The Myth of Vigilance in Keeping Us Safe
from "Fearproof Your Life

Intuition is like radar for sensing danger before it is present. It has all the benefits of vigilance without the negative side effects. Being mentally vigilant all the time is tiring, stressful, and keeps us from enjoying our lives. When we are mentally vigilant, our intellect, guided by our fearful belief system, attempts to create safety by compulsively thinking over and over about all the things that could go wrong in any situation. Over-thinking jams the natural paths of communication between our conscious awareness and our all-knowing true Self. This obsessive habit makes us anxious, prevents us from seeing real dangers as well as all the things that are going smoothly, and thus robs us of a happy, calm life. It also creates a lot of false alarms, because our imagination, when coupled with fear, makes up all kinds of bogeymen that aren’t actually there.

The beauty of intuition is that we don’t have to keep our minds constantly busy thinking about all the possible things that can go amiss. Intuition is like a security system that is always on and ever vigilant, surveying not only danger, but everything else as well—when we need to change the oil, pay a bill, call a friend in need, or get the furnace serviced.

After 9/11 we heard repeatedly about the importance of being vigilant of suspicious strangers, signs of anything unusual, and a host of other fear-inducing thoughts. We were told to be especially vigilant during a code yellow or red. We weren’t told exactly what to be on the lookout for, but just to maintain a general feeling of alertness. This is an impossible task and one that leads to a miserable life. It leads us to a fate of living in fear most of the time. Increased handgun and security system sales are directly the result of the level of fear in a society. So is the addiction to worry and obsession, including constant news watching, as a way to control life. Have any of these things made us safer? I would say they have made us less safe and more distant from one another, leading many of us into a numbing life of denial, withdrawal, and despair.

In my experience as a psychologist for the past thirty years, I have noticed that people who have the most fear or denial are the most likely to become victims of some calamity or misfortune. The reason for this is simple: people who are constantly fearful or in a state of denial have perceptual blinders on. They are so focused on their thoughts of what could go wrong that they miss the obvious dangers right in front of them. Their minds are in the future or the past but not in the present. In either case, denial or obsession, they have lost consciousness of the present moment.

When we live in the present moment, we have access to our intuition and to a clear-minded perception of reality. Being in the present moment is the only time we are able to see what is dangerous and what is not. Being aware and seeing clearly allows us to respond from wisdom to any situation that presents itself.

Author's Bio: 

Joe Bailey’s life purpose is to help people find true happiness and peace of mind. Towards this end, he studied psychology at the undergraduate and graduate levels, eventually becoming a licensed psychologist. For the past thirty years, Joe’s desire to understand the connection between the psychological, physical and spiritual facets of human beings has pulled him into a deeper understanding of the whole person and away from the current fragmented view. His search led to a health-based approach to counseling, prevention programs, workplace wellness and the attainment of a personal life of peace, joy and fulfillment for all people.