Two Perspectives-Moving from Fear to Compassion

Two Perspectives on moving from fear to compassion

Two perspectives’ is a monthly column with two different perspectives from two different continents, genders and cultures on the same topic viz.

Janet Smith Warfield (based in Florida, USA) and
Dr Amit Nagpal (based in New Delhi, India).


 Janet Smith Warfield's Perspective



Free Yourself From Fear Forever-A video by Janet Smith Warfield



As I walked into the personal growth workshop, the facilitators asked me what I hoped to gain from the weekend. I knew that answer. I desperately wanted to release my fear.

I was afraid of what other people might think, what other people might do, conflict, losing relationships, being different, making a fool of myself. I had been betrayed many times. I was afraid to trust. Most of all, I was afraid of my fear.

As the workshop began, the facilitators asked us to make four commitments: don’t chew gum, don’t interrupt, be on time, and do whatever we were told.

I had no problem with the first three requests. I never chewed gum, I didn’t often speak in front of strangers, and being punctual mattered.

However, I had a problem with the last request—doing whatever we were told. History had taught me that humans had ordered other humans to rape, pillage, steal, and kill.

I was conflicted. I didn’t want to agree. On the other hand, I wanted to learn how to release my fear, and I was afraid of being different and losing the workshop I had paid to attend. Reluctantly, I said yes.

My decision nagged me all week as I waited for the second workshop to begin. I knew the facilitators would demand the same four commitments. Was I going to cave in again and agree? I decided I was not. I was terrified.

Sleepless night after sleepless night, I tossed and turned. What would the facilitators say? How would the other participants act? How should I prepare? My what-ifs continued to torment me.

Fortunately, I had had several years in NarAnon, a support group for families and friends of addicts. NarAnon had taught me I couldn’t fix anyone else. I could only fix myself. NarAnon taught that I needed the help of a Power greater than myself. It suggested “Let go and let God.”

I didn’t much like that word “God.” It always made me think of an old man with a long white beard, sitting on a thundercloud with a lightening bolt in his hand, waiting to strike me dead if I didn’t do some unclear thing he wanted me to do. I had always considered myself an intellectual agnostic.

I did like the words “Power greater than myself” better than the word “God.” However, I had to deal with my terror somehow, I couldn’t do it by myself, and I didn’t have time to engage in the niceties of semantics.

Tears streaming down my face, I threw myself to my knees on the living room floor and pleaded, “God help me!”

Suddenly, a magnificent calm flooded my body. Together, I knew we could handle it.

The second workshop began. Again, the facilitators asked us to make the four commitments. I refused to agree to do whatever I was told.

The room turned surly. The facilitators said the workshop could not continue until every one agreed. Ultimately, they walked out, leaving me alone with a furious group of participants.

Bill had taken time off from work to attend the workshop. Jane was paying for a babysitter so that she could attend. Raymond slammed his fist on the table. Mary screamed in my face. John called me an uncooperative bitch. I felt nothing but compassion and love.

The facilitators returned and asked me to leave the workshop. It no longer mattered. I had received exactly what I came to get—release of my fear.

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Janet Smith Warfield serves wisdom-seekers who want understanding and clarity so they can live peaceful, powerful, prosperous lives. Through her unique combination of holistic, creative, right-brain transformational experiences and 22 years of rigorous, left-brain law practice, she has learned how to sculpt words in atypical ways to shift her listeners into experiences beyond words, transforming turmoil into inner peace. For more information, see www.janetsmithwarfield.com; www.wordsculpturespublishing.com; and www.wordsculptures.com.

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Dr Amit Nagpal's Perspective

We stay in a state of fear most of the time-the fear of hurting our body, the fear of getting hurt in love, the fear of failure, the fear of not meeting goals at work, the fear of losing our job and so on. Most of the time our fears are expressions of emotional baggage because we expect the past experience to repeat itself. ‘Once bitten, twice shy’ has a very interesting equivalent in Hindi which means the one who got burnt by hot milk drinks even cold buttermilk with caution.

Someone has rightly said, Fear or F.E.A.R. stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. Most of the time our fears are imaginary. Sometimes we may have deep rooted fears also, which we try to overcome very hard but fail again and again. Let’s say every time a blind person tries to walk on his own, he gets hurt. He has a very justified reason for fear. But still if one persists, tries to learn from the experience and acts with determination, fear can be overcome most of the time.

The well known book by Dale Carnegie, “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” forces us to reflect. Firstly worry arises from fear and when you live with fear, you are not living fully. Secondly when you release the fear (after becoming aware of your fears), then only you can start living a truly joyful life. 

How do we release fears and move from fear to compassion. We need to replace each thought of fear with compassion. Let us take few examples. Supposing you have a fear of dogs. Just remember that positive vibrations tend to invite positive vibrations in return. Look at the dogs with compassion. As you replace your fearful thoughts with compassionate thoughts, you will notice that the dogs will stop barking at you or become less aggressive.

Let us take another example. Many people have a fear of crime in developing countries. Have you ever realized that when you send vibrations of fear, you may attract more crime or thieves? After all the fear will be often visible in your face/body language and will give hints to the wrong people that you are feeling scared. Once a client asked me, “If I become a good human being, aren’t people more likely to misuse me?” I replied, “First become a smart human being and then become a good human being.” 

Moving to compassion does not mean becoming compassionate to criminals and thieves. (In fact that is also possible but at a very advanced stage.) But an average person needs to become smart enough so that the tendency of fear of being cheated or fooled comes down. As a result it becomes easier for us to be compassionate and even develop a strong sense of intuition and recognizing the negative vibes in people.

Filling ourselves with positive emotions of gratitude for the universe is very helpful in moving from fear to compassion. I once posted on Facebook, “The universe wants its abundance to flow freely. We only, block it with negative thoughts, lack of faith and often due to lack of gratitude. If we are not grateful to universe for what we have already received, what is the guarantee that we will be grateful, if we get more?”

Our attitude towards problems and challenges is critical to let the fear go. We need to understand that ups and downs are part of life and life cannot be a straight line. As the joke goes, “The only time ECG graph is a straight line is when you are dead.”
Here is a nice video on fear and worry from Robin Sharma, the well known leadership guru and motivational speaker.

So stop acting with fear and start acting with compassion.
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Dr. Amit Nagpal is a Personal Branding Consultant, passionate Blogger, and Motivational Speaker based in New Delhi, India. He specializes in personal branding with a holistic touch. His philosophy is “Take Charge of your Life and your Brand”

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