Which came first the chicken or the egg? An egg needs a chicken to lay it. A chicken develops from an egg. The question was on my mind when my yoga teacher mentioned, “We store a lot of fear in our kidneys.” In the way a mind does, when presented with new information – I changed tack. Which came first? Fear in the kidneys or the belief that we store fear in the kidneys? We can find the answer in analogous chicken and egg. . . The egg came first, no doubt. Eggs, evolutionarily speaking, show up with fish, amphibians, reptiles and dinosaurs. They don’t need chickens. Chickens? They need eggs.

Fear in kidneys can be expressed not just by the phrase, peed my pants. Even a dog will urinate if frightened. Lots of animals do. This is instinctive behavior. The question then becomes, will paying attention to his kidneys make Jack a brave boy? Well, if he deals with social anxiety by drinking, that’s one way to express contempt. Perhaps he ought to be afraid if he’s driving drunk, but inhibitions effectively masked, he goes for it. In this case tender loving attention to his kidneys might produce a better result. Cutting down on salt, working out and drinking pure, clean water might make a fit Jack. Six pack abs Jack might suffer less from social anxiety.

But that’s simplistic, right?

Consider the theory from your own social circle. Think of the most fearful people you know, those who perhaps were raised in fundamentalist religions, or those who fixate on bad news. Are addicts addicts because the world is so scary or because they are scared? How many people do you know with kidney problems, and how many of them were raised in a culture that promoted fear? I suppose one could argue all cultures promote fear, it’s such an effective manner of controlling people, but that wouldn’t be true. There are certainly at least some cultures that promote wisdom, learning, and exploration. When the unknown becomes charted as known, fear subsides.

If this whole conversation seems confusing to follow let me just posit: What if your body were the vehicle that drives your experience? We have a tendency to think it’s our brain, our personality, our “spirit” if you will – but what if that is just wrong? Evolutionarily speaking the body developed first. Perhaps our altruism reflects our need as a species to survive. Our cruelty may be the result of our need to winnow. Sound wacky? Ask any woman who menstruates if she hasn’t felt victimized by her hormonal imbalances. Or better yet, ask a pregnant woman. Why do drugs work, when they do, except by altering brain and body chemistries? What about when the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak? What about when you’re tired, hungry or stressed – you really think that doesn’t effect your so called “personality” ?

Once upon a time when I was married the first time we used to fight. We argued often. I noticed that when I was tired, hungry or stressed – I tended to be more sensitive. ouch. My then-husband, remained convinced that if I would just agree with him – we wouldn’t fight. Plenty of women’s magazines, church publications and older women promote this advice. It’s called “submission.” The problem with submitting when you aren’t really on board, is that you haven’t solved anything. You still disagree. That may do in the workplace, where you don’t really get a vote, but at home? In a marriage? When you’re talking about the supposedly most intimate relationship in your life, that’s a poor place to trade off. Lying about your deepest feelings is “not-intimacy.”

Ok, so maybe there was a better answer. Maybe, just maybe, if we hadn’t discussed important matters when I was hungry, tired or stressed – and I was therefore less sensitive – less fighting would have transpired. But what if the marriage itself, or your employ, or your kids or step kids are creating the stress? How will there ever be a time when one is not over sensitive or acting out of defensiveness, re-acting?  This is important to consider. When it comes to eradicating fear, diminishing stress, or quelling anxiety it is important to focus on changes actually under one’s control. Otherwise you can flush a tremendous amount of resources, energy and money down the toilet trying to fix a fear at the expense of a kidney!

Start with sleep. Why? Because “hungry” is caused by stress (read “What’s it worth” if you don’t believe me), and stress is caused by “tired.” That’s the chain of events. Start with tired. What is happening so you can’t sleep at night? If you can’t sleep at night you’ve upset a primal need. The body, your body, will seek to protect you. Self preservation will kick in. If you don’t give yourself enough sleep, the stress will upset you – get upset enough and you’ll pick fights. If picking fights makes Jack a divorce’, hey, problem solved. The body will offer the mind solutions whether we think so or not! lalalala – just sayin’ too much of a good thing can be wonderful. (to paraphrase Mae West)

Give Fear and its friends, Depression and Anxiety a break by taking care of your body with the utmost care. The solution to pollution is dilution. Find strength through peace!

Sat Nam