As I lay in bed in the early hours of the morning, I hear a bang. No actual guns were fired. It's a bus hitting a steel plate in the road at 30 mph. I'm afraid. I notice it in my chest and stomach. I feel it dissipate like the ripples in a pond. The fear comes and goes.
I'm reading a book on my phone. The house is asleep; most of the city too. But a whirring mechanical sound and then a metal crash. Again. Fear. I breathe. I notice my heart beat. I notice the surge of sensation and presence in my body cavity. I notice no urgency or sensitivity in my ankles or knees. The fear sensation is localized in my core; my heart and lungs mostly.
Alas, it's just a delivery truck. The driver has been awake for hours. His day is in full swing. He's driven across a bridge to get into the city and been listening to morning news and talk-show radio. He's not thinking about the quiet he'll interrupt as he quickly drops the lift-gate on his truck in preparation of a quick delivery.
Feeling fear and patiently acknowledging it is new for me. I'm a grown man. Should I jump like a mouse at the sound of a truck or a bus?
When sharp noises are unexpected, I definitely should. It's my amygdala - a small, ancient part of my brain - that's serving me. It's a warning signal; a sensor. Fear, on the other hand, is an emotion. It's something to feel. The body - that's the where of our feelings. The body's tissues and nerve fibers interact. It's fantastic.
Our modern minds want us to avoid fear because it makes us look weak in the eyes of society. The weak get taken advantage of. If we appear weak we're at risk of being taken advantage of. In the animal kingdom, the risk is death. The weaker animal could be another animals lunch.
Fear is an emotional sensation we can notice, feel and appreciate for the service it provides. I am embracing the feelings and naming them. Just because I really have nothing to be afraid of, doesn't mean I can't enjoy the experience of fear.
This knew knowledge comes from a book by Kristen Ulmer - The Art of Fear: Why conquering fear won't work and what to do instead.