Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Welcoming Fear As A Friend

--by Gerald G. May (Oct 30, 2017)

The basic lesson is this: Fear is not an enemy but a friend. Fear is something good, something alive, alert, and wild in us. Fear may be a response to danger, bur fear itself is not dangerous. On the contrary, It is nothing other than life-spirit standing on its toes right here, right now with clear attention, sharp senses, ready body, flared nostrils, bristled hair, poised muscles, pumping heart, clean breath.

The immense gratitude I experienced when I was most afraid was for feeling so incredibly alive. In untamed fear there is a profound sense of something that is me going through the experience. It is personhood without definition, identity without identification, selfhood without attributes. And it has an immense steadiness to it, an almost eternal quality. Here is this life, this being that is deeply myself, having this experience, being in it as I have been through every moment of the past, as I will be in every moment, to come, no matter what. In this strange way, fear brought me an ultimate reassurance.

I understand how people can become addicted to fear. I have known some who were hooked on their own adrenaline, compelled toward danger, driven to dancing with death at the edges of life. I doubt that will ever happen to me, for I have no desire to seek fear. But neither am I interested in protecting myself from it. When fear does come, I no longer want to cope with it. Let me neither tighten myself against what I'm feeling, nor become paralyzed by it, but let me live into the bright, sane responsiveness that fear makes possible. Let me welcome fear for the friend it is, for what it teaches and how it serves. When I feel the hairs on the back of my neck bristling for no reason, when I sense an unexplainable tremulousness, I never again want to deny it or call it neurotic. Instead, I want to welcome it, go into it, see what it is trying to show me.

People who have been assaulted sometimes say they had a premonition of danger but dismissed it. They judged their fear as unrealistic, denied or coped with it, and forged ahead. They were afraid of being afraid, and they got hurt. I have to disagree with Franklin Roosevelt and so many others who have said that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. I would turn the phrase on its head and maintain that the only thing we have to fear is our fear of fear.

 Gerald G May from "The Wisdom of Wilderness"

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Previous Reflections:

On Oct 27, 2017 Jagdish P Dave wrote:

 I love to read such writings which make me pause,"see" with wide open and clear yes and connected with the truth emerging from openness and clarity.The fear of fear is neurotic. It is a conditioned response.I stay away from relating to a new and fresh stimulus even before it arises.In this sense I relate to fear as an enemy, and not as my friend. Such a mindset creates a wall or a boundary and restricts the flow of our energy.Our flow of energy gets thwarted by fight, flight or freeze response.

Another way of relating to a fear is  befriending the fear.We embrace the fear with open arms and allow ourselves to experience it as a friend or a guest.When we relate to our fear in a friendly way, fully and fearlessly, we feel the surge and aliveness of energy like surfing on the new waves..

When I am fully present  to the existential reality as it is without the judgment of right and wrong, beyond right and wrong, I am in the field of pure energy, pure awareness. It is a different dimension of consciousness.Walking in nature, listening to music, connecting with myself with myself and  others on a deeper level creates a sense of awe and wonderment. Living becomes a blessing.

May we be free from the shackles of fear and  swim in the pure flow of energy!


Jagdish P Dave

On Oct 28, 2017 david doane wrote:

 I experience fear when I feel in danger, in regards to whatever that may be.  My fear often is of the unknown, even though I know that the unknown is full of opportunity.  Feeling fear is for me an indication that I am alive, and the feeling of fear can be exciting, but fear doesn't make sane responsiveness possible.  It's my being alive makes responsiveness possible, and I can respond with courageous action or fearful avoidance.  I am often afraid, maybe more so than many people, and I have often leaned into my fear such as by taking action even though I am afraid, and usually I'm glad I did because whatever I feared usually turned out well and I grew from the experience.  What helps me stay present to fear without dismissing it is knowing that I feel fear when on the verge of something new and challenging, and staying with fear is staying with the opportunity at hand.

On Oct 31, 2017 M.V.Mathew(Ashokafellow) wrote:

 NO FEAR" is my Motto.From my early years I was fearing about SNAKE Bikes,Dogs Bite,Driving Vehicle,Starting new Programmes,Every where ,every thing I found Fear.But THE FAITH IN GOD vanished away all my FEAR.I was in Africa, Europe,Australia, there are too many times of FEAR.But it is only for SECONDS.I over came all my FEAR only by the Strongest BELIEVE in GOD that nothing will happen with out the KNOWLEDGE OF GOD.The Greatest LOSS OF Ten Acres of Land and 27 Buildings-NOCERGRAM-I overcome the Fear only by the FAITH IN GOD.So Over come Fear  FAITH and Believe in GOD will make more STRENGTH and ACTION.

On Oct 31, 2017 Harry wrote:

 I also welcome FEAR. It involved my personal Healing Journey, when I had to go to places within myself which were very, indeed exceedingly uncomfortable. Facing elements of myself with which I was struggling to learn to embrace, (as opposed to "grappling, confronting, wrestling, etc.). I learned some cool acronyms along the way: FEAR can be "False Evidence Appearing Real"; "Forgetting Everything's All Right", and, of course, "F*ck Everything And Run!". As I describe above, FEAR also is an ally in my emotionally intimate relationships, since the discomfort I experience as I share deeper traits of myself to my Loved One: the FEAR is a barometer of the authenticity of my emotional commitment.

On Oct 31, 2017 Mack wrote:

 Fear of fear has, without doubt, been the big fear of my life.  As I grow older, I can't say that I welcome it, but I find myself questioning the deeply rooted assumption that I shouldn't feel it.  Of course, I should because to be alive is to feel fear.   My spiritual quest forever has been about managing it, but it doesn't, and even can't be managed.  Fear, no problem. 

On Jan 2, 2018 Kay wrote:

 I am reminded of Rumi's poem, The Guest House.  Welcome all fears, all emotions for they have something to say to us!