Awakin.org

Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Fearlessness

--by Thich Nhat Hanh (Feb 11, 2013)


Most of us experience a life full of wonderful moments and difficult moments. But for many of us, even when we are most joyful, there is fear behind our joy. We fear that this moment will end, that we won’t get what we need, that we will lose what we love, or that we will not be safe. Often, our biggest fear is the knowledge that one day our bodies will cease functioning. So even when we are surrounded by all the conditions for happiness, our joy is not complete.

We may think that if we ignore our fears, they’ll go away. But if we bury worries and anxieties in our consciousness, they continue to affect us and bring us more sorrow. We are very afraid of being powerless. But we have the power to look deeply at our fears, and then fear cannot control us. We can transform our fear. Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.

The first part of looking at our fear is just inviting it into our awareness without judgment. We just acknowledge gently that it is there. This brings a lot of relief already. Then, once our fear has calmed down, we can embrace it tenderly and look deeply into its roots, its sources. Understanding the origins of our anxieties and fears will help us let go of them. Is our fear coming from something that is happening right now or is it an old fear, a fear from when we were small that we’ve kept inside? When we practice inviting all our fears up, we become aware that we are still alive, that we still have many things to treasure and enjoy. If we are not pushing down and managing our fear, we can enjoy the sunshine, the fog, the air, and the water. If you can look deep into your fear and have a clear vision of it, then you really can live a life that is worthwhile. 

The Buddha was a human being, and he also knew fear. But because he spent each day practicing mindfulness and looking closely at his fear, when confronted with the unknown, he was able to face it calmly and peacefully. There is a story about a time the Buddha was out walking and Angulimala, a notorious serial killer, came upon him. Angulimala shouted for the Buddha to stop, but the Buddha kept walking slowly and calmly. Angulimala caught up with him and demanded to know why he hadn’t stopped. The Buddha replied, “Angulimala, I stopped a long time ago. It is you who have not stopped.” He went on to explain, “I stopped committing acts that cause suffering to other living beings. All living beings want to live. All fear death. We must nurture a heart of compassion and protect the lives of all beings.” Startled, Angulimala asked to know more. By the end of the conversation, Angulimala vowed never again to commit violent acts and decided to become a monk.

How could the Buddha remain so calm and relaxed when faced with a murderer? This is an extreme example, but each of us faces our fears in one way or another every day. A daily practice of mindfulness can be of enormous help. Beginning with our breath, beginning with awareness, we are able to meet whatever comes our way.

Fearlessness is not only possible, it is the ultimate joy. When you touch nonfear, you are free. If I am ever in an airplane and the pilot announces that the plane is about to crash, I will practice mindful breathing. If you receive bad news, I hope you will do the same. But don’t wait for the critical moment to arrive before you start practicing to transform your fear and live mindfully. Nobody can give you fearlessness. Even if the Buddha were sitting right here next to you, he couldn’t give it to you. You have to practice it and realize it yourself. If you make a habit of mindfulness practice, when difficulties arise, you will already know what to do.

--Thich Nhat Hanh


Add Your Reflection:

Send me an email when another comment is posted on this passage.
Name: Email:

21 Previous Reflections:

 
On Apr 9, 2013 sharad g wrote:

 When one speaks TRUTH always,he/she becomes fearless......as simple as that.



On Apr 9, 2013 BK Sis Asha wrote:

 Om Shanti ! I have been sharing the art of fearlessness with my spiritual friendship circle in San Diego (www.meetup.com/spiritual-friendship-circle) I just heard about the deer park monastery and I look forward to my visit.  Real freedom is only experienced when one is fear free. A physical illness, loss of a loved one, etc can eat your inner core of strength, love and wisdom. Yes, mindfulness and connection with the Supreme is most important to get your freedom back. Best wishes to all for becoming fearless.



On Mar 22, 2013 Kerstin wrote:
The root of ALL fears is the fear to die. And for me, the only way to get loss of all fears is to accept death. Perhaps a long way and a long time to think of the meaning of live etc. but the only attitude of mind that gets you free from deep fears and lets you really enjoy live :-)

On Feb 15, 2013 a wrote:

 Dear Thierry, I learned to be fearful when . . .  I was not allowed to speak (children meant to be seen and not heard) I was not allowed an opinion (parents,  teachers, church leaders need always be right) Inferior (because my best friend was an A student . . . me, a "B") I met evil in people (it's all around us) Injustice (Life on earth is NOT FAIR) Freedom/dignities denied (again, it's all around us) I learned to be fearless when . . . I met Jesus He wants me "to speak" . . . He made my vocal cords  He gave me "an opinion" . . . He designed my brain Equality in Him . . . HE is The Judge and Jury I find the way in Him . . . He is the Path Light in Him  . . . NO DARKNESS Fairness in Him . . . come to Me, ALL of you Compassion in Him . . . Care for ALL  Love in Him . . .  In the world, I fear In Jesus, I fear not (less) In reality, I fear Tucked in His Spirit, is where I choose to reside.  Life in His Spi  See full.

