tend to solidify the ego: social status, I. Q., academic achievements, positions in workplace, financial power and physical health. The possessor of all these qualities tends to be egoistic. However, the ego has a definite function. Its job is to look after the physical body primarily, but it also uses the mind to effect this function. It should only sound the alarm when there is any sign of danger. After so many life times, it has got out of hand and has become an alarmist instead. It tends to instill fear and quilt with destructive and negative feelings, when there is no danger at all. If it simply sounds the alarm when there is real impending danger; it is then performing its job. Otherwise, it simply causes too much anxiety and worry to the individual. On the whole ego has these qualities: fearful, quilt, shame, feels separate, alone, critical of self and others, takes self very seriously, manipulative, cunning, full of pride, boastful, braggart, rather be right than happy, loses peace with changes, blaming, suspicious, feels desperate, confused, judgmental, always comparing, competing, fearful of scarcity and deprivation, acquisitive, greedy, jealous tense, self-serving, controlling of other people, seeks to get love from outside. So one can see why with a dominant ego, one is predominantly endowed with most of these traits. Of course, fear, quilt and shame predominate. Under these circumstances, one needs the soul qualities to counter balance the ego’s negative foibles.
8) Suggestions by:
Relatives and friends, media (newspapers, magazines, TV and radio advertisements), religions and superstitions. Our mind is like a radio receiving set. It receives information from the above either directly or from the ether, and we immediately assume that the information is authoritative and for our good. We do not bother to sit down and assess the validity of the information. Some of the information is very scary, and without verifying the truth of the news, we begin straight away to worry and fear. That is the essence of rumour mongering to frighten you!
9) Birth Traumas.
Until lately, very few psychiatrists would correlate birth traumas to psychological symptoms. However, one can imagine the very harrowing process of ploughing through the birth canal with the foetal head. There is a tremendous amount of suffocation and anxiety getting through with amniotic fluid in the mouth or lungs: there is a great amount of aggression utilized for the foetus to survive. All these adverse traumas are buried in our ‘shadow’, and will be brought out under extreme stress situations, e.g. someone going amok and carry out a killing spree, or the frequently bad tempered spouse and father beating up wife and children. This may be related to the aggression culminated during the birth process. Then, there are symptoms like difficulty in breathing or asthma; there may also be shoulder pain, but no anatomical reason for it (this is due to the foetal shoulder pushing against the mother’s pelvic bone). There are also a host of aches and pain, which are totally inexplicable medically. All these symptoms are hidden in the individual’s ‘shadow ‘ due to birth trauma. However, if in the post-natal state, the mother showers love and care over to the baby, memories of these birth traumas may be encapsulated, and they do not surface at all throughout life. Also the traumas vary from person to person, and the reaction to the traumas varies from person to person. Therefore, a difficult birth does not necessarily mean that it will lead to a neurotic lifestyle, but many neurotic symptoms may be traced to a difficult birth.
There are other causes of fear and other negative traits, which we will not go into.
Therefore from the above causes, one may categorize most humans nowadays into three:
1) Sad Worrier
2) 2) Peaceful Warrior
3) 3) No Hoper.
The majority of us fall into the sad worrier category, as the above causes may testify. However there is a small percentage of ‘old souls’, who knows the odds and the existence of a ‘G-plan’. These peaceful warriors take things as they come, and they know that their true selves are not involved. Adversities also come to them, but they tackle them like a warrior with no negative emotions, and the problems are always met with a smile! Lastly there is a very small category who have no initiative whatsoever: they are usually born with a silver spoon in their mouths materially, but they do not make any attempt to improve themselves physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. They dissipate away their lives indulging in gambling, drugs and sex, and they become quite useless citizens. These are the ‘no hopers’.
1) D E U S. This acronym is useful in a general sense. ‘D’ stands for desire to remove the fear and other negativities, that is a desire to improve oneself. It also stands for de-stress.
‘E’ stands for exercise, which must be done daily or at least five times a week. It also stands for enjoyment, especially in one’s work. The last item is for enlightenment: that means one must pursue activities towards it, e.g. social work to help others and most importantly to ‘Let go’.
‘U’ stands for understanding. Try and find out the causes of your fear and understand how it came about. Then forgive those whom you have been blaming. Then do a ‘U turn’ in your life. Change the direction of your life completely, and discard all at once your bad habits. Lastly convert all your selfishness and ill will to Unconditional Love. A lot of effort must be expended to achieve this, as it is a radical change.
‘S’ stands for silence, which includes meditation and seclusion. One must also surrender to one’s Tao, that is your G-plan. Lastly it also stands for service. Serve your fellow humans, animals and vegetation.
so that we can(a) Stop the panic records as soon as they are being played. The action of stopping the record must be quick or else when the fear has diffused throughout the whole body it becomes a very difficult problem to solve. The symptom usually starts at the 3rd chakra (around the solar plexus), and when given time it will normally surge through the whole body. (b) So stop it and come to concentrate on your breath for at least five minutes. (c) Then end the session with thoughts of goods times or successful events.
3) TRANQUILITY OR CONCENTRATION MEDITATION:
Twice a day of at least 30 minutes duration. This
This meditation decouples one’s intellect from its attendant emotion. For instance, when one thinks of one’s boss and fear arises, the fear can be decoupled from the thought of the boss. This process may be repeated day after day until fear or hate may one day be replaced by love.
our soul or true self is not our personality or ego. That means we have to meditate with awareness and discernment for years until we can see clearly that the physical, emotional and mental bodies are not the true self. Disidentification of these three vehicles and realizing the soul will definitely and eternally destroy any vestiges of fear and other negativities. However it is indeed a tall order to be able to accomplish this self-realization in this incarnation.
Do not switch faith or religion just because your good friends ask you to do it. Be a better Christian, Buddhist, Hindu or Muslim, if you are already one of these.
imagine is real for that period, and a good clairvoyant can see your
After trying all the above, and still there is no improvement, try and look for a counsellor. The counsellor must be chosen very carefully. In this instance, the counsellor must be wise rather than intelligent. He must necessarily be experienced in the subject to be discussed. He must not be a smart aleck. Therefore to get this wise guide, try a doctor who has time or a priest or monk with worldly experience, or finally a spiritual friend who has no axe to grind. The counsellor must then possess wisdom, patience, compassion, time and empathy. He should not be a gossip.
everything that is presented to you for the next 24 hours after a
panic attack. That means no pessimism or negativity during this 24