Articles by Brian Germain
We all have our hang-ups, whether they're ghosts, snakes, tunnels, the dentist, giving a toast as the best man at your best friend's wedding, or clowns. And let's not forget the big ones: Fear of going "tango uniform." Cashing out. Taking a lengthy dirt nap. But on the freak-you-out scale, it doesn't get much scarier than what happened to Brian Germain. Germain was an avid skydiver until one of his chutes collapsed while he was descending, spiraling him straight down into the ground.
Breathing Is Everything
As we begin again in this New Year, I find myself contemplating my core message the world. What is it that I am trying to say, in a concise package, that folks can take to the bank? What memorable secret will actually help people in their daily lives? I have come to the same conclusion, over and over again: We must remember to breathe better.
is Good For You
When we get excited, our bodies change. Our glucose levels increase in response to our limbic system’s kick in the seat of the pants, and our RPM increases, so to speak. We are in a different physiological state from our everyday “this is normal” kind of feeling. An area of scientific inquiry that has drawn many consciousness researchers to ask is: “Is there a difference between positive and negative adrenalin?” It would seem, based on preliminary evidence, that there is a very big difference.
Stop, Chill, and Smile
In daily life, we often find ourselves losing our good feeling. We get ourselves in a bit of a panic simply because we are going too fast. This kind of feeling can only lead to failure, since it is this feeling in which our plans are made. The visualizations that occur in the moments prior to crucial action are the ones that determine what ultimately happens. If we are to re-direct the course of events, we need to establish a new feeling, a fresh frame of reference from which to plan our next moves if we are to change the way things are going, and turn things in the general direction of better.
Fear and Freedom
We have some problems to solve as a society. I think this is something that we all can agree with. The cumulative apex of all these problems leads us to the following worry: "Will the current generation of children be able to care for the previous, and leave the world a better place when they are finished?" This is not a new question, however, but a business-as-usual aspect of any given generation taking stock in the way things are going. Since we will never really be done creating the perfect civilization, we need to lay off the alarms and criticism, and focus on a constructive way of looking at things.
We have all experienced it. Something happens that sets our minds in a negative direction, and we begin to feel bad. Our minds loop, mulling over the facts and unwanted possibilities, like a cow chewing its cud. By focusing on the undesirable imagery, and repeating thoughts that make us feel lousy, we bring our emotional experience to one of negative expectation and the world around us responds in kind. The Universe reacts to our emotion more than anything else, and brings us more experiences that feel the same as the muck that we are dwelling in, just as it does the beauty that we are basking in.
Joy vs. Fear
In all of life's exploits, we are confronted with two avenues of experience: follow the thoughts and actions suggested by our fear, or learn what the fear is cautioning us about and then move on to enjoying the process. If we love what we are doing, there is no room for fear. If, on the other hand, we are fixated on the negative possibilities, our fear drives our minds toward the elaboration of those possibilities that we do not want to see happen, and we fuel the negativity.
The Benefits of Confrontation
Why must we take all of our fears head on? It is simply a matter of happiness. When something is holding us back from feeling good, we cannot explore and profit from all of the joy that life has to offer. We can, in short, be happier than we are, but the only way to get there is to shed more weight from our balloon. We must lighten our load.
The Object of Fear
Everyone has fears. Depending on our past experiences, we each have developed pattern-recognition programs for specific things that catapult us into an emotional response. It is true that we must shed the light of our awareness on these triggers, but it is ultimately not these realizations that allow us to fully transcend our neurotic tendencies toward over-reaction in these contexts. Fixating on the problem is not the same thing as creating the solution.
Fear and Wisdom
When we experience challenge, we either rise to meet the needs of the situation, or we fall short of what we need to be at the time. When the danger level is high enough, however, we have no choice. We must pay attention and become our best. It is in these moments that we touch the inner self with all of its wisdom.
Although there is much to be said about the process of transcending fear, one thing ties them all together. It is inner peace.
How to Thrive in a Depressed Economy
The media would have us believe that we are in a recession. The graphs are clear, and the evidence is everywhere. The logical conclusion, one that many have been implementing, is that we should hang back, avoid over-committing, and simply wait it out. This is exactly the mentality that is creating a state of recession in the first place. Of course, it is only a recession for some. For others, this is a time of great opportunity.
Fear is not Caution
The means by which we usually deal with fear is by avoiding things that scare us. This "solution" only appears to keep us from being afraid. Without taking on challenges that provoke us emotionally, we are unable to develop the skill of working with charged circumstances. It is only in scary moments that we are able to awaken our inner bravery.
Beyond the Obvious:
What is Fear, Really?
Fear is wisdom. It is our subconscious minds sublimating an inner realization about something in our environment that is the opposite of what we want. Our inner wise-self is speaking to us in the only way it can, by triggering our amygdalas, the watch-dog of our brains, and stoking the fire of our limbic systems to get our attention. The trouble is, we often obsess so intensely on the emotion itself that we become lost in the negative mindset that fear entails. If we are to uncover the information that our guts are telling us, we must consider the fear itself to be a hindrance to that goal.