 Dear Thierry,
I learned to be fearful when . . . 
I was not allowed to speak (children meant to be seen and not heard)
I was not allowed an opinion (parents,  teachers, church leaders need always be right)
Inferior (because my best friend was an A student . . . me, a "B")
I met evil in people (it's all around us)
Injustice (Life on earth is NOT FAIR)
Freedom/dignities denied (again, it's all around us)

I learned to be fearless when . . .
I met Jesus
He wants me "to speak" . . . He made my vocal cords 
He gave me "an opinion" . . . He designed my brain
Equality in Him . . . HE is The Judge and Jury
I find the way in Him . . . He is the Path
Light in Him  . . . NO DARKNESS
Fairness in Him . . . come to Me, ALL of you
Compassion in Him . . . Care for ALL 
Love in Him . . . 

In the world, I fear
In Jesus, I fear not (less)

In reality, I fear
Tucked in His Spirit, is where I choose to reside. 

Life in His Spirit has become a reality for me.  Life outside His Spirit, He did not intend me to be.  (I always tell God, Jesus and Spirit . . . if YOU are not going, neither am I!)

Full confidence in the Fearlessness of Heaven,

Hide full comment.

On Feb 15, 2013 a wrote:

 Dear Thierry, I learned to be fearful when . . .  I was not allowed to speak (children meant to be seen and not heard) I was not allowed an opinion (parents,  teachers, church leaders need always be right) Inferior (because my best friend was an A student . . . me, a "B") I met evil in people (it's all around us) Injustice (Life on earth is NOT FAIR) Freedom/dignities denied (again, it's all around us) I learned to be fearless when . . . I met Jesus He wants me "to speak" . . . He made my vocal cords  He gave me "an opinion" . . . He designed my brain Equality in Him . . . HE is The Judge and Jury I find the way in Him . . . He is the Path Light in Him  . . . NO DARKNESS Fairness in Him . . . come to Me, ALL of you Compassion in Him . . . Care for ALL  Love in Him . . .  In the world, I fear In Jesus, I fear not (less) In reality, I fear Tucked in His Spirit, is where I choose to reside.  Life in His Spi  See full.

 Dear Thierry,
I learned to be fearful when . . . 
I was not allowed to speak (children meant to be seen and not heard)
I was not allowed an opinion (parents,  teachers, church leaders need always be right)
Inferior (because my best friend was an A student . . . me, a "B")
I met evil in people (it's all around us)
Injustice (Life on earth is NOT FAIR)
Freedom/dignities denied (again, it's all around us)

I learned to be fearless when . . .
I met Jesus
He wants me "to speak" . . . He made my vocal cords 
He gave me "an opinion" . . . He designed my brain
Equality in Him . . . HE is The Judge and Jury
I find the way in Him . . . He is the Path
Light in Him  . . . NO DARKNESS
Fairness in Him . . . come to Me, ALL of you
Compassion in Him . . . Care for ALL 
Love in Him . . . 

In the world, I fear
In Jesus, I fear not (less)

In reality, I fear
Tucked in His Spirit, is where I choose to reside. 

Life in His Spirit has become a reality for me.  Life outside His Spirit, He did not intend me to be.  (I always tell God, Jesus and Spirit . . . if YOU are not going, neither am I!)

Full confidence in the Fearlessness of Heaven,

Hide full comment.

On Feb 15, 2013 a wrote:

 Dear Thierry, I learned to be fearful when . . .  I was not allowed to speak (children meant to be seen and not heard) I was not allowed an opinion (parents,  teachers, church leaders need always be right) Inferior (because my best friend was an A student . . . me, a "B") I met evil in people (it's all around us) Injustice (Life on earth is NOT FAIR) Freedom/dignities denied (again, it's all around us) I learned to be fearless when . . . I met Jesus He wants me "to speak" . . . He made my vocal cords  He gave me "an opinion" . . . He designed my brain Equality in Him . . . HE is The Judge and Jury I find the way in Him . . . He is the Path Light in Him  . . . NO DARKNESS Fairness in Him . . . come to Me, ALL of you Compassion in Him . . . Care for ALL  Love in Him . . .  In the world, I fear In Jesus, I fear not (less) In reality, I fear Tucked in His Spirit, is where I choose to reside.  Life in His Spi  See full.

