There’s a saying, “what you resist persists.”
More than just a rhyming phrase, this is actually a law of the universe.
Anyone who’s ever experienced a strong fear, such as fear of public speaking or fear of flying, knows that the more you try to avoid the thing you fear, the more persistently it haunts your life.
I used to be terrified of public speaking.
My fear started in college when I had a couple of bad experiences giving presentations in class. The first time I felt nervous, which is only natural, but when my arms and legs shook because of my nerves I could not help but feel embarrassed.
The next time I had to give a presentation, I worried about my arms and legs shaking. And guess what? They shook even worse! The more I fretted about my fear and the ensuing embarrassment, the worse my symptoms became.
I was in a state of total resistance to public speaking and my fear about public speaking progressed. However life kept sending me situations where I had to speak in public.
It was a terrible predicament. On the one hand my fear was starting to control my life. I was executing all kinds of extreme maneuvers to avoid situations where I might have to speak in public. On the other hand, I felt angry with myself because many of those speaking situations took place at events which I wanted to attend.
What does baseball have to do with any of this, you might ask.
The universe is like the pitcher and you’re the batter. The universe pitches easy balls that you can hit with confidence. Yet it also pitches all kinds of balls: balls of pleasure, balls of pain, balls of opportunity, and balls of difficulty.
If there’s a particular kind of ball that you do not accept, the pitcher will throw more of those your way. If you’re terrified of getting hit by the ball, the pitcher will try to hit you with the ball. If you’re going to play in the big leagues (or even just in a social league) you cannot afford to resist any kind of ball. You have to be willing to play each ball.
Feel the Fear
In terms of my fear of public speaking, I didn’t want to hole up in my house and become an agoraphobic, so I sought all kinds of help. I have tried many different healing modalities to help cope with fear and I can say with confidence that these situations always boil down to the same thing. You must be willing to feel the fear.
When you do, you discover that fear comes from thoughts, which in turn stimulates physical sensations. You must feel those physical sensations and not resist them. As you wait in your seat to give the presentation, or to play the piano, or whatever it is, examine the sensations of shaking limbs, of rapid heartbeat, of shallow breathing. Say to the universe: “Bring it on.”
Then an interesting thing happen. You start to experience these adrenaline sensations simply as energy.
When it’s your turn to give the presentation, you may still have a little shakiness or dry mouth, but the energy coursing through your body will give a liveliness to your speech. It’s this energy that famous actors and athletes tap into during their best performances. It’s the same energy that your annoying drama teacher in high school told you to channel.
Here’s the coup d’grace of my entire struggle with public speaking: Being willing to feel my fear was the gateway to spiritual awakening.
In fact, it’s not only the gateway, it’s the entire spiritual path. It’s called “being with the What Is.”
Beneath any strong emotion, including a negative emotion, is a fountain of energy. If you’re resisting your feelings and the associated sensations, you’re resisting the energy of life. Your resisting the joy of life.
So batter up! Enjoy the game!
About the Author: Linda Hardesty is a professional editor for a Silicon Valley publication. In 2014 she experienced a spiritual awakening at the Oneness University in India. Now, she uses her skills as a writer and editor to help others on their awakening journeys via her website http://awakeones.com/awake-ones-lp/