Feeling, The Fear
Fear underlies each of the 5 hindrances the Buddha spoke of: greed, aversion, sloth and torpor, restlessness and worry, and doubt. We’re greedy because we’re fearful we won’t get what we want, or we feel aversion toward a difficult situation because we’re afraid of it.
How should we deal with fear?
There are general instructions for all the hindrances:
- First, know that it is happening. (What is happening?)
- Let yourself feel the fear. (Feel the feelings.)
- Don’t judge yourself for it. (How am I relating to it?)
- Pause and recognize that your identity has contracted into a fearful self. (EGO)
- Be compassionate toward yourself, neither grasping nor resisting your fear. (I am sorry, I Love you 🙂
Then investigate the feeling:
- What are you really fearful of?
- What are you clinging to or pushing away?
- It may not be the immediate situation that you think is the trigger for fear, but rather something broader.
- It could be one of the most common fears: fear of inadequacy or fear of what others think.
Fear comes from a belief, not necessarily from reality. Anticipation is the major ingredient. A Buddhist monk tells of pulling out his own tooth with a pair of pliers — without anaesthetic. His listeners are horrified. “Weren’t you afraid?” they ask. “When I walked to the tool shed to pick up the pliers, I wasn’t afraid. When I pulled out the tooth, I was afraid for a couple of minutes. When I cleaned the pliers and took them back to the tool shed, I wasn’t afraid.” Because he was concentrating on the moment, as Buddhists are taught to do in meditation, his fear was limited to the brief time he was doing something scary.
To deal with fear, Buddhist suggest mindfulness.
- Notice what’s happening in the mind and the sensations in the body.
- As you concentrate on the moment and feel your body getting grounded, you may feel less fearful.
If you don’t confront your fear, you may have fear of fear. But if you examine your fear with a clear mind, you may realize that it is only a belief, not the truth.
Adapted by G Ross Clark