 Dear Thierry,
I learned to be fearful when . . . 
I was not allowed to speak (children meant to be seen and not heard)
I was not allowed an opinion (parents,  teachers, church leaders need always be right)
Inferior (because my best friend was an A student . . . me, a "B")
I met evil in people (it's all around us)
Injustice (Life on earth is NOT FAIR)
Freedom/dignities denied (again, it's all around us)

I learned to be fearless when . . .
I met Jesus
He wants me "to speak" . . . He made my vocal cords 
He gave me "an opinion" . . . He designed my brain
Equality in Him . . . HE is The Judge and Jury
I find the way in Him . . . He is the Path
Light in Him  . . . NO DARKNESS
Fairness in Him . . . come to Me, ALL of you
Compassion in Him . . . Care for ALL 
Love in Him . . . 

In the world, I fear
In Jesus, I fear not (less)

In reality, I fear
Tucked in His Spirit, is where I choose to reside. 

Life in His Spirit has become a reality for me.  Life outside His Spirit, He did not intend me to be.  (I always tell God, Jesus and Spirit . . . if YOU are not going, neither am I!)

Full confidence in the Fearlessness of Heaven,

Hide full comment.

On Feb 14, 2013 Chris Wheaton wrote:
I loved Conrad"s reflection on aging and fear.  I observed my mother come to the conclusion that it is easier to surrender to the process and gracefully release those things that she could no longer physically or mentally do and the result was her spiritual life became stronger as those fears of loss were gently replaced with a deep sense of trust. 

On Feb 13, 2013 Thierry wrote:
Dear Conrad, thank you for your feedback. What you say feels true. I am not at all sure I understand what  the word 'spiritual' means although I feel  strongly attracted to those people who manifest something of that quality. The qualitative shift has'nt happened for me yet and it is a source of deep frustration.
 I am unsure, of course, of what you mean by 'heavens'. You point to something that must have a reality for you. I would be content if I could sense, as deeply as you do, that life is beautiful. I may still have a good way to go. My feelings  about life are still mitigated but I am not hopeless. Independent of age, I am aware I am a beginner on the path.
God bless you

On Feb 12, 2013 P. Sasidhar wrote:

Some fears are created by myself.  A few fears are created by others. Both these fears could be real or could be imaginary. Interestingly, some fears are felt collectively in a family and degree of fear may differ to each member of the family. Even this fear felt collectively could be real or imaginary. The stress introduced by the fear may diminish partially if it is shared with friends and close ones. Can we resolve the stress of fear by merely giving a close look? May be it grows! Analysing the consequences of fear and determine to face them head on is the right choice for me. Discretion is the better part of valour. Discretion is not quality that can be ordered on demand. The quality has to be nurtured, I believe. Budha's life demonstrates to us that practicing a life style that is simple and uncomplicated propels us towards 'peace within'.   'Peace within' perhaps helps to prevent entry of any type of fears into our realm of consciousness.  See full.

Some fears are created by myself.  A few fears are created by others. Both these fears could be real or could be imaginary. Interestingly, some fears are felt collectively in a family and degree of fear may differ to each member of the family. Even this fear felt collectively could be real or imaginary.
The stress introduced by the fear may diminish partially if it is shared with friends and close ones. Can we resolve the stress of fear by merely giving a close look? May be it grows!
Analysing the consequences of fear and determine to face them head on is the right choice for me.
Discretion is the better part of valour. Discretion is not quality that can be ordered on demand. The quality has to be nurtured, I believe. Budha's life demonstrates to us that practicing a life style that is simple and uncomplicated propels us towards 'peace within'.   'Peace within' perhaps helps to prevent entry of any type of fears into our realm of consciousness.

Hide full comment.

On Feb 12, 2013 Rekha wrote:
 Most things we fear are inventions of our own mind. So you have a choice to act the way you want to. The biggest fear in a human life is to losing a source of happiness. That fear will go away or slowly mitigate if we define what is happiness. Is it the worldly pleasures which are transient in nature or is it your soul's connection with the Ultimate Soul, the God. If we are mindful of the cause or effect of the current source of distress and how is our reaction to it going to affect our goals of meditation, then some of our fears will surely start to melt away. We need to also stop feeling so powerful that any unforeseen event makes you feel powerless. Not everything which is happening around us, is the direct effect or cause of what we or others are doing right now. There are some past Karmas as well, and if we start recognizing and acknowledging the past Karmas as well, then we might be able to break away from the cycle.

