Fear

 

 

Fear cannot be got rid of by personal effort, but only by the ego's absorption in a cause greater than its own interests. Absorption in any cause will rid the minds of some of its fears; but only absorption in the loving and knowledge of the divine ground can rid it of all fear.

Huxley

Perennial Philosophy

 

The displacement of fear by charity, by way of the practice of humility - in that consists the whole of St. Bernard's ascesis, its beginning, its development and its term.

E. Gilson

Quoted in Per. Phil. (Huxley)

 

There is a "catch" in all of this. The threat that unitive experience poses to self-image can only fully be assuaged by divine agapic love, and yet such love is only fully realized in unitive experience. The "knowing" of divine love occurs only in the atmosphere of "unknowing". The conclusion that must be drawn here is that spiritual seekers are in a no-win situation with regard to fear. I think this is totally accurate. There is no way to avoid fear, great fear, in the course of spiritual growth. The only saving quality is that in an atmosphere of willingness the experiences of love and fear come together. Where terror is encountered, the sense of divine love is always available. If it were not for this, our spiritual journeys would invariably be short lived and abortive.

 

Gerald May - Care of Mind Care of Spirit

 

 

Don't have ideals of purity, chastity, brotherhood, non-violence and all the rest of it, because they have no meaning. Don't try to be courageous, because that is merely a reaction to fear. To be fearless requires immense insight, an understanding of the whole process of fear and its case. You see there is fear as long as you want to be secure - secure in your marriage, secure in your job, in your position, in your responsibility, secure in your ideas, in your beliefs, secure in your relationship to the world or your relationship to God.

 

The mind which is alert, watchful, which is free of fear, is an innocent mind; and it is only the innocent mind that can understand reality, truth or God.

 

But if you are really not afraid of anything then you will find - when you wake up in the morning or when you are walking alone - that suddenly a strange thing happens: uninvited, unsolicited, unlooked for, that which may be called love, truth, happiness is suddenly there.

J. Krishnamurti - Think on These Things

 

Q. What do you do when you are afraid of someone, perhaps with reason? For me, this destroys compassion.

 

A. Compassion is not looking down upon somebody who needs help, who needs care, but it is general, basic, organic, positive thinking. The fear of someone else seems to generate uncertainty as to who you are. That is why you are afraid of that particular situation or person. Tear comes from uncertainty. If you know exactly how you are going to handle this frightful situation, then you have not fear. Fear comes from panic, the bewilderment of uncertainty. Uncertainty is related to distrust in yourself, feeling that you are inadequate to deal with that mysterious problem which is threatening you. There is no fear if you really have a compassionate relationship with yourself, because then you know what you are doing. If you know what you are doing, then your projections also become methodical or predictable, in some sense. The one develops prajna, knowledge of how to relate to any given situation.

 

 

I find that there are two types of fear. In one kind, things are quite delicate, or critical. At such times, I know that I must make a decision, whether I know what to do or not. First, I try to consult with my friends and reflect on it. Then, I make a decision and act, and I never feel regret. Ultimately, this is very much related to motivation. If I have no negative selfish motivation, deep down I will have no guilty feeling. When I act with sincere motivation, even if things do not go as expected, there is no regret.

 

A second kind of fear is based on imagination. To overcome that, you need calmness so that you can investigate it more closely. When you look into it in detail, your imaginary fear dissipates.

 

We have to look into individual cases. sometimes, you see, there is real danger associated with some kinds of fear. In that case, it is worthwhile to feel fear. Out of fear, you see how to take every proper precaution. It can be a serious loss if there is an actual danger and you feel no fear!

 

But another type of fear, when there is no imminent danger, is one you have created. With that kind of fear, the essential thing is to have sincere motivation and openness deep down. This is very helpful to reduce the fear. With self-confidence you can meet any person and talk with him or her. Even though you still have fear, because of your confidence, you have some kind of justice or truth within you. So, the basic things, I think, according to my own experience, are compassion and an altruistic mind.

 

Dalai Lama - Worlds in Harmony

 

"From the Buddhist point of view there are certain essential marks of human existence which go altogether beyond, or before, culture.

 

One of these is that all humans suffer. All of us, in the secrecy of our domestic security, are frightened . . . it is a fact that at any moment, as yet undetermined and certainly unknown, each and every one of us is going to die. And however slow, or however fast, the process of death may be in terms of illness or old age, the moment of death is sudden . . . When, occasionally, we let this touch us it is very frightening. And this does not depend on culture. It is as true for the Inuit as for the Australian . . . This is universal . .

 

So, recognizing that fear and running from that fear - this balance continually goes on. Recognizing it is fearlessness. When you recognize it, when you stay with it, which means that you let yourself quake, feel the quaking, then there is fearlessness. And then running from it, in fear of fear, is cowardice. This is the constant play of the mind . . .

 

At that moment, a realization might dawn of awareness encompassing both fear and fearlessness - joy . . or confidence. So when you stay with that terror then you might discover confidence or joy, which comes from recognizing the indestructibility of awareness. ...

 

So the fundamental fact, then, is fearlessness which joined bring confidence and joy. ... The ground of humanness is goodness, in that sense of fundamental joy and fundamental confidence. Therefore we are free from guilt, free from sin.

 

Jeremy Hayward - Talk to Naropa Institute