There is no fear in love, put perfect love casts out fear...
— 1 John 4:18a NRSV, Chrisitan Scripture
Fear impedes inner peace and can hold us back from living with abundance and grace. Fear is everywhere right now, and I know I am not at my best when trapped in fight, flight or freeze. If you are willing, join me this week in prayerfully listening to our fears, and together let’s seek a path toward greater peace and freedom. The 7-step contemplative prayer/meditation below is one tool to try.
Stop what you are doing for a set amount of time. Be still. Breathe and listen to your body. Where is there tension? Where is there stress? Where is there fear? Our bodies have expertise in our anxieties and worries. We hold fear—both useful and harmful—in our beings. We feed our fear on the fears of others. We mask fear with anger, defensiveness and denial. Take this moment of stillness to connect with the fear in your body right now.
2. Once you have found where the fear is, name it.
What is it that you fear? Illness, death, grief? The loss of financial or professional security? The absence of purpose or peace or certainty? Do you fear not being in control? Look at your fear face-to-face, and give it a name.
3. Now frame your fear.
Is there real risk or not? Can you change the situation or not? Is this fear empowering you or harming you? Examine your fear in the truthful light of day, taking away its monster-in-the-closet power.
4. Meet your fear with gentleness and compassion.
Acknowledge the good intensions or ways your fear may be trying to help you, but remind the fear that it may not have control over your life.
5. Breathe love into the place where your fears have lived
: love from God, love for others, love of life and joy, wholeness and peace. Notice how your body relaxes when love replaces fear.
6. Remain for a time in stillness
, allowing the warmth of love to fill your being as your breath fills your body.
7. Remember that you can revisit this love anytime.
Give thanks for it and for what you have learned. In gratitude, return to your day.