On Feb 12, 2013 Rekha wrote:

 Fearlessness --by Thich Nhat Hanh (Feb 11, 2013) Most of us experience a life full of wonderful moments and difficult moments. But for many of us, even when we are most joyful, there is fear behind our joy. We fear that this moment will end, that we won’t get what we need, that we will lose what we love, or that we will not be safe. Often, our biggest fear is the knowledge that one day our bodies will cease functioning. So even when we are surrounded by all the conditions for happiness, our joy is not complete.   We may think that if we ignore our fears, they’ll go away. But if we bury worries and anxieties in our consciousness, they continue to affect us and bring us more sorrow. We are very afraid of being powerless. But we have the power to look deeply at our fears, and then fear cannot control us. We can transform our fear. Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now w  See full.

 Fearlessness
--by Thich Nhat Hanh (Feb 11, 2013)

Most of us experience a life full of wonderful moments and difficult moments. But for many of us, even when we are most joyful, there is fear behind our joy. We fear that this moment will end, that we won’t get what we need, that we will lose what we love, or that we will not be safe. Often, our biggest fear is the knowledge that one day our bodies will cease functioning. So even when we are surrounded by all the conditions for happiness, our joy is not complete.
 
We may think that if we ignore our fears, they’ll go away. But if we bury worries and anxieties in our consciousness, they continue to affect us and bring us more sorrow. We are very afraid of being powerless. But we have the power to look deeply at our fears, and then fear cannot control us. We can transform our fear. Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.
 
The first part of looking at our fear is just inviting it into our awareness without judgment. We just acknowledge gently that it is there. This brings a lot of relief already. Then, once our fear has calmed down, we can embrace it tenderly and look deeply into its roots, its sources. Understanding the origins of our anxieties and fears will help us let go of them. Is our fear coming from something that is happening right now or is it an old fear, a fear from when we were small that we’ve kept inside? When we practice inviting all our fears up, we become aware that we are still alive, that we still have many things to treasure and enjoy. If we are not pushing down and managing our fear, we can enjoy the sunshine, the fog, the air, and the water. If you can look deep into your fear and have a clear vision of it, then you really can live a life that is worthwhile. 
 
The Buddha was a human being, and he also knew fear. But because he spent each day practicing mindfulness and looking closely at his fear, when confronted with the unknown, he was able to face it calmly and peacefully. There is a story about a time the Buddha was out walking and Angulimala, a notorious serial killer, came upon him. Angulimala shouted for the Buddha to stop, but the Buddha kept walking slowly and calmly. Angulimala caught up with him and demanded to know why he hadn’t stopped. The Buddha replied, “Angulimala, I stopped a long time ago. It is you who have not stopped.” He went on to explain, “I stopped committing acts that cause suffering to other living beings. All living beings want to live. All fear death. We must nurture a heart of compassion and protect the lives of all beings.” Startled, Angulimala asked to know more. By the end of the conversation, Angulimala vowed never again to commit violent acts and decided to become a monk.
 
How could the Buddha remain so calm and relaxed when faced with a murderer? This is an extreme example, but each of us faces our fears in one way or another every day. A daily practice of mindfulness can be of enormous help. Beginning with our breath, beginning with awareness, we are able to meet whatever comes our way.
 
Fearlessness is not only possible, it is the ultimate joy. When you touch nonfear, you are free. If I am ever in an airplane and the pilot announces that the plane is about to crash, I will practice mindful breathing. If you receive bad news, I hope you will do the same. But don’t wait for the critical moment to arrive before you start practicing to transform your fear and live mindfully. Nobody can give you fearlessness. Even if the Buddha were sitting right here next to you, he couldn’t give it to you. You have to practice it and realize it yourself. If you make a habit of mindfulness practice, when difficulties arise, you will already know what to do.
 
