Master Kakashi introduced Zen from China to Japan during an invasion. One of his students, Lord Tokimune, said to him, “Master, fear is the worst enemy of my life. How can I free myself from it?”
Master Budko replied, “Cut it off at its source.”
Lord Tokimune asked, “Where does it come from?”
“It comes from Tokimune himself,” replied the master.
“Above all, I hate fear the most,” declared Tokimune. “How can I possibly be the source of it?”
The master replied, “Find out. Find out.”
The Journey To Safety will include several articles that include infallible steps to understanding and eliminating fear. Take these practices and try them for yourself, one at a time, day by day. There is nothing more important, healing or empowering that taking the simple steps to equanimity and dissolving fear. Only then can appropriate action be taken. And it will be, naturally.
A) Stand Still And See Where Fear Comes From.
When fear arises, let it know you refuse to run. What happens to the fear as you do so? As soon as you address it, you take your natural position as being Senior to Fear.
Stepping back, turning around, looking at the bully in the eye is all that is needed for the bully to get nervous and start to back down. Fear then knows it’s being uncovered for the unreal weakling it is. As you do this and other exercises that follow, not only are you learning how to reclaim your power, but you will become more and more able to live from the core and truth of who you are. .
“Abandon poisonous food wherever it comes to you”.
—Tibetan Lorong saying
Unconscious Victims of Fear
Most of us are unconscious victims of fear, living under its spell unknowingly, not dreaming of what our lives could really be. We seldom exercise the enormous power we all have to be free, brave, strong, creative, and loving. To live our dreams and share them with others.
Many Refuse To Let Fear Go
Sadly, many of us are attached to fear, feeling that it keeps us safe and secure. We often refuse to let it go. What we do not realize is that clinging to suffering is not our true wish. It is simply an effect of fear run wild. The more we become aware of fear’s manipulations, the more we will see the ways in which it infiltrates our life, and then the easier it will be to let it go.
Fear Stops Us Cold
Sheila had wonderful plans for how her life would be. She sat at home visualizing her beautiful future. She planned, and imagined how happy she would be when it all came to pass. When asked why she took no action, she always said the time wasn’t right. She wasn’t ready, the stars weren’t in alignment, she would know when the moment came.
Sheila didn’t realize that there is no better time than now to begin. Another way fear trips us up is by telling us we can do it later, that we have all the time in the world. We don’t. We don’t even know if tomorrow will come. Now is the time.
Now is a Great Medicine For Undoing Fear.
Do it now.
There is always some action you can take, however small, which will increase your confidence. Find something you can do now, even a small action. And do it now. See what needs to be done in the moment. Take a tiny, doable step toward a larger goal. When you do what has to be done now, fear doesn’t have the time to grow strong. Fear grows in empty spaces, while we are waiting, pondering, imagining, hoping.
Truth Wipes Out Fear On The Spot
Just a little light washes away lots of darkness. Even a moment of truth begins to loosen the pain, damage, and illness created by fear. As soon as you see the truth of the matter, fear loses its power to harm you. As soon as you stand in the truth, cling to it relentlessly, the healing power of wisdom appears. This is a fact, an indisputable law of the mind and heart.
Think of a lie fear told you that you believed and clung to mercilessly. Just realize now that it was a lie. Take a few moments and realize it more deeply. When you realize it’s a lie, what happens to the fear? Now think of another lie. Do the same with that.
Fear Means Nothing
Shana was constantly dwelling on the reasons she was so afraid. She took all her fears about traveling as a sign that she should stay home. First she stopped flying—too many planes were crashing these days. Then she stopped taking trains—you never knew what could happen, she thought. This fear I feel means something, she thought. The pictures I see of trouble and harm are warnings of what is to come.
However, none of Shana’s fearful imaginings meant anything at all. They were all just illusions. The planes and trains arrived safely while she was locked up in her room.
Fear Warns You Of Things That Are Not Taking Place
A tremendous antidote to fear is to realize that it doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t mean you’re going to get hurt, you’ve done something wrong, or you’re on the wrong track. It’s a ghost rattling a saber at you. It warns you of things that are not taking place, stirs catastrophic expectations, and even hides true danger.
In fact, fear is just a feeling, based upon old thoughts, ideas, beliefs, and expectations you’ve been taught and are trained to believe. These old thoughts and beliefs become your conditioning, which arises automatically, like heartburn when you’ve eaten something you can’t digest.
If there is real danger, you will be in a much better position to recognize it, separate the false threat from the true, after you let go of the feeling of fear.