Take the Pinch Out of Fear

(Hammar quotes Buddha) When one has the feeling of dislike for evil, when one feels tranquil, one finds pleasure in listening to good teachings; when one has these feelings and appreciates them, one is free of fear.

by Sandi Martinez (Editorial contribution by Lisa Speaker)

… Or let fear take a pinch out of you?  Do we have a choice, and if we did what would it look like?  The five elements of fear apply every bit as much to one sitting in a classroom, as a deer caught in the hunter’s headlights: confusion, aversion, a sense of danger, a sense of weakness, and a desire to escape.  But is the classroom a place in which fear applies, or is the classroom literally a place to learn about fear?

‘You have nothing to fear, but fear itself’, how many times have we heard this saying?  But as I evolve and become more human, while at the same time being human, and allowing for spiritual growth, I come face-to-face with the possibility that fear is my teacher; and I accept that fear may only become my student under very specific circumstances.  And even then fear is not a willing student!  It does not want to learn, it only wants to be itself.  We’ve also heard, ‘just be yourself’ but what if we’re still learning how to be ourselves?

The deer, when it comes face-to-face with headlights becomes scared and confused, and then tries to avert it; but lacks heedfulness.  There are many directions the deer can go, but because it is scared and confused, it makes bad decisions and therefore, is likely to get wrapped around a fender.  Granted, the deer is a prey animal and prone to “flight” instead of “fight”. However, if it could be more heedful to danger, it would limit the need for weakness; the tendency to freeze in the face of danger.   Consequently, the careful decision to escape becomes an action; saving its own life.

Sometimes the very acceptance that fears exists within us, as we step into the classroom, or prepare for that inevitable test, is the thing that makes fear less-absorbing; that because we take power from it by acknowledging it, it becomes weak, taking the pinch out of fear.  If we allow it a room in the house of our minds, it takes up residence, making it more difficult to evict.

The denial of fear, or the prevention of it, may be attempts to avoid it.  There’s also the reality that in simply accepting ‘yes fear, I know you are there, and I welcome you’ compared to, ‘yes fear, I know you are there and you terrify me, are you happy now?’ will make or break fear’s success in how it manipulates and controls us.

But unlike the deer, we have the gift of discernment.  In learning when to befriend fear, as a marker to warn us of true danger, vs. knowing when fear is just a sweeping, dark, unnecessary cloud, we can in fact embrace it; both as a learning tool, and an illusion-breaker.

What are your thoughts on fear?  We’d love to hear about your success in overcoming it!