--Thich Nhat Hanh
 
 
 
निर्भयता
- टिक नैट हान (13 फरवरी, 2013)
 
हम में से अधिकतर लोग जीवन में अद्भुत और मुश्किल क्षणों का अनुभव करते हैं। लेकिन हममें से बहुत से लोग जब काफी खुश भी होते हैं तब भी उस ख़ुशी के पीछे एक डर छिपा रहता है। हम डरते हैं कि यह क्षण खत्म हो जाएगा, या हमें वो नहीं मिलेगा जिसकी हमें ज़रुरत है, या हम जिसे प्यार करते हैं, उसे खो देंगे, या हम सुरक्षित नहीं रह पाएँगे। प्रायः हमारे मन में सबसे बड़ा डर यह होता है कि एक दिन हमारा शरीर काम करना बंद कर देगा। तो हमारे चारों तरफ आनन्द का वातावरण फैला होते हुए भी हमारा मन पूरी तरह खुश नहीं होता। 
 
हम शायद यह सोचते हैं कि अगर हम अपने डर को अनदेखा कर दें, तो वो अपने आप मिट जाएगा। लेकिन अगर हम चिंताओं और आशंकाओं को अपने अंतःकरण में दबा देते हैं, तो भी वो हमें प्रभावित करती रहती हैं और हमें और दुःख देती हैं। हम शक्तिहीन होने से बहुत डरते हैं। लेकिन हमारे पास इन आशंकाओं के भीतर झाँकने की शक्ति है, और तब भय हमें नियंत्रित नहीं कर पाएगा। हम अपनी आशंकाओं का रूप बदल सकते हैं। भय हमें अपने अतीत पर या भविष्य की चिंताओं पर केन्द्रित रखता है। अगर हम इस डर को स्वीकार कर लें तो हम जान लेंगे कि इस पल में सब कुछ ठीक है। अभी, आज, हम जिंदा हैं, और हमारे शरीर आश्चर्यजनक रूप से काम कर रहे हैं। हमारी आँखें इस खूबसूरत आकाश को देख सकती हैं। हमारे कान अब भी प्रियजनों की आवाज़ सुन सकते हैं। 
अपने डर की तरफ ध्यान देने के लिए सबसे पहले हमें उसे बिना किसी धारणा के अपनी जागरूकता में लाना होगा। हम सिर्फ हौले से उसके होने को स्वीकार करते लेते हैं। केवल यह भाव ही मन को बहुत राहत दिलाता है। फिर जब हमारा डर कुछ शांत हो जाता है, तब हम उसे प्यार से गले लगा सकते हैं और उसकी जड़, उसके स्रोत को ध्यान से देख सकते हैं। अपनी चिंताओं और डर के मूल कारण को समझ लेने से हमें उनसे मुक्त होने में मदद मिलेगी। क्या हमारा डर किसी ऐसी बात से आ रहा है जो इस वक्त हो रही है या यह कोई पुराना डर है, कोई ऐसा डर जो हमने बचपन से अपने मन में रखा हुआ है? जब हम अपने डर को बाहर निकाल पाने का अभ्यास करते हैं, तो हमें यह अहसास होता है कि हम अब भी जिंदा हैं, और हमारे पास ऐसी बहुत सी बहुमूल्य चीज़ें हैं जिनका हम आनंद ले सकते हैं। अगर हम अपने डर को सिर्फ दबा या उसका कोई उपाय करने की कोशिश नहीं कर रहे हैं, तो हम इस धूप, कोहरे, हवा और पानी का आनंद ले सकते हैं। अगर आप अपने डर की गहराई में झाँक पाएं और उसे स्पष्ट तरीके से देख सकें तो आप एक सार्थक जीवन जी सकते हैं।  
 
बुद्ध एक इंसान थे, और उन्हें भी डर का ज्ञान था। लेकिन क्योंकि उन्होंने हर दिन सचेत साधना और अपने डर को ध्यान से देखने में निकाला, जब उन्हें अज्ञात चीज़ों का सामना करना पड़ा तो उन्होंने यह बहुत धैर्य और शांति से किया। उनके बारे में एक कहानी है कि वे एक बार कहीं चले जा रहे थे और अंगुलीमाल नामक एक बहुत कुख्यात हत्यारा उनके सामने आ गया। अंगुलीमाल ने चिल्लाकर बुद्ध को रुकने के लिए कहा, लेकिन बुद्ध् शान्ति से हौले-हौले चलते रहे। अंगुलीमाल फिर उनके पास पहुंचा और उसने बुद्ध से पूछा कि वे उसके कहने पर रुके क्यों नहीं। बुद्ध ने जवाब दिया, "अंगुलीमाल, मैं बहुत पहले ही रुक चूका था, वो तो तुम हो जो अब तक नहीं रुके।" उन्होंने उसे समझाया, "मैंने ऐसे सब कर्म करने बंद कर दिए जो दूसरों को तकलीफ पहुंचाएं। हर प्राणी जीना चाहता है। हर प्राणी मरने से डरता है। हमें अपने मन में दूसरों के लिए दया जगानी चाहिए और हर प्राणी की जान की सुरक्षा करनी चाहिए।" हैरान होकर अंगुलीमाल ने उन्हें और बताने के लिए कहा। उस बातचीत के अंत तक अंगुलीमाल ने कसम खा ली कि वह कोई हिंसक काम नहीं करेगा और उसने साधू बन जाने की ठान ली। 
 
