Hunting the Hunter

What we fear is a shadow creature of our own design. Conjured from conjecture, we give it power to frighten. Yet we can hunt this shadow beast and slay it through a realization of its fictional nature.

It is a phantasm, a sprite borne of our imagination that perishes without upkeep. To ignore, is to invoke decay. And to fully dismantle the fabricated foundation of faulty logic upon which it lies, we shine a light too bright to deny.

When we stop running and become still, the shadow stops — as any shadow would. Only when we flee does the fiend seemingly chase. Yet it’s merely our thoughts that make it so. Discard the thought — it dies.

We must not actively pursue, lest the shadow continue existing, moving in the opposite direction as prey. The shadow must be illuminated out of existence. Let there be light, and know that it is good.

Sensory Input

Where my friend sees a refrigerator, I see clutter, decaying produce, fluctuating temperatures, excessive noise, a cracked shelf, smudges — and that’s just one appliance in the kitchen. I have a tendency to see what’s broken within my surroundings. I do enjoy problem-solving but oftentimes my problem-identification process is in overdrive. But of course, if everything appears broken, the world will seem like it’s falling apart.

Where my friend sees a pleasant outing in the park, I see the potential for rain, the potential for too much sun, lack of toilets, traffic issues, food issues — and that’s before we even get in the car. I have a tendency to be overly cautious. I do enjoy planning and preparing but oftentimes my contingency-identification process is in overdrive. But of course, if everything seems as if it can go wrong, the world will appear like a hectic hellhole.

Where my friend sees a complaining worrywart, I see a vigilant guardian of well-functioning systems — and that’s just one of my duties. I have a tendency to be idealistic. I do enjoy pointing out potential issues but oftentimes my pronouncement process is in overdrive. But of course, if I announce every problem I perceive, it will be annoying to those around me.

Upon inspection, I can see that the world is not a hectic hellhole in which everything’s falling apart. This means my problem-identification process is too sensitive. It’s not the world itself that requires fixing, but my own perception of the world that needs adjustment. I can’t fix or plan for every problem or contingency, therefore an overly-sensitive system is not useful. Not only is it not useful, but by broadcasting every minor issue, it drowns out higher priority items and becomes a nuisance to others.

To tune an overly-sensitive system: I must readjust my sights to focus on what is working rather than what isn’t. I must monitor my identification process and reject unwarranted concern. I must resist the impulse to indiscriminately describe imperfections. Instead of drowning in problems, I can concentrate on the few I prefer. Instead of cautious inhibition, I can do what I please. Instead of irritating, I can be insightful.

Frightful Fun

If fear does not promote our safety, what is it and why does it exist? Realize that the world is all things to all people. Consequently each of us has the capacity to experience everything within it. Some people truly do enjoy a bit of fright in their life — scary movies, fast rides, tense standoffs, even relationship drama. For them, fear is a way to induce a thrilling adventure.

Then there are those of us that do not prefer such things — we like life a bit more mild. For us, eating spicy food is an exciting part of our week. When gazing over at the thrill-rides we balk at the idea that anyone could enjoy those contraptions, and yet they do, smiling and laughing as they disembark. But likewise, there are those that can’t fathom how sitting still and reading for hours on end can be fun for some.

Again, the world is all things to all people. If someone doesn’t like reading then the plan for them is easy: don’t read. The simple prescription for life is this: don’t engage with what you don’t prefer i.e. focus on what you like, not on what you don’t like. What about when people attempt to include us in activities we don’t prefer? We need to concentrate on doing our own thing — which can be a challenge in itself, but that’s the goal we must set.

It is within our ability to dismantle fear too. We can abstract life to the point of believing that nothing is real. Should frightful narratives cross our path we can refuse to acknowledge them and get back to what we want to experience. Fear is fine for those that enjoy it, but for those that don’t, we’re better off ignoring it completely. Instead of inspiring us to fight or take flight, fear tends to freeze us in our tracks — and we end up doing nothing at all.

In conclusion, fear is a valid means of moving life along for some people. For other people, fear causes anxiety and inaction and needs to be rejected.

Hiding Hole

I know someone that knows someone that lived right nextdoor to a house that was destroyed by a small airplane. I’ve seen a fair number of news-reports of houses exploding from gas leaks, of authorities forcibly entering the wrong residences, of cars crashing through walls, of spontaneous electrical fires, of tornados ripping dwellings to smithereens. I also recall hearing incidents of people choking on food while alone, of slips and falls, and of family members being abused — all within the confines of their home. In short, if safety is our goal, we cannot hide within our home. Yet we dare not step foot outside of our house since calamity awaits us there too.

No matter where we go we’re exposed to danger lurking around every corner. If we believe in fear, there are no safe-havens. Our only solution to this precarious predicament is to demolish fear itself. After all, fear is what paralyzes us into remaining within that death-trap we call a house. We must come to the conclusion that life is not out to destroy us. If life was so menacing we would not have been born, humanity would have been wiped out long ago. Our existence proves that the world favors creation over destruction. It is an untruth to claim the world is wicked. Life never lied to us, we know our time is temporary.

