Robert Augustus Masters

Welcome to the personal blog of Robert Augustus Masters.

Fear: Excitement In Drag

Fear is basically just excitement in drag, tightly knotted and turned in on itself — like a wide-open hand compressed into a fist or a snail pulling back into the innermost coils of its shell, squeezed into thick-walled darkness.

Pay attention next time you feel excitement, noticing the similarities in how it and fear feel; in fear, the sensations usually register as unpleasant and in excitement as pleasant. Of course, in many situations we may feel fear and excitement at the same time. For example, when beginning psychotherapy, many people will say that they feel scared/excited. If you’re excited — energetically aroused — and then contract, fear arises. Similarly, if you are fearful and then expand, excitement arises. Why? Because there is now room for it. Same energy, different context. When the fist relaxes and opens, it is no longer a fist.

Visualize fear as a chilled fist. Slowly uncurl this fist — your fist — letting your fingers spread wide, breathing deeply as you do so. Just as your fist represents fear, your open hand represents excitement. Notice that you don’t have to force your hand open; simply relax the clenching that’s making and maintaining the fist.

That clenching will relax, however slightly, when whatever is around it starts to expand. This means you are giving your fear more space in which to be, inviting it into a larger container. Instead of giving it a higher fence, you’re giving it a larger pasture.