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Fear...Lessons from Patanjali

I have a friend who has, for a number of years, felt stunted. Frustrated at work, angry with himself for not being able to say what he thinks or give his opinion as he is too scared of what his colleagues will think of his ideas.

It’s a position he struggles with on a daily basis and is incredibly frustrating and limiting for him yet he finds himself unable to shift the fear. Unable to move forward.

Unhappy in his current situation but feeling unable to change.


It got me thinking about Fear.

What is it that drives this?


Obviously there is the fear of dangerous situations and back when we were cavemen fear is what kept us alive – alert and aware looking for predators and possible life threatening situations.

But in this modern day society in the developed world we do not have the imminent danger of being eaten by a lion!

And yet our fear and anxiety levels are through the roof, disproportionate to what you would expect given much of our survival needs like shelter, food and water are for the most met.


This led me to explore one of Patanjali’s Yamas – Aparigraha


The yamas are essentially guidance on how to live with regard to our relationship with ourselves, and the world around us.


Aparigraha is actually one of the central teachings in the Yogic text the Bhagavad Gita –


‘Let your concern be with action alone, and never with the fruits of action. Do not let the results of action be your motive, and do not be attached to inaction’.


This is teaching us that we should not overly concern ourselves with the outcome of a situation, we should only concern ourselves with what we are actually doing right now as we work towards that outcome.


In the case of my friend he is so attached to a set envisioned outcome he has in his mind – praise and recognition fora job well done, or promotion at work that he has become too afraid.

Scared to look like an idiot, frozen, brain muddled, unable to speak up and speak your truth because you are so worried about what might happen.

When you drill down to it the fear is rooted in our attachment to the outcome, wanting praise being afraid of ridicule.


It is certainly true that the best interview I ever had was for a Saturday job at Asda when I was 17.


It was a full on whole day interview, there were one to one interviews but also group work coming up with an advert for a jungle cereal with people I’d never met before.

I know…pretty hard core for a little Saturday job right??


Regardless, despite being 17 and by far the youngest there, terribly shy and unsure of myself, I surpassed everyone else’s and my own expectations, demonstrating leadership, organisational skills and creativity in coming up with a advert which was funny and memorable. I even made my group sing!!


Looking back I am certain this was achievable because I did not feel afraid.

How can that be? You may ask?

Because I did not actually care whether I got the job or not!!

I realise that this is not ideal, I mean I am not advocating only going for jobs or doing things that you do not want to do, but if we can utilise some of that non-fear, that non attachment to outcome to enable us to have a clear head when we set ourselves to a task.


We would be able to access parts of the best of us without being hindered by clouds of doubt in our own ability.


I challenge you to not let fear of outcomes or what others may think tarnish the brightness of your true self.

We are all capable of amazing things.

We have not even started to tap into our true potential.

Allow your passions to come alive, and live a fulfilled life full of abundance. When we understand and can fully comprehend how to live in this way, it is incredibly freeing.


Why hold back?

Start today, let yourself shine!


If you know you have something to share with the world, Aparigraha tells us to do it with our whole heart – and to let go of what might come of it.





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