The thrill of life comes from its fleeting nature. For entertainment, do we stare at a single static image for hours on end? No, we watch flickering pictures filled with plot twists and misfortune. We abhor boredom yet we so often claim we’d prefer a predictable path through life. We crave interesting experiences, so we need to stop telling ourselves otherwise. And should we find ourselves bored, then we know fear is to blame. There’s plenty of stuff to do, we’re simply allowing fear to prevent our participation.

What are we protecting ourselves from? Death? Nope, that’s guaranteed. An early departure? Nope, too many internal and external factors at play — can’t account for them all. Pain? Nope, it can come a hundred different ways, and sitting still for long periods of time is one of them. Embarrassment or shame? Nope, people are judgmental — criticism is eternal, it can’t be avoided only ignored. Failure? Nope, life has no documented goal. The only thing we need protect ourself from is fear.

Which is worse? Fear induced loneliness and listlessness from self-imposed imprisonment? Or the excitement of exploration and the intensity of interaction? Neither path promises safety, but which one guarantees grief and which one has the potential for a fulfilling adventure? Fear is no friend, let it go and be free of the anxious influence.

Daydream Believer

I was never much of a daydreamer. A worrier, yes. But since I no longer allow worrisome thoughts to linger, I have to fill in the gaps with something. So now if some thought about the future strikes my fancy I try to encourage it, explore the scenario a bit. I’ll even do some online research. I’ve found that I enjoy imagining such scenes. It’s nice.

For instance, not too long ago I was fantasizing about the prospect of receiving a large sum of money and moving to Disney World and living in Golden Oak. But I was wondering how I’d get there. I developed a tentative itinerary in which I would take a motorhome down the coast and stay in some really nice locations. But I didn’t want to go camping per se, I just wanted the comfort of traveling with a bathroom and kitchen on hand, plus it’d have decent storage.

In the past I’ve had actual nightmares about driving large motorhomes though. And since I wouldn’t really be camping, it’d make sense to have a tiny motorhome that can fit into parking spaces. That’s why I finally decided on a Roadtrek, either the SS Agile or the 190 Popular. These are standard parking-space sized vehicles. But the more I researched tiny motorhomes, the more I liked the idea — it’s become my new interest. Now I want to travel around to a few spots I picked out and see some sights.

I strongly dislike home-maintenance tasks. The idea of not having a house and yard to take care of tends to excite me. And in a lot of ways traveling around suits me. But of course, under current conditions none of this seems possible, I simply can’t afford it. Back in the day I would have resigned myself to this fact and chastised myself for considering a goal that could only end in disappointment (what a miserable outlook). Nowadays though, I’m more optimistic.

Part of the optimism deals with not taking life so seriously. If my goal doesn’t work out, so what? I can have fun planning it all. If while planning I find a new interest and set a new goal, that’s great too. I’m a little frustrated that I can’t have what I want right now, but that’s just how goals work. I have no practical plan to attain this goal, it’s merely a wish right now. But I’ve stopped limiting myself to practicality. I’ve been so overburdened by my habit of placing constraints on everything that I need to tryout the other perspective for awhile. Bon Voyage!

Mental Mastery

With metaphorical sword in mind, I slice rumination.
Selectively severing connection to negative anticipation.
With dread now dead, remnants wither in decay.
Mentally fencing swordplay, practiced everyday.

Ever at the ready, flashing steel like lightening.
Power against dour, removing what’s frightening.
Unsheathed calm makes anxiety crumble.
Blade so deft, pessimistic thoughts just stumble.

Psychic samurai causing sadness to despair.
An unencumbered ronin, drifting without a care.
Warrior defeating worry, I master my mentality.
Redefining reality, realizing the totality, I find my vitality.

Stimulating Life

Life introduces all sorts of intrusions that activate our senses — and it is in our best interest to find favorable interpretations. It is undeniable that a pleasant perspective of events creates more enjoyable moods. If we focus our thoughts on what we prefer, and adjust our attitudes toward the positive, we feel better.

But maybe it’s more than that. Perhaps life provides a stimulus and our reaction determines actual outcomes. Under this theory, life regularly introduces random stimuli and our thoughts determine what physically occurs. For instance, is it a simple pain in our side or something more sinister? Under this theory, we decide. But this is not typically a conscious decision because it tends to be made for us by preexisting beliefs.

But what if we were able to make it a conscious decision by using mental discipline to alter our beliefs and select the option we prefer. We already know about the power of placebos and nocebos, so part of the theory has already been proven to a point. But where exactly is that line of demarcation? Is there a real dividing line or is it simply a matter of belief? How much can thought influence outcome?

Perhaps life is like a computer simulation, and inhabitants actually program their lives in real-time based on expectations. If we alter our expectations, we may receive different results. Why do outcomes vary so wildly between individuals despite following similar paths? But even if this theory isn’t true, there’s a benefit to believing it.

If we truly believe that our expectations influence life’s outcomes, then we’ll make sure to monitor our minds, actively pruning out the negativity. We dare not think dour thoughts lest they come true. If we keep ourselves from pessimism, we’re cheerier. With this practice, we’re using anxiety as a means to maintain lighthearted moods — fear facilitating felicity.