The Whole Point
There is more than one kind of motivation. When we realize something that we don't want; something that fuels us with abject terror, or something that repulses us and drives us, we can launch ourselves forward with tremendous energy. That kind of motivation can break us free from situations that are painful and unpleasant. We must use this kind of energy at times, but we must also remember that beyond that there is another kind of motivation called "inspiration." Beyond the fear; beyond the dread that we are going to fail, inspiration is a far more valuable motivator of human behavior, and it leads us to places that our fear can never take us.
As a skydiver, I am confronted with the question of probability of failure on a regular basis. "Doesn't the risk eventually catch up to you?" "You can't escape statistics", they tell me. Although cold, statistical analysis explains one aspect of the situation that governs the "reality" of risk, it is my experience that the individual has a large portion of the control within their grasp.
The Fear of Change
One of the most powerful forces in the Universe is Inertia. Whether we are speaking of the momentum of a falling body or that of an internal thought, things tend to continue doing what they have been doing. This fact of physics and psychophysics is not necessarily how things must proceed however, because, as we all have learned in school, things continue in the same direction unless acted upon by another force. This means that our fear-based thinking, our belief systems that lead us to expect that bad things will get worse, can be altered if we introduce the one force in the Universe that defies gravity, inertia and depressive thought-patterns: Consciousness.
Fear of Uncertainty
At the very root of all human fears is the fear of uncertainty. When we dig deep enough into the source of each of our fears, just before we expand upon our feeling of fear and take its dark journey into that which we least want to see happen, we find a moment in which we do not know. Knowing what is the truth, knowing what is next, this is the limb to which we cling in moments of uncertainty. Despite an infinite array of possibilities, we swiftly solidify our understanding of a particular reality, and our apparent “knowing” makes us feel safer, even if the conclusion to which we have come is an unpleasant one.
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A Timely Breath
If you always begin whatever is before you with a deep breath, with a clear head, whatever you pursue must come out for the best. If you breathe when you most need to, if you pause before taking action, your subsequent motions will be within your control, and your choices will be your own.
Fear and the Global Economy
A few weeks ago the world was rocked by the news of a world financial crisis. Ironically, our daily lives were mostly unaffected. Yes, stock prices changed for the time being, but we still had to go to wfeed our children and take care of the other details of our lives. That will never change.
Global Warming and Fear
I am not a climatologist. I just call it like I see it. This is a picture I took last week while flying over the North Sea on my way back from Europe. Looks like the polar cap melting, doesn't it? Perhaps; perhaps not.
Fear: Sane or Neurotic
Emotion can be construed as a side-effect of negative thinking. Sometimes it is. On the other hand, fear and other negative emotions can provide us with essential information about our surroundings, gleaned from a different kind of thought-process than logical cognition. That funny feeling that results in hesitation may, in fact, offer us essential guidance.
Emotion is Your Co-Pilot
I am an adventure sports addict. I admit it. I deliberately do things that put me in danger. I have discovered that I truly like the person I become when I am in such circumstances. I am forced to be a hero. If I do not act without fear, I will die.
Choose Your Focus
We have a choice about what we focus our minds upon. Depending on what we hold in the focal point of our consciousness, we may begin to feel bad, or good. Regardless of the context, the feeling is ultimately what matters.
Why Fear Education
What is fear? This is the question that must be asked. The answer is a long one. It must however, be answered if we are to have any hope of changing our basic, natural responses.
Skydiving and the Mind
In the previous article, we discussed the profound usefulness of meditation preparation as a tool to prevent overreaction and panic. In this installment we will take a closer look at one traditional meditation technique, as taught by the Tibetan Buddhist monks.
Secrets of Survival
It has been said that danger is forced enlightenment. This is because when we are at risk, we must be our highest selves in order to survive.�The specific methods that get us through danger are no different from the skills that we need in our daily lives. Rarely, however, do we make the connection between our heroic selves and the person that walks our apparently mundane existence. In truth, nothing in life is mundane. All our actions have consequences, and our future is shaped entirely in the present moment. There is risk in everything we do.
Converting Negative into Positive
We are in a very interesting phase of the human experience. We have reached a point in which our technology has made life very easy for us in some ways, yet that very same technology has also increased the pace of life far beyond the capacity of our coping mechanisms for handling stress. It is now up to us, the modern humans, to find ways to deal with our emotional experience so that we may live long, productive and healthy lives.
Transcending Fear References
Transcending Fear is a Leadership Training Company. Our main offerings include: Fear Seminars by a noted Fear Expert for overcoming fears, Leadership Training Workshops, a celebrity Skydiving Instructor for skydiving fear challenges, and Skydiving Videos and Skydiving Books by Author Brian Germain.
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