Fear Freezes Your Mind, then Your Body, then Your Future

By Stephen Cheney

Relaxed Alertness and its effect on Fear and Surprise Attacks:
In an unfair fight there is usually an Aggressor and a Victim.  An unfair fight is any fight that you have not agreed to.  A fight where you do not want to participate, but the fight is forced upon you.  A fight with an Aggressor can occur no matter what you say or do to avoid it.

The Victim is the one whose mind may give way under the pressure forced upon it, and who usually does not have full control over what they do. The Aggressor, the original Predator, is confident; plays mind games to dominate and thus cower a victim’s mind; and having decided to act does not hesitate and is dangerous.  When you are in a dangerous situation, a fight situation with a Bully swearing, postulating and intending to attack:  You then make a choice of being a victim or a predator, and if you choose to become a Predator, then that can make the Aggressor the Victim, and not you. To do that you need to know and practice enough Self Defense techniques to be dangerous. It is the Mind that drives those techniques, so you need to learn how to remain in control of your mind when under stress; stress dismantles the mind and its functions.

You be the leopard in the tree, alert and waiting, uncaring as to what happens as you already know what you can do in a fight. You can also choose to leave, but you can do that only if the Aggressor lets you.  If you cannot leave and cannot talk the Aggressor out of attacking you, then you must fight to preserve your life.  Leaving is not an option if you have no exit such as in a confined space or if the Aggressor blocks your way out; or if you must remain to protect children.  Negotiating is not an option if you are set upon by surprise, or there is simply no time for it.

A Surprise! Occurs when everything looks and feels normal to you, and then there is a Sudden Change that seriously involves you.

Such as you are in a normal crowd of close people and then Suddenly someone from behind grabs you.  Or you are driving down a straight highway with sight to the horizon and no traffic anywhere and your eyes check your mirror and Suddenly in that moment, a high speed vehicle flies off some unseen side track and straight across your path.

When your environment is Not normal you expect more such non-normality, you expect change and your senses, mind and body get ready for it. You are already reacting to change. But it is in the moment when all looks well that all Hell can break loose, catching you off-guard. Without anything to focus on, your mind can drift off into a Past or Future virtual reality. Alertness usually drifts when the mind bored and inactive and your senses no longer circularly sweep the surrounding environment. An environment in which you are the centre-piece or the central-obstacle for all incoming forces to collide with.

All collisions, all danger, all damage happens in the Present moment.  The mind is a time-traveller. It has the ability to dwell in the Past or Future. These time zones are environments which are often far more interesting than the present boring moment where nothing is perceived to be happening. You are a construct of matter which is atoms, and atoms are actually constructs of energy, as Einstein and science have proved. That energy does not solely exist in the present moment of existence. That energy is smeared through Past, Present and into the Future moment, as has been proven by science examining the nature of electrons through Quantum Mechanics.  As the particles or wave packets of your body and brain can transcend time at least a little bit, it is not surprising that your mind which so depends on them, can do the same.

Your Awareness, or the magnifying glass of your concentration or Will, can only converge on a moment of time, whether it be in the Past, the Present or the Future. It travels between them and sits in them but cannot reside in all at once. Our bodies always have an existence or anchor in the Present moment. Our mental focus can however drift elsewhere. You will often find your mind focusing on its Past, in its memories. A mind often sits in its vast library of experiences and data, reading volumes in your memory library, watching Past videos, some of them may be horror movies, unresolved conflicts and traumas. The outside Universe the mind internally reconstructs and edits.

Alternatively, the mind will be found focusing on the Future, on dreams of vagueness as clouds not fully shaped, on imaginations about possibilities; a Universe that the mind itself creates, where in dreaming in the night or day-dreaming in the day, it often includes itself as the principle actor and victim. The Future is a blank movie set, and the mind is a landscaper, script writer, emoter in music, director, actor and camera. The mind time-travels when not actively engaged, as that is its purpose: a life force that explores all universes, Past, Present and Future. A god-like creature passing on the Bifrost Bridge between all conceivable worlds. A beam of light travelling through space. All life explores, at the least, what its immediate environment or its intimate self presents. You need to deliberately bring your mind from its wayward astral travels back into the present moment, where its body always awaits. The better the two (body/mind) merge the more efficient the ship, and its captain can act in the Now where all futures start and deviate.

So, for a warrior, a survivalist, the time to sweep for possible danger, of possible change, is in the Present moment when all seems normal. So every now and then, look up from whatever you are doing or from what occupies you, and softly sweep your surrounds with your senses and your mind. From the submarine of your consciousness, you up-periscope to check out what is happening; especially whatever is incoming, as doing that that can change your state from a non-alert victim into a hard-to-surprise warrior. In order to do that, it is useful, as in Tai Chi, as in ballet, to swivel your head to a vertical upright position where it can see best, turn best.  Where the head can be the steering wheel of the body allowing instant movement in any direction. Senses, mind and body all to relax as one blending in a relaxed awareness of the present moment. Like a leopard resting up a tree but surveying all, is the mental state of what the ancient warriors sought, in order to detect and cope with sudden danger and thus enjoy to life a little longer.

