Panic and Terror…. Oh My!

At some point in our lives, many of us become aware of our immortality and the impermanence of human existence. As in nature, life and death are a natural and uncontrollable cycle that embodies letting go of stability and accepting change as an undeniable aspect of reality as we know it. When in physical form, we may fear our actual death due to the unknown aspects of how we will experience death, dying, and afterlife. Our souls may also carry a base panic and terror regarding the unknown of our incarnation and life ahead. Just as we may fear death and dying due to all the unknown that surrounds it, we may also fear life and living fully for the same reasons. I think it is human nature to carry buried fears which can generate panic and terror deep in our subconscious. In addition, these fears of the unknown can create attachments which birth a fear of life and living fully.

Facing fear of the unknown can be a daunting task. Sometimes, we may feel that we “have no choice” due to life circumstances that are forced upon us such as disease, divorce, loss of a loved one, natural disasters, and the multitude of events that are beyond our control. But, in truth, we always have choice. Even the act of survival is a choice. One can choose death and destruction over embracing healing and transformation. We can choose to give up, move on unconsciously, or proactively move on by allowing ourselves to grieve, accept, and face the unknown. We can embrace genuine healing by acknowledging the pain and suffering that we are experiencing, face our fears that foster panic and terror, and leap into the unknown by letting go. Letting go of our need to know what lies ahead and looking for guarantees that we will be OK if we embrace change. When we foster a desire to hold on, we form attachments by making an unconscious commitment to wanting some thing or one to remain the way it is. Instead, we can release our attachments to how we think our lives “should” be, especially regarding that which we are hesitant to let go of.

It can be a challenge to let go and release attachments to others in our lives. Often, just the thought of potential loss can trigger panic and terror for many of us. For some, they may fear that letting go will translate into forgetting and diminishing the importance, love, and caring that another represents. However, releasing attachments does not mean disconnecting from loving and genuinely caring for another. Whether through life circumstances, physical death, or even in ongoing relationships, remaining attached to our memories, feelings, and fantasies of what was or could be serves as an avoidance to face and accept (i.e., heal) our souls, lives, and relationships. Honestly acknowledging various and abundant layers of fear includes our soul presence and awareness as well as our personality’s panic and terror. Living fully utilizes the awareness to make choices consciously. When I am conscious of fear, I can choose whether to act on it or not. The same goes for others in my life regarding tendencies to hold on to illusion, deny reality, and attempt to remain attached energetically. When I recognize attachments, I can let go of my own neurotic needs and agenda which creates space for another to be authentic in my presence. When we or another choose to hold on, the attachment can create energetic cords, unwanted intrusions, and influence one another on multi-dimensional levels.

Many spiritual teachers and guides have spoken about having to face panic and terror as part of our process of awakening. For many, when we first approach a spiritual path of awakening, there is an initial phase of happiness, peace, growth, abundance of energy, and positive loving feelings. However, if one truly continues on a spiritual and psychological path of growth, there will be many layers of fear and doubt encountered. As one Sufi teacher I encountered said, at some point we will face ourselves, be terrified, and want to run for the hills. Opening can be simultaneously terrifying and exhilarating. The more we can accept and acknowledge our fears without judgment, the greater the space and energy for genuine healing, integration, and embracing the unknown with it’s infinite possibilities. The less we form attachments, the freer we are to live authentically, center in genuine loving kindness, and foster peace and well-being for all.

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