Overcoming our phobia

When I was learning to overcome my driving phobia, Mike Weatherstone’s book, “How to Successfully Treat and Overcome Driving Phobia by Yourself”, helped me to understand and treat my phobia. I believe the insights he has offered in this book are applicable to phobia in many other forms.

According to Weatherstone, “A phobia is…a fear of something…Fear is a perfectly natural and necessary part of life, without which humans (and most other species) simply would not have survived long enough to evolve…We accept therefore that fear is an essential part of living…Humans are quite adept at learning how to cope with fear by evaluating and minimizing risk and training for the task in hand…A phobia is what happens when that normal protective instinct gets out of control and becomes a fear of something which is, to all intents and purposes unjustified…A phobia on the other than is an irrational fear of something which ordinarily should not cause us to be afraid…It’s as though the irrational part of our brain completely overwhelms the rational part. “

In addition, Weatherstone points out that “…fear of flying, fear of heights, fear of the dark – and of course…- a fear of some aspect of driving. All of these things can cause us real hard and a fear of them is perfectly normal. We are usually able to manage and control this fear so we can do certain necessary things like flying, climbing a ladder or driving.”

For Weatherstone, people with a phobia will experience “the ‘fight or flight’ reaction…one is our fear pushing us away from the situation and the other the pull of the strong desire to experience the relief of not having to face it”.

“The exact cause of driving related phobia is often difficult to determine. It can develop over many years …However, sooner or later unless addressed, the phobia is likely to become worse and extend to other situations. It is usually a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’.”

Weatherstone believes CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is a great tool for us to cope with our phobia. For Weatherstone, CBT is “designed to achieve two main objectives – to change the way we perceive things to be more positive, and to alter behavior to create a more beneficial outcome”.

“By definition, if you are suffering from a driving related phobia then your perception of danger has become distorted. In other words, your mind is causing you to react in full threat mode where no actual (or at least very little) threat exists….CBT seeks to re-balance or ‘re-set’ the way your mind perceives the danger so that you no longer react in this way to dangers which do not in fact exist. This is done by a very gradual step-by-step process…Keep in mind that your phobia probably developed over some considerable time. Accept that it may take some time to reverse the process and be content to take it slowly…over a period of time the mind gradually starts to believe what it is seeing. At that point we are well on the way to altering the way we perceive the threat and our goal is in sight.”

Currently, I am still on my journey of altering the way I have been perceiving the threat. Most importantly, I feel hopeful and have no pressure on myself.

making choices that are good for all

Ilchi Lee once said, 

“When you make choices, please remember: what is good for you but not good for others won’t be good for you either, eventually; what’s good for you and others but not good for the Earth won’t be good for you or others either, eventually; what’s good for you, others, and the Earth will be good for all.”

People make bad choices all the time.  That is why we have war, violence, pollution and…

Remember, make choices that are good for all.  Otherwise, the choice you make eventually won’t be good for you either.

the power of your love and the problems of this world

Debasish Mridha once said ” Let the power of your love change the world, but never let the problems of this world change the beauty of your love”.  This is a good reminder that the power of our love is greater than the problem of this world.  The problem of this world, hatred, violence, anti-intellectual, exclusiveness, bias, fear…need to be solved and healed by our love.  My friends, together, we have the power to change the world.  The question is if you believe and you are willing to exercise this power, LOVE.

Beyond the ordinary teachings of forgiveness

I resonate with Derek Lin that “Egoism is something we created for ourselves, so it is something we can dismiss with a simple decision. Without egoism there is nothing bruise, hurt, or wound. Without damages or injuries to the ego, pride, or dignity, there is also nothing to forgive. There is how the sage transcends beyond the ordinary teachings of forgiveness. By recognizing that the true self can never be hurt, and it is only the false projections of the ego that are damaged by criticisms and insults, we bypass the constant striving to forgive others.” (from his book “The Tao of Daily Life”)

In here, Derek Lin is not discussing about right or wrong. Instead, Derek Lin points out to us the ancient way of “protecting” us from hurting by criticisms and insults. “Nothing to forgive” in here means we are not carrying negative feelings with us everywhere. That negativity won’t become a burden to us. This is not about right or wrong and if the person hurt us need to be responsible. What Derek Lin has offered is the ancient way to be free and safe from criticisms, insults and our egoism.

Learn to keep your counsel

In his book, “How to Think Like a Cat”, Stéphane Garnier advises us, “Learn to keep your counsel. learn to no longer be the center of everything at every moment through talking. Listen in order to learn, and know when to keep quiet so as to have more impact when you speak”.

When I was younger, I always liked to “be the center…through talking”. Now I know it is wise to listen and learn at first.