Unfear: A Guide to Unlocking Your Inner Potential
By Suvir Saran Towards the end of 2021, I’m in a bittersweet state of mind, brooding over all the loved ones I’ve lost to COVID. I feel exhausted and broken, but I know that in order to honor them I have to find a way to move forward. I need to get up and embrace life with enthusiasm.
The outside world is not going to make this easy; 2022 is headed for a disturbing and frightening start. Public health is at an all-time low, the climate crisis is accelerating and our social fabric is unraveling. Is it any wonder that anxiety disorders have become endemic in the population? So when I stumbled upon the book “Unfear” by Gaurav Bhatnagar and Mark Minukas, my interest was piqued. I was surprised to find, in the first chapter of a “business book”, a story that my grandmother told me when I was a child, growing up in Delhi: the myth of the churning of the ocean of milk. In a time of relentless death and war, all beings in the universe, from Devas (demigods) to Asuras (demons), have come together to churn the ocean of milk to produce the elixir of life, which would give vitality and prosperity to the shopping center.
As they stirred the ocean, all kinds of positive things emerged, including gems and the wishing tree. But as they continued to fight greedily, deadly poison also flowed from the ocean and began to kill humans, demigods, and demons. Fearing that the poison would eradicate all life, demigods, demons and humans turned to Shiva, one of the three supreme deities, for help. Shiva took the poison in his mouth and held it in his throat. He didn’t swallow it, so he wasn’t affected. Freed from poison, the universe of living beings flourished. Holding the poison made Shiva’s throat blue (Neela), and he was now called Neelkantha. “Unfear” invites each of us to be Neelkanth in our daily life which can be so full of chaos and stress. Hold fear in our throat without letting it poison us; to reframe fear, so that in the face of it, we do not compound the chaos by collapsing into fight-or-flight reactions, but rather create learning and growth, both for our personal well-being and for the welfare of others.
Digging deeper (both into the book and into myself), three of the authors’ concepts gave me the momentum I needed to move forward. First, fear is a natural human emotion, neither good nor bad. What makes it restrictive or expansive is the story we associate with it. Rather than focusing on the adversity I am facing, I need to focus on the story I am creating around it and asking if the story is holding me back or creating space for me to move forward. As the authors say, “The story we create about fear matters more than the fear itself.”
Second, I am both the actor and the director of my life. When I live my life as a simple actor, I am at the mercy of what life has in store for me. I become my thoughts and my emotions. However, there is also a part of me that can observe myself, my actions and my behavior. Therefore, I am bigger than my thought and much richer than the emotions I show. From this place of observation, I can direct and be the active cause of my life rather than just an effect of it. The final idea comes from Advaita Vedanta. We humans are / have infinite potential. The vital force which manifested the Universe is the vital force which lives in us; it is the source of our own creative potential and of our actions. We will never be exhausted because there is always something more, new opportunities and possibilities, that we can call in response to whatever life has in store for us.
The good news is that we are already wearing a fearless version of ourselves. We just need to free him. As Michelangelo said in 1495 when he finished Angel, one of the first masterpieces: “I saw the angel in marble and carved it until I frees him. Likewise, the fearless individual already exists within us. It is enough to chisel the stone to release it. Understanding ourselves as infinite potential allows us to be creative (guiding) in our response to any situation in life, and also gives us access to an unlimited source of energy to face life’s challenges. When we live in infinite potential, we are vibrant, inexhaustible, creative and joyful.
Nothing in the world can change, but when what’s inside changes, our experience of life is transformed. So this is my resolution for 2022. May the world contribute what it can, I have the power to transform it into learning, creativity and joy. I choose to focus on the story, to be the director of my life and to recognize the infinite potential that I have within me. And my most sincere wish to you, dear reader, my traveling companion on this journey of life, is that you do the same and that you create a fearless, productive and joyful year 2022.
Disclaimer: The author of this opinion piece is Suvir Saran, who is a chef, author and world traveler. (ANI)
(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)