Articles by Helen Ricco

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Our Fear of Death

The work that we under take, continually sheds light on countless chief issues and from many different angles, but below I will choose to tackle one briefly, just to give an example, however a monumental one: Death!
I have many times asked this question to various different people: “If it were possible for us to choose, would you rather live forever”? And the answer has always been, just as I had expected; “Yes”! Then I say: “Why”? And hear all kind of answers, such as; “Who would choose to die”? “Because, I love to be here and to be alive” or “I’m afraid of the idea; of ceasing to exist” etc… Though the phenomenon that lies beyond this pallet of appearances is always the same; “FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN”. It is only because we don’t know where we are going, how we will be feeling, if it will be suitable or even bearable for us??? Yet if we accept that we totally ignore all the above, then we are forced to admit that we cannot say, think or know that: What happens to us once we have ceased being present in this world, is necessarily something worse than what we have known here on earth. How can we know if what follows is not BETTER than what we have known so far?

Another very interesting phenomenon, which I have observed (in my experiences), is: in opposition to what everyone may think; it’s not the people who lead the happiest most fulfilling, peaceful and harmonious existences that suffer largely from the fear of death (and do their’ utmost to cling on). But, it is the ones who are always complaining and constantly living through their’ pains that have deep rooted problems in accepting this reality. And here I am not referring to the people who are suicidal, (for, whom it is another matter) but to the ordinary persons who we encounter everyday.
As we begin to recognize our finitude as a natural course of life; acknowledging it for what it really is; as an inevitable living reality, which we all have to face sooner or later, we become more resilient. This enables us to simultaneously approach such themes from another perspective, as we cease living in fear of them. Death is one of the myriad issues that my practice progressively allocates us to befriend. As I always say; each person in their own way in their own time…

For example by accepting our own death, we experience it more as a continuity, another cycle, a change rather than a loss. Consequently, this reality automatically allows us to admit the death of our loved ones in a new way. As my dear late Master; Dr. Michel Guerry so correctly used to say: “It is only when man ceases to fear his death that he begins to LIVE”.


Our Pathos is a healthy and necessary double movement

Everything that we do in C.Sophrology®  is perpetually envisaged to bring us to terms with the things that we do (consciously or unconsciously) on a daily basis. Our aim is to constantly remain close to the reality at all cost.
One of the most crucial double movements is our suffering/joy, otherwise called our very PATHOS of life, without which we wouldn’t be human. Our pathos is felt/lived through our joys/pains through our laughter/tears, the most plain, but essentials that tell us that we are alive, hence makes up our VIVANCE (the life that flows & manifests in a living continuity).

By practicing C.Sophrology® we bring our pathos into balance, so as not to feel that we are undergoing our existence in irrationality (aggressed). We learn to understand/consent to the constant presence of both emotions and to recognise when one gets out of proportion and begins to travel down the path of extremes. We know that the mere thought of wanting to eradicate our pains or tears, would mean that we are putting our joys and laughter into peril, therefore our life at stake. And this is valid for so many double movements that belong to the reality of life, but that we are frequently mistakenly led into believing that we like the feeling of one but not the other. Only because we spend most of our time running away from the emotions that are (physically/mentally) painful therefore never develop the skills to cope successfully with them. Practically, it boil down to; if we seek to live only through a chosen group of feeling we are partially (not entirely) living. As I often say: “When the Soul is afraid of dying, it never learns to Live”.

Dealing with difficulty

C.Sophrology® gives us all the essential tools to cope with every natural emotion. It is not when we alienate ourselves from the things that we fear or dislike that we become better equipped in dealing most effectively with them. And it is not either when we try to control them that we make a better job out of a difficult/painful situation. It is through understanding, accepting and sometimes, even loving some things, making them our allies that permit us to explore, to get to know and really approach them. (Just think for a moment, isn’t it with the things that you are most familiar, that you feel more comfortable about)? By doing so we learn to make way to our authentic feelings, the ones that rise from within, not the ones that we think are more appropriate, because of our education/culture, or our understanding of it. It is not by acting in ways that we think are expected of us that helps us get in touch with who we really are.

To fear or not to fear?


Why do we feel fear, where does it come from?

There are two types of fear:

1.The fear of the unknown

2. The fear of what is already known.

Just like every other so called negative feeling, nowadays fear is frequently addressed as everyone seeks to erase it from their’ emotional repertoire. This is one of our greatest mistakes! Fear only becomes harmful, when it gets out of proportion. But, so does every other feeling, for that matter. Therefore by accepting and understanding it, we develop a constructive coping mechanism.

Let’s take the simplest example in which it is Fear that saves us: “The fight or flight” that belongs to our (primary functions) instinct. The physiological substances released throughout our bodies which give us the strength to defend ourselves or to run away from danger happen; thanks to the feeling of fear.  

If we were not meant to feel fear it simply wouldn’t exist. So there is a positive use to fear, but before I go any further, I will say we cannot and should not fancy throwing away anything unless we actually know what it is. How would you like it if someone said they couldn’t stand you, before even meeting you? But that’s what people tend to do all the time. They go as far as saying that they love someone, before even knowing them.

We fear everything that is unknown, because we have the impression that if we have an idea of what to expect we will do a better job out of any given situation. While we have all repeatedly lived through moments that have proved this theory to be wrong, why do we still hold on to it so tightly?

And we fear what we consider to be known, because we simply are sure that we don’t want to go through it again.

Well let me tell you that both the above scenarios are not real. Why? Because in both cases; whether something is familiar or not, I guarantee you that every single experience is and will remain unique. In reality, life cannot be calculated, foreseen or controlled; therefore our best bet is to boost/increase our capacities and rely on our ability of improvisation.