HOW TO DEAL WITH THE MONSTER OF FEAR
Fear is something most people complain about. It’s more than a complaint, it’s a fear of fear itself. It’s as if fear is a monster that threatens to destroy us or overwhelm us or create havoc in our lives.
But what is this thing called fear? I’m talking primarily of psychological fears … like the fear of something bad happening, some loss or tragedy, or a wrong decision that leads to regret or resentment. Or it could the fear of getting old, or getting sick, or dying without having fulfilled your dreams. Usually, it’s just a fear of the uncertainty of life and this pervades everything.
Fear is an invitation to examine what is true. The truth is, we cannot possibly know what will happen in the future. The truth is, fear is a thought about the future … an imaginary situation that has not yet taken place. The unexamined mind loves to generate thoughts about the future, it loves to imagine doomsday scenarios, dramas, problems, calamities … it’s a self-perpetuating mechanism that creates a monster called fear.
Fear is an invitation to fall back into presence, to just be here in this moment, in the fullness of this breath and this gentle aliveness that is the "I AM." It’s an invitation to rest right here, being open to the preciousness of this moment, being intimate with what is. This intimacy cuts through the mental experience of fear to the visceral experience of fear. And here we may discover it is an energy, like a dark cloud or a black hole or a kind of density. And as we become more intimate, more quiet, more present, then it may become a little lighter. The energy starts to diffuse and the cloud may dissipate to reveal an open space. And we might experience this as peace.
Of course, there is the kind of fear that arises as a physiological response to a dangerous situation. But this is a functional fear and the physiological response of racing heart, tight muscles and dry mouth are the intelligence of life that moves you into taking action. Psychological fear, on the other hand, is an unintelligent reaction that creates a matrix of imaginary futures that are not actually happening in this moment. Of course, dangerous and harmful and terrible things do happen ... both in our personal lives and in the world. But unless they are happening to you now, it is a thought and not a reality.
So my friend, perhaps you can allow fear to be a friend ... a call to come back to NOW. A call to cut through the veil of illusion by seeing that in THIS moment your imaginary future is not happening, in THIS moment you are perfectly alive and HERE. And once you have seen through the illusion of fear, you will see that there never was a monster except in your mind.
And even when fear arises, when the heart trembles and the breath is shallow, when the body tenses and the mind grasps onto the uncertainty of the future ... perhaps you can stop and take a softer breath, and feel the warmth of your aliveness, and let the mind fall open. In this way, you can start to embrace the great mystery, the beauty of the unknown, the intimacy of just being here. There are no monsters here, just the light of BEING. And the freedom to truly live, come what may!
Amoda is interviewed by GuruViking