When you expect trouble even when there is no seeable trouble, and do that in a relaxed and not a tense manner: then it is difficult to surprise you.  When you can imagine possible dangerous scenarios through the day but do so without tensing mind or body, then you are less likely to evolve fear from a nebulous nothing into a choking rigidity; you are then less likely to go into a frozen state of Fear when danger sets upon you.  Fear is a normal reaction. Pre-empt its potency by changing your mind-set with a vigilant relaxation of your being. You cannot change outside happenings, but you are the master of your internal world. So to be more in charge of your reactions: you just give yourself prior commands.  As it is upon whatever is the present state of your mind, that outside fearful and other impressions must impose themselves. The Demons real or imagined pounce, but what is the nature of the being that they pounce upon? Not everything that Dangers attack is an unsuspecting victim. Command yourself and rule.

(Image: The Wanderer Above the Mist - Caspar David Friedrich)


  1. Hi Cheney,

    Fear is our biggest enemy. I was always told that fear is the sign of danger but that my mind should never allow it to take over me. But your fabulous work offers good advice to how to work, function, in spite of it. Excellent.


  2. Always anxious for the club of shadows. I have been frozen by fear in a situation that ended with me being beaten up; only after the assault did I realize what happened and then I felt ashamed of myself. But then I learned how to fight and I never let a similar situation to happen again. Thanks, Stephen.

  3. Another excellent article. Thank you for the council.

    1. Sprry, meant counsel.

    2. Olá, Anonymous!
      Perhaps instead of sprry, you meant sorry; right?

  4. Mr Stephen, thank you. My mother always told me not to be afraid cause fear is a great obstacle in life and she was right! What you teach us is discipline and in this dangerous world we need to keep our eyes really open and be ready cause we never know, it's true. Please sir, know that I apply your teachings in my life so please keep posting. God bless you!

  5. Spelling, especially in the modern world of the internet, has become very flexible. Words can have many meanings or shades of meaning. Their true meaning depends upon the context, on the surrounding words and the surrounding circumstances and culture is which they are born and released into the world and into other minds. Despite the pompous authority of dictionaries and of some teachers, words in history were spelt many different ways, sometimes depending on the accent of a hearer or writer. A scribe would spell a person’s name various ways depending on how they heard it. Dictionaries are a modern-era invention and once something is documented by any authority it tends to lose flexibility and clog the imagination and any further creativity to its art. It is both good to have authorities and also good to sometimes ignore them. Much of the advancements in Science and thus in Civilization rely of contesting the accepted or the obvious. My surname has about fifty different spellings, all valid. If you read Chaucer or the later Shakespeare you will see examples of different spellings in the English language over time. Language, at least in its use by the populace, is very flexible. New languages or forms are being designed all the time, as seen by professional jargons; teenage word inventions to avoid adults understanding them; mobile/computer cyber-world texting to minimize Time and Space. Inventing new words, even by accident, is a good thing; evolution. In poetry the placement of an odd word can shock the mind with a new shade of meaning; in text, misspellings focus the mind on them, to puzzle them out and not pass over them in a mini-sleep. Misspellings are not errors to be condemned for, but rather are aberrations that can expand the mind and the humanness of our hearts. All ciphers are a deliberate new spelling arrangement by private formulation, a chaos that requires use of the order of mathematics or mind to re-sort into intelligent clear.

  6. Fear is a normal electro-chemical reaction. It helps to keep our species alive. It stops us from walking the cliff-edge too close, from carelessly playing with fire, from engaging in too many far too risky actions. Some choose to walk the cliff edge of life on purpose but those that do that, not as adrenaline junkies, do so with deliberation and have a good balance ability in body and in mind. If there are monsters in a darkness, there is no reason why you cannot also move through the night as a dangerous creature. In martial arts you are actually training to a higher awareness of Life and Death; to enhance your life and know that it is easy to Die, hard but beautiful to Live. The Martial Arts hold to a philosophy of Life for the Mind, not only a practicality for the power and grace of the body.

    The chemicals of Fear, once released, cannot be prevented. A dog can smell the chemicals of your fear and an aggressor is seeking the signs of it. However, you fear is a reaction to what your body senses and your mind then perceives. If you do not sense a danger, then it is upon you and you have had no fear reaction. The mind has to agree with a danger evaluation. So train your mind to give a delayed evaluation on incoming data. That is, not a delayed cold judgement but a delayed hot emotional explosion. A wild dog is charging towards you, raving. Interpret its line of intent to be against some imagined person just behind you, and not actually on you, you merely being in the way. Light dogs seek to bite limbs, heavy dogs seek to swiftly slam into you (force equals mass times velocity) and with you down, they on top, they go for tearing out your throat. Misdirecting by using and not being used by your mind, you can more easily then simply avoid the original charge, timing your movement as you have a better control over your body than you would if self-electrocuted with fear’s chemicals. And slam a tensed hand down on top of the dog’s snout. You always attack weak-points, not bothering to attack elsewhere. The top of the snout of a dog is where runs its major nerves, as smell and not sight is their main sense, and that line in their body is loaded with biological communication wiring, open to axing. A threatening person is not a dog, but the target biology is not too different: each living creature has weak points that are targets. Build your abilities through training to know you powers, to know with confidence what you can and cannot yet do. As has been said: “Lord, I walk through the valley of the Shadow of Death, and I fear no Evil, for I am the Meanest son-of-a-bitch in the valley”. It is shocking to have to realize that some humans are evil and would wantonly destroy others without valid reason or without a provocation. Get rid of that shock by deliberating imagining (and practice practice) a vicious person rushing you and being not a person but a thing, such as falling cabinet, a rushing bicycle. Avoid it and Counter. After all: a vicious person, on drugs or not, is no longer a warm human being but their mad mind has converted them into a thing. A Thing to be avoided. There are real zombies – they inject mind-bending chemicals into their veins. There are real vampires – they seek to spill your blood.


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