एक हत्यारे के सामने बुद्ध इतने शांत और निश्चिन्त कैसे रह पाए? यह एक चरम उदाहरण है, लेकिन हममें से हर एक इन्सान हर दिन किसी न किसी तौर से अपने डर का सामना करता है। प्रतिदिन सचेत साधना हमें इस काम में बहुत मदद करेगी। अपनी श्वास पर ध्यान देने से शुरू करके, अपनी जागरूकता से शुरू करके, जो भी हमारे रास्ते में आता है, हम उसका सामना कर सकते हैं। 
 
निर्भयता सिर्फ सम्भव ही नहीं बल्कि वह एक परम आनंद है। जब हम अभय को छू लेते हैं, तो हम आज़ाद हो जाते हैं। अगर मैं कभी हवाई जहाज़ में सफर कर रहा हूँ, और पायलट यह घोषणा कर दे कि जहाज़ गिरने वाला है, तो मैं सचेंत प्राणायाम पर ध्यान दूंगा। अगर आप को कोई बुरी खबर मिले, तो मेरी आशा है आप भी ऐसा ही करेंगे। पर अपने डर को परिवर्तित करने और सचेत अवस्था में जीने की साधना को शुरू करने से पहले ऐसे नाज़ुक क्षणों के आने का इंतज़ार मत करो। हमें कोई निर्भयता दे नहीं सकता। अगर बुद्ध भी यहाँ ठीक आपके पास बैठे होते, तो वो भी नहीं दे सकते थे। इसका अभ्यास आपको खुद करना होगा और खुद ही इसका अहसास करना होगा। अगर आप सचेत साधना को अपनी आदत बना लें, तो जब परेशानियां आएंगी, तो आपको पहले से ही पता होगा कि उनका सामना कैसे करना है। 


 --टिक नैट हान

Hide full comment.

On Feb 12, 2013 Patricia wrote:
There is an exhilarating when heading straight into your fear and defeating it. (Jumping horses for example)  When you "do it anyway" and find that the  "worst" did NOT in fact happen it gives me a sense of empowerment and freedom.  Harder for me to defeat are the emotional fears of failure or letting others down.

On Feb 12, 2013 a wrote:
 Dear  Thierry,

Life is quite beautiful!  Don't meditate on your earthly body in it's "going back to earth" phase. . . in spirit, you have yet to be born!  You aren't there yet . . . Just wait . . . the decay prepares us for heaven!  The BEST is yet to come!
You won't die an idiot because it's evident you are not one now!  Silly! 

blessings and love,

On Feb 12, 2013 Thierry wrote:
Hi Conrad. I have just turned 65 and one of my main fears has been that of slowly decaying. At a certain age physical decay is already in process. So this is one fear I did' nt need to invite. So much so that, some years earlier, I had thought fit to write on the wall of my  room, in big letters: DO NOT DIE AN IDIOT!  I suppose that single thought somewhat summed up what the perspective of aging inevitably meant for me. Yet I found aging needed not be so if I could keep an active mind. I remained curious of things and meaning and I found it easier to turn inwards. I think, just as you do, that  the trip is well worth living to the very end.   

On Feb 12, 2013 Edit Lak wrote:

I love Thich Nhat Hanh, I truly love Thich Nhat Hanh. But what I have learned in my trip in this life is that fear is without a doubt inevitable!! Yes indeed – without a doubt. The daily change in life, world, self, politics, religion, laws bring fears into life, and, that fear bring it to life. Fear is a part of breath, the same way love is. I have been very ill once and that illness made me fear more than ever before, but that fear sent me to ‘accept’, then that moved me forward to a realisation, so fear is the journey in itself with ‘self’. I would lie if I said I still did not fear the past illness, but I now love my fear in that it drives you to change things, fear drives many, and fear is the crossroads of ‘self’ moving forward or ’not’ from our fears. We breath in of course, we breath in everything - we breath in love, anger, forgiveness, selfishness, ego, divinity, selflessness and everything, we then breath out everything a  See full.

