What is your Enchanted Forest? (And what do you do to avoid it?)

Your enchanted forest is usually something about yourself that you fear the most.  It typically starts at a young age and it is from that point forward avoided in one manner or another.  This long-term avoidance only increases the fear.  Let’s say that it’s the fear of “being stupid” that you cope with by avoiding intellectually challenging situations.  This avoidance brings immediate relief but prevents any lessening of the fear.  In fact, it actually increases the fear.  

Consider the story of a young boy who played in the local forest up to age ten.  Then one day, the King proclaimed that the forest was Enchanted and thereafter, no one should enter it again. ( I think the King fell off his horse in the forest or some other humiliating thing like that).  Although the boy had played safely in the forest, he complied with the King’s orders from that point forward.  Even as an adult, he took the long way to the next village completely avoiding the Enchanted Forest.  Each time he took the long way, he arrived safely at the other village.  Many years later, he realizes that he is much more afraid of the Enchanted Forest than he was when he was a child.

Many people would agree with the statement that the more you avoid what you fear, the more you fear it and the more you face what you fear, the less you fear it.  However, most people don’t understand how this works.  In the example of the Enchanted Forest, the important outcome to make note of is that each time the man took the long way around the Enchanted Forest he arrived safely in the other village.  This is a reward or reinforcement for taking the long way, but also begs the question, “what would have happened if I went through the Enchanted Forest?” Repeating this behavior over and over for many years reinforces the belief that the long way is safer and erroneously reinforces the mystery about what would happen if he had taken the more direct route through the Enchanted Forest.  Therefore, his compulsion to take the long way increases while his fear of the Enchanted Forest grows.

Leaving the Middle Ages and returning to modern times, it is our irrational fears that we avoid and the method of our avoidance is our addiction.  Many people have a fear that they are not “good enough”.  This fear can easily be installed at a young age by a powerful authority figure.  From that point, the young person begins to compulsively attempt to hide from any exposure to this possibility.  Each time they succeed, they receive a great sense of relief so they repeat this effort again and again.  It might be excessive study, alcohol, or self-sabotage that works for them.  However, as time goes by, the fear that they are not good enough goes unchallenged and the fear grows.  This also requires more and more drastic methods of avoidance.

Even after the methods of avoidance are clearly doing more harm than good and the fear that they are not good enough is seen as irrational and untrue, the emotional mind is now programmed.  The urge to take the long way around and avoid the original fear is irresistible.  The extensive subjective experience that the Enchanted Forest is dangerous and the long way around is safe overwhelms reason and fear and addiction prevail, unless the subjective emotional programming can be disarmed.   That is one of the primary targets of the Enlight treatment.