Fear is a sensation that we name according to the situation. If you are standing at the rim of the Grand Canyon, you speak of fear of heights: acrophobia. If you fear being in a crowded place the word is agoraphobia. There are a thousand names for fear, but only one sensation; which can be present in varying degrees of intensity.
Throughout evolution, fear was our teacher of survival. It alerted us to danger. It told us “be prepared.” This was, and remains, the healthy aspect of fear. But today, at least in the developed world, we have relatively few threats from outside. Our greatest threats come from within us; from what we tell ourselves about others, or our situation and the anxiety, insecurity, hate, or even terror those thoughts create. Our minds create fears by believing stories such as, “I’ll be all alone in my old age,” or “I won’t have enough money.” There is only one sensation of fear, but limitless stories that will arouse it in us.
As long as there is a compulsive avoidance of any threatening or distressing feeling, fear unconsciously remains the god ruling our psychic life. Real transformation begins when you are able to bow before fear and acknowledge its power, but declare that it is no longer your god. At that moment you become the disciple of a new god: Awareness. Immediately, what awareness asks of you is to learn, to the best of your ability, to remain present and open even when there is fear.