I love Thich Nhat Hanh, I truly love Thich Nhat Hanh.
But what I have learned in my trip in this life is that fear is without a doubt inevitable!! Yes indeed – without a doubt. The daily change in life, world, self, politics, religion, laws bring fears into life, and, that fear bring it to life. Fear is a part of breath, the same way love is. I have been very ill once and that illness made me fear more than ever before, but that fear sent me to ‘accept’, then that moved me forward to a realisation, so fear is the journey in itself with ‘self’. I would lie if I said I still did not fear the past illness, but I now love my fear in that it drives you to change things, fear drives many, and fear is the crossroads of ‘self’ moving forward or ’not’ from our fears. We breath in of course, we breath in everything - we breath in love, anger, forgiveness, selfishness, ego, divinity, selflessness and everything, we then breath out everything also, we breath in again, and with each breath we continue to grow and learn of life, self, world, with fear and lessons to grow into love… Thank you for a wonderful read..

Hide full comment.

On Feb 11, 2013 Sharad Gaidhane wrote:
Majority of us are SELFISH which brings FEAR.One needs to be UNSELFISH to become FEARLESS.Difficult but possible...there are FEW around you ....you can be ONE.Try it out please.

On Feb 10, 2013 a wrote:

 Being the queen of fear, I have learned that I need to, again and again, "feel the fear but do (what I fear) it anyway!" If my fear prevents me from "doing" something, I feel horrible.  When I step through it, I win.   I just got off a weekend retreat with 388 women.  Last evening, I was called by name (I was in the audience) by the, on stage, performing musician to do an interpretive dance.  This was unplanned . . . the song was unfamiliar  . . . he simply trusted I could do this "spontaneously".  I crawled under the table, in my mind, as those around me were encouraging me, in and thru the power of the Holy Spirit, to do as I was asked!  ( I had had done two others and they assumed a third would be no big deal for me!  Outside my organized comfort zone, I was paralyzed.  Not doing it, would have meant "me giving in to fear" . . . and not trusting the Giver of my gift. For love of "my broth  See full.

 Being the queen of fear, I have learned that I need to, again and again, "feel the fear but do (what I fear) it anyway!"
If my fear prevents me from "doing" something, I feel horrible.  When I step through it, I win.  
I just got off a weekend retreat with 388 women.  Last evening, I was called by name (I was in the audience) by the, on stage, performing musician to do an interpretive dance.  This was unplanned . . . the song was unfamiliar  . . . he simply trusted I could do this "spontaneously".  I crawled under the table, in my mind, as those around me were encouraging me, in and thru the power of the Holy Spirit, to do as I was asked!  ( I had had done two others and they assumed a third would be no big deal for me!  Outside my organized comfort zone, I was paralyzed.  Not doing it, would have meant "me giving in to fear" . . . and not trusting the Giver of my gift.
For love of "my brother" and in obedience to God, I did it.  I can't say that I, personally, "felt" joy . . . but by the show of tears/reaction of the attending women, there was JOY!
J  esus
O thers
Y ou 
For the joy of it, we have to keep coming out of the closets fear keep us in.

Always LOVE!

     

Hide full comment.

On Feb 10, 2013 Thierry wrote:

I suppose the author does'nt mean by fearlessness that we should dive alongside a great white shark, a feat I would'nt dare to commit, but which spectacularly demonstrates that when one has no fear one does'nt get harmed. Just the same, the fears which are lurking in the waters of our daily consciousness can cripple us as badly as the teeths of a Great White if we let them unattended. Fears, or rather fear of living and ultimately of dying. How to separate one from the other when we are invited to die to the past every moment if we are to experience anything new, if we are to experience freedom to be and to do. How to deal with fear? We may turn to the teachers for guidance but we have to do the work ourselves. The author, it seems, is saying that we must first come to contact with fear, face the feeling itself. Most likely we tend to avoid feeling the feeling itself. Mischievous thought is very good at the game of avoiding to feel. But if we are mindful  See full.

I suppose the author does'nt mean by fearlessness that we should dive alongside a great white shark, a feat I would'nt dare to commit, but which spectacularly demonstrates that when one has no fear one does'nt get harmed. Just the same, the fears which are lurking in the waters of our daily consciousness can cripple us as badly as the teeths of a Great White if we let them unattended.
Fears, or rather fear of living and ultimately of dying. How to separate one from the other when we are invited to die to the past every moment if we are to experience anything new, if we are to experience freedom to be and to do. How to deal with fear? We may turn to the teachers for guidance but we have to do the work ourselves.
The author, it seems, is saying that we must first come to contact with fear, face the feeling itself. Most likely we tend to avoid feeling the feeling itself. Mischievous thought is very good at the game of avoiding to feel. But if we are mindful to stick with the feeling and do not move away from it mentally we may discover that the feeling itself feels like sheer aliveness. Thich Naht Hanh goes further to say that the feeling is to be dearly embraced like one's own child.
 When fear arises, we can watch thought's immediate reaction which is to suppress it or overcome it. Through observing more closely we may come to the realization that thought is both the source of fear and that which gives it a continuity. This is what J. Krishnamurti calls true meditation.

