Why are so many people afraid of public speaking? Simply put, it’s a situation of one person against many.
A mass of people wield a higher power than that of a lone individual. Talking to a group is thus experienced as a direct, terrifying encounter with a God!
How can a mortal stand up before a God without disintegrating? How could the offering of a mere person be worthy before an audience of a God?
Our subconscious minds are programmed to interpret and respond to reality, based on what Jung called archetypal images. The image of a terrifying numinous energy hovers over a public gathering. This is the same image behind agoraphobia, the Greek word that literally translates as fear of the marketplace, a place of public gathering.
Archetypal images are preformed interpretations of energy that assemble and generate the reality we live in. They define what Robert Monroe called local traffic, the roads we travel in waking life. Monroe also discovered the interstate, roads that lead to the subtler energetic states of non-ordinary reality. The shamans of ancient Mexico call these different locales, alternative positions of the assemblage point, which generate real but relative realities.
Carlos Castaneda’s teacher, Don Juan Matus, was clear that we are solid beings in a solid world but that we are energetic beings, or spirit beings, first. Ultimately, archetypes are illusory and must be transcended to allow direct communication and relationship, as well as the freedom to navigate without the limits of preformed emotional reactions that inhibit genuine connection and expression.
When ego encounters archetype it experiences terror or ecstasy. The archetype behind attraction is, again, the energy of the divine. To be captivated by the beauty of another is a royal encounter with a prince, princess, God or Goddess. Fear and trembling hinder approach to one’s divine object of desire.
Archetypes can be helpful tools of interpretation, but they are projected images from within the psyche, not actual facts. Beneath the attractive person is a mere mortal being. Beneath the powerful uniform of a police officer or doctor is a flawed mortal, like all mortals. Uniforms serve to stir archetypal images, commanding high respect and trembling.
Often, individuals protect themselves from numinous archetypal encounters by staying safe at home. Others may take pharmaceuticals to regulate the anxiety activated by these projected archetypal images. Although these strategies may protect one from becoming diminished by the power of these images, they also reinforce the interpretation of these images as powers greater than the self.
The better course of adaptation is to withdraw the archetypal projection upon the outside world, neutralizing its overwhelming emotion of divine encounter. Projection, however, is not a choice, it simply happens to us: an object is encountered in the world and an archetypal image is activated to define it. However, the ego can take actions to master its ability to go into the world, speak publicly, and approach a person of interest.
Ego must first become humble and accepting of the self as it is. To inflate or deflate the ego to adapt to an archetypal encounter is merely transient survival. Ego should do the work it can do to improve itself. If you are going to give a speech, practice it many times.
Ego can practice biofeedback and neurofeedback to gain mastery over the emotions activated by archetypal images. This will allow the prefrontal cortex to remain online, granting access to one’s prepared talk. The subconscious can be instructed, through self-suggestion, to check the activation of archetypal images, thus enabling one to approach a person of interest as an ordinary human being.
Regular meditation and pranayamic breathing serve to ground the ego and invite higher spirit entities to energetically join with one’s intent. Ego’s ability to align with Spirit’s intent brings one’s greater wholeness to bear upon the ability to remain fluid during a numinous encounter.
Mastering archetypal images leads to true human interaction, perhaps the essential ingredient missing from the world stage at the moment. That work can advance on an individual level, as we each are free to free ourselves from the tyranny of archetypal misinterpretation.