The Root of All Fear
Today, I come to you all with something a little different. I want to talk about fear and how it has affected me, and I’d also like to discuss how I’m working with fear to create a living experience that is bearable.
So, for many of us, fear is a part of every day life. The people who are not hindered by fear have issues connecting various parts of their parasympathetic nervous systems with the brain. Fear is built into our lives. We are meant to be afraid of threats. Yet, with the power of human consciousness, we’ve brought fear to the next level. We have allowed fear to rule our lives. In essence, fear is our master. We live in fear of death. We live in the shade of fear; that maybe one day we will not have achieved what we “want” to achieve.
There are essentially two main pathways with which people deal with fear (not including those who choose not to deal with it):
1. They attempt to overcome fear by living in spite of it.
2. They let their expectations lower so as to reduce their chances of losing.
I feel as though both methods are circular. Eventually everybody living in spite of fear will allow fear to catch up to them, and it also leads to a life that is not sincere.
Eventually those who reduce their expectations will realize they never did anything of worth and never realized the inherent worth of simply living.
As an exercise, I’d like the people reading this to really think about death. I know this is a dangerous thought for some, so please be safe about it. Me personally? I’ve been thrown into a rage about death before. In fact, I pretended to make a deal with a demon long ago so I could forget about death for a long time.
I handed off my fear in search of CERTAIN suffering.
Does this sound familiar? Have you ever reached a point, on either path listed above, where you let go of fear in favor of giving up? You just say: “ok then… I will lose, and that’s ok!”
I’d like to tell you something: It’s not ok. Hah! To let yourself feel certain suffering is a loss for you. For me, it was with my weight gain. At some point, after fighting for so long, I just realized that fear kept me from doing the right thing. And, I gave up. I accepted being fat.
I’m not here to judge you. Maybe you’ve also admitting something similar. “I am never going to get a job..” or something like that. You have found that circumstances just aren’t in your favor. You have stopped fighting fear.
And, yet, I’m not only more afraid, but I am less capable of fixing my problems.
There is an obvious issue with acceptance in this case.
I’m sure, if we went down the line, you could identify all the fears you have. You could spout them out, you could list the ones you gave up on, and you can show us how it has changed your life.
So, I’d like to propose a solution to fear… And, yes, it’s the obvious fearlessness. But, I’d like you to approach in a systematic way (which is open source, so feel free to alter as necessary!)
Step One: Be Grateful.
-Everything you are allowed to experience, you should be grateful for. Meditate on gratefulness. Focus on your breath and the opportunities you have to breathe.
Step Two: Be Mindful.
-Now that you are grateful for everything, you can begin to apply mindful living. You can see life without judgment. You won’t get an F on a test, and think the universe is any different. You can live without being afraid of the outcomes.
Step Three: Be.
-Then, after being free of judgment, you can live your life. You won't be bogged down by fear... you won't end up 100, and say to yourself: "Well, that was a waste".
That’s about it! It’s very simple, and extremely hard for people who have been living their whole lives the opposite way.
Let me leave you with a quotation from Trungpa Rinpoche:
“The ground of fearlessness and the basis of overcoming doubt and wrong belief is to develop renunciation. Renunciation here means overcoming that very hard, tough, aggressive mentality which wards off any gentleness that might come into our hearts. Fear does not allow fundamental tenderness to enter into us. When tenderness tinged by sadness touches our heart, we know that we are in contact with reality. We feel it. That contact is genuine, fresh, and quite raw. That sensitivity is the basic experience of warriorship, and it is the key to developing fearless renunciation.
Sometimes people find that being tender and raw is threatening and seemingly exhausting. Openness seems demanding and energy consuming, so they prefer to cover up their tender heart. Vulnerability can sometimes make you nervous. It is uncomfortable to feel so real, so you want to numb yourself. You look for some kind of anaesthetic, anything that will provide you with entertainment. Then you can forget the discomfort of reality. People don’t want to live with their basic rawness for even fifteen minutes. When people say they are bored, often they mean that they don’t want to experience the sense of emptiness, which is also an expression of openness and vulnerability. So they pick up the newspaper or read anything else that’s lying around the room—even reading what it says on a cereal box to keep themselves entertained. The search for entertainment to baby-sit your boredom soon becomes legitimized as laziness. Such laziness actually involves a lot of exertion. You have to constantly crank things up to occupy yourself, overcoming your boredom by indulging in laziness.”
Licensed Minister of the Force