Hide full comment.

On Feb 9, 2013 david doane wrote:

 We "practice inviting all our fears up" by acknowledging them, facing them, exploring them.  I think looking deep into our fears reveals to us that our fears are to a great degree fears of the unknown and fears of what we can't control, and facing them helps us accept and be comfortable with not knowing and with not having control, which is our human condition, and that is worthwhile.  We can paralyze ourselves by our fears, and we free ourselves by accepting the conditions that we fear, mainly not knowing and lacking control.  Fear doesn't have to stop us.  Doing something while afraid is courage.  John Wayne said, "Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway."  Taking action when afraid is a way of reducing the fear and gaining freedom, and that makes for a life that is worthwhile.  A big fear of mine is speaking out in or in front of a group.  I talk to myself about my fears, I've explored and  See full.

 We "practice inviting all our fears up" by acknowledging them, facing them, exploring them.  I think looking deep into our fears reveals to us that our fears are to a great degree fears of the unknown and fears of what we can't control, and facing them helps us accept and be comfortable with not knowing and with not having control, which is our human condition, and that is worthwhile.  We can paralyze ourselves by our fears, and we free ourselves by accepting the conditions that we fear, mainly not knowing and lacking control.  Fear doesn't have to stop us.  Doing something while afraid is courage.  John Wayne said, "Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway."  Taking action when afraid is a way of reducing the fear and gaining freedom, and that makes for a life that is worthwhile.  A big fear of mine is speaking out in or in front of a group.  I talk to myself about my fears, I've explored and addressed  them in various settings, I've pushed myself to speak even though I shake, and the results are mixed, that is, I'm better at it, I'm freer, and it's definitely worthwhile to get said to others what I have to say, but I'm not yet comfortable.  I'll continue to saddle up. 

Hide full comment.

On Feb 8, 2013 Kristin Pedemonti wrote:

 When we name our fears, invite them in, often they become smaller; they become relative and we may gain some perspective. That fear or problem of challenge can be seen more realistically. When we push them aside, as the article states, they do not disappear, they loom larger. This has been true for me in so many aspects of my life. As a Freelance Storyteller & founder of volunteer literacy project, money often becomes a fear (I prefer to call it a challenge) :) When I face it, I realize I always have enough. I've always had a place to live and food to eat (even if it was peanut butter on day old bread) When I fear the task of writing my story rather than simply Telling it; I continue to breathe and to know the task would Not have been given to me if I could not finish it. (needed this reminder today as I have a deadline on Sunday!) Breathing in Peace and loving kindness and exhaling the same is helpful too, thank you Conrad for you thoughts. And thank you awakin Grateful  See full.

 When we name our fears, invite them in, often they become smaller; they become relative and we may gain some perspective. That fear or problem of challenge can be seen more realistically. When we push them aside, as the article states, they do not disappear, they loom larger. This has been true for me in so many aspects of my life. As a Freelance Storyteller & founder of volunteer literacy project, money often becomes a fear (I prefer to call it a challenge) :) When I face it, I realize I always have enough. I've always had a place to live and food to eat (even if it was peanut butter on day old bread) When I fear the task of writing my story rather than simply Telling it; I continue to breathe and to know the task would Not have been given to me if I could not finish it. (needed this reminder today as I have a deadline on Sunday!) Breathing in Peace and loving kindness and exhaling the same is helpful too, thank you Conrad for you thoughts. And thank you awakin Grateful for these reflections.

Hide full comment.

On Feb 8, 2013 Conrad P. Pritscher wrote:
 I will be age 81 in the month.  I now think more of the death and that within several years I will no longer be.  I don't fear death. Right now I anticipate I will miss life but death is inevitable and is okay.  Thich Nhat Hanh's idea of breathing in peace and breathing out a smile has been helpful to me. I don't seem to invite fears but I don't push them away.  I have learned over the last 20 years to know very little and that most fears are illusions. Most of what I think and do seems to me to be unconscious, yet  breathing in peace and exhaling with a smile is often conscious and very worthwhile for me.    Warm and kind regards to everyone