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Fight, Flight, Freeze, Relax, Focus, Flow

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Fear is escalation. Due to focusing our thoughts on that which we do not want, we cause our bodies to generate heat and speed beyond our control. We have unleashed the dragon. If we are to work in realms that provoke us, we must learn how to slow down and cool off when the escalation begins. If we do not, we will spin out of control and ruin everything we touch.

Relaxing is simple. We already know how to do it. We must take a deep breath, let it out slowly, and in doing so, release our energy. We then let go of our current train of thought, and allow ourselves to begin to feel good again. Knowing how to do something intellectually and being able to execute it in dire circumstances is quite different. In skydiving, we practice our emergency procedures over and over on a regular basis so we will be able to perform these functions when we are in a crisis. The ability to slow down when we are feeling fear and anger is also something that we can cultivate.

We develop the skill of de-escalation in two ways. The first way is to do various things that scare us as often as possible, and remain as calm and positive as we can when we do them. I call this “Adrenalin Cross-Training”, and have found it to be a very effective method of developing the skill of remaining calm in provocative situations. If you are training yourself to speak in public, rock climbing can serve as a metaphor that allows you to remember to breathe and relax when you are in high stress situations. The ability to realize that we are not feeling good is the heart of the skill; nipping it in the bud before it becomes a real problem.

The second method that develops the ability to calming cool in hot situations is to spend time seeking a deeper sense of inner peace through silent activities that allow us to let go of thinking, and be in the present moment. Sitting silently for fifteen minutes a day, ideally first thing in the morning, is a proven practice that changes our relationship to silence. We become more accustomed to the lack of stimulation over time, and when we most need to let go of our negative thought-patterns when we are in fear, we find ourselves stepping into a realm that we are comfortable being in. The fear of silence is the first hurdle to overcome when pursuing fearlessness as a whole.

In a culture that strictly abhors silence, labeling it “boredom”, such practices can give us a huge advantage over those who do not cultivate the skill of inner patience and clarity. Beyond that, we discover that in our silence, we reconnect with the joy that is our true nature. By silencing our thoughts, we hear the music that our soul was playing all along. The higher self begins to shine through. This is what I call “Positive Zero”.

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