A YOGI CHA BLOG
STOP RUNNING AWAY
Hi, I’m Charlotte (Yogi Cha). I’m a yoga teacher with a degree in clinical psychology. When not teaching, I enjoy learning and writing (my blog) about both eastern and western approaches to body-mind union.
I HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE HERE
Let’s address fear this way: it comes along when we perceive a threat to our survival. This is on a deeper level than our conscious mind. On a biological level, what happens when we perceive a threat is that the body prepares itself to resolve the situation, either by running from it or by fighting the perceived threat. We have this deeply rooted in our survival instinct.
To become stronger, faster, perfected in life for survival, we register everything that happens within. Like a hard disk, the body stores any little detail that has been observed, from conception and on. Whether we remember it in our conscious mind or not doesn’t really matter, it is well preserved by us as a whole. This is why we can have surprisingly accurate reactions in a stressful situation even though we don’t remember having experienced it before or ever learning how to act in this particular scenario. It is also the reason we seem to overreact in situations that might not be so threatening, seen from the outside.
Really, when it comes to how we react in life, it doesn’t depend much on what actually happens. What matters is how we perceive it.
We even have captors on the skin, constantly reading the external environment, sends this to the brain for interpretation. And the brain will then use the stored information to quickly know what to do. If there’s an alarm going off inside saying that our survival is in danger, we will act accordingly.
So it comes down to what survival is to each and one of us.
When you are born, you depend on the people around you for survival. You can’t feed or shelter yourself and you count doubtlessly on others for this. The concept of safety and security is based at this time. Depending on what you learn through this; the world will seem to be a happy, warm and safe place or you will learn that you need to struggle in life to survive. The perception on what survival actually is will then be very different depending on the person.
As we go through life, most of the survival triggers are not tangible dangers but much more subtle and so, of course, more challenging to handle. So what do we do with it?
We develop mechanisms that will protect us in situations where we feel threatened. We deny, we regress and we develop addictions to various things and use them as a shield against what seems to be the danger threatening our lives. The focus will now be on this thing that we have this symptom of what actually lies behind it. It’s the personality complex that is structured over the years. The way we are, how we behave and the habits we develop. So what people see when they look at us is all the decorations that we have collected and it starts with how we hold ourselves in space, how we walk and talk etc. The way we dress and what we choose to do with this thing called our life.
When you start to look beyond the decorations, when you can start to UNDERSTAND someone, see them for who they truly are, that is when things become clear. You start to see what they do for survival. You will understand that their actions have developed from what they have learned. That their denial, regression, addictions are protections against danger, against pain.
As everything else in life, it starts with you. So if you want to understand yourself, if you want to break away from destructive behavior or become free of addictions you need to look beneath the surface. You need to find the fear that lies behind and understand why you are fighting for survival. Why would it feel like self destruction, why would it feel like dying if you didn’t reach for that support system that you have built up?
This is why fear is your compass, your teacher. Don’t react so fast, sit with it and ask it where it is coming from. It might take a while. It doesn’t matter, you have nowhere else to be.
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