To fear something is to believe in it. If you do not believe in something, it cannot make you afraid. That is why religions suggest that we fear God, not because God is scary or that we should be afraid that God would hurt us, but because to fear something, you must believe in it. Fear is belief with uncertainty. It invokes an active physiological state in preparation for responding. In everyday life, we experience fear as a physical phenomenon in our bodies, referred to as the “fear response”, the “fight-or-flight response”, or the “stress-response”. Whatever the label for this experience, it is activated by our brain affecting our bodies for the purpose of some potential action, heightening our alertness and awareness. It is this greater consciousness of and indeed gratitude for being that we experience in our fear. It is ultimately belief in ourselves that provides us with fear. We believe that we exist. To fear God is to believe in God. To fear dying or danger is to believe in existing. That is the gift of fear.

Debbie Norris

Debbie Norris

Deborah Norris, Ph.D. is author of In the Flow: Bridging the Science and Practice of Mindfulness, and Editor-in-Chief of MindBodyJournal.com. Dr. Norris is Founder of The Mindfulness Center™, based in Washington, D.C. She is Psychologist-in-Residence and Director of the Psychobiology of Healing Program at American University, and past professor at Georgetown University Medical School. Renowned for her online meditation teacher programs, The Science of Mindful Awareness (SOMA), Dr. Norris is an internationally recognized speaker and educator on mindfulness, yoga, and integrative mind-body therapies. A health scientist with over 40 years of experience ranging from traditional medical and psychotherapeutic practices to integrative therapies and lifestyle practices, she teaches and conducts research in mindfulness, behavioral medicine and other holistic approaches to happiness and well-being.

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