Recovering from Fear
During the recovery period, certain situations may trigger the appearance of fear-generated thoughts in the mind. Old patterns of reaction to circumstance may reappear and catch you by surprise. You need not be discouraged. These are merely old soldiers of fear trying desperately to keep their grip on your mind. They are just trying to protect you based on the false idea that you need protection from life itself.
Of course, there are no actual sentient agents doing any of that, but we find this to be a useful metaphor for the remaining fear-driven psychological patterns that keep fighting and do not know that the war is over.
Those mental mechanisms are mere algorithms; they are not sentient entities. They are more like computer software, programmed to behave in a certain way according to the circumstances. This is a very mechanical process: if this happens, I do this. If that happens instead, I do this other thing. Simple, mechanical, and automatic.
This is a tough nut to crack because inherent in the thought mechanism is the conviction that it is extremely important and paying attention to its suggestions is always a matter of life or death. That is how it keeps a hold on your attention. Fearful, neurotic thought patterns are like a toreador’s red cape agitating in the wind, saying to the mind, Here, look here, come here, pay attention to me! Don’t look away or you will be in serious danger!
But the truth is that the energy of your attention is the only thing that keeps those diseased mental mechanisms active and alive in your mind. Those mental mechanisms are a distraction and can safely be ignored. In time, you learn how to discern what is relevant from what is irrelevant in each moment. Any thought that does not have a practical use in the moment can be considered irrelevant in that particular moment.
The steady, determined practice of Self-Directed Attention opens up your mind to you It creates a space between you and the thoughts that come to you, and slowly you begin to see them for what they are: useful ideas, fearful chatter, or anything in between. With some control of your attention, you can examine and implement useful thoughts while declining to pay attention to the fearful, harmful, neurotic thoughts.
Next: Attention Is All You Have