Did you know that the Hebrew Bible talks about two kinds of fear? Thousands of years before neuroscientists discovered the over reactive nature of our fear instinct, it shows up with its own unique term, in the Old Testament.
Pachad and Yirah. When we know Pachad and Yirah, we can educate ourselves about our own fear and work with it vs. it have power over us.
We all know fear can make us doubt ourselves and lose a sense of self.
Rabbie Lew explains that in the Hebrew Bible, Pachad is the over reactive, irrational fear that stems from worries about what could happen while leaving us thinking of worst case scenarios. We fear embarrassing ourselves, whether it is the fear of failing at our new job, or our romantic partner finding out all our biggest flaws too soon, or even being laid off.
Fear is the obsession in our mind that takes over and run the show in our mind and body if we don’t know how to manage it.
Here is the exciting part. Rabbi Lew explains that there’s a second word used for fear, Yirah. Yirah has three different meanings:
1. It is the feeling that overcomes us when we inhabit a larger space than we are used to
2. It is the feeling we experience when we suddenly come into possession of considerably more energy than we had before.
3. It is what we feel in the presence of the divine.
When I first read of this fear – Yirah, I immediately thought of the moment when I was published in a book. I was excited, driving by the ocean and listening to a happy song on the radio. I thought I would dance and celebrate and claim my light. Instead, I found myself balling my eyes and heart out. I didn’t understand it. It was a deep sense of satisfaction and shock of becoming a published writer, the book becoming International bestseller (something that was written on my vision board for years), not being able to settle with my conflicting belief that “things have to be hard and struggled for” vs. so easy, an immense amount of sadness had set over. My heart needed to release old pain and feel a new feeling to make room for this newness in my life. The sadness reminded me of all the moments I doubted myself, thought I was broken, and something was wrong with me. To feel this sense of relief had a mixed bag of emotions over something that was in my favor yet was a new feeling for me. It was like stepping over what I knew existed, not being able to truly integrate the success at hand yet still feeling the comfort of all the meaning I had given to my old pain.
Both Pachad and Yirah bring you the feeling of being outside of your comfort zone. Pachad tends be attached to the fear of a future outcome and often something that can be felt physically in your body while Yirah tends to be a response to what is happening in the present moment. Yirah can come up when you are thinking of acting and doing something bigger like taking a big leap of faith – a large investment, getting married, or having a child.
Yirah can also include a sense of awe, satisfaction, and fascination with ourselves. It’s like fearing having a large sales quota for a month and satisfaction when we reach the goal. And yet it is the confidence of having dealt with that fear and seeing the benefits of overcoming it is what allows us to face it all over again with a new quota next month. When we are about to give a public speech or a dance performance, Yirah might come up – we are anxious, what if I fall, what if I mix up my words, what if I forget a dance move. But there is also a sense of satisfaction when we are done with our performance, a sense of accomplishment.
With Pachad, we fear being diagnosed with cancer or heart disease or having another heart attack, or we watch a scary movie and start waking up at night fearing a monster, the paranoia with cockroaches, fear of heights, or fear being laid off from our job.
While both the fears are there to protect us, Pachad protects us from a perceived danger and Yirah to transcend our limitations. We can feel our way through both the fears but Pachad is more of a journey and requires a safe environment vs. Yirah, we might just be few action steps away from feeling the fear of stepping into our next greatness, allowing the space for fear, and doing it anyway.
The way to heal these fears is to get into a safe space and allow the feeling to arise. I would also recommend hiring help if you truly want to get to the depth of your fears.
Try to find the place in your body that this fear resides. Talk to it like the little child in you that is afraid. What does it want? What does it need? What is it afraid of? When did this fear start? Hold this fear and just be curious.
How does it serve you to hold onto this fear? If you could name your fear – what would it be? For me, everytime I was fearful of putting myself out there in a deeply vulnerable way, I would name that part of me – “Scared of Success – Cinderella”
Often our fears start at a time in our life when our brains couldn’t process that we were in fear. The fear took over us and it was us.
With enough exploration and wonder with our fear, we can dissipate the trigger it has on us.
It is very likely that your fear of stepping into your greatness is what is holding you back from taking the next big leap of faith or your fear of not making a big decision in your life is keeping you stuck in the past and holding onto safety.
I believe we all have the power to transcend our greatest limitations. We can train our unconscious to be our greatest ally instead of our enemy.
When it comes to Yirah – feel the fear and do it anyway. I would love to hear from you. What stood out for you in this blog? What is your greatest fear? Where are you holding back in our life and choosing to not step in your next level of greatness. What help do you need? Are you surrounded by people who believe in you? Do you have enough support to help you overcome the fear?
If you would like to take a leap into the world of unconscious blocks and book 60 minutes with me for a complimentary coaching session here, you are welcome to join my tribe at: http://www.manpreetkomal.org
Much Love and Gratitude,