"There is no
terror in a bang,
the anticipation of it."
– Alfred Hitchcock
"In the Nineteenth
men lost their fear of God
a fear of microbes."
Talk about it:
Fear is something we are all familiar with. On the one hand, this aspect of life is intimately known to all of us . . . but on the other hand, it is actually something we really understand very little about.
So we, your daring and fearless (well, hopefully, soon-to-be fearless) LiveReal Editors have jumped headfirst into this perilous adventure, and are still busily seeking out some of the best perspectives on fear that we can find, and gathering them here.
So we present this thing called "fear" as something to be understood, and conquered (although it's not really "conquered," but made to disappear . . . but we're getting ahead of ourselves). Anyway, as the saying goes, "You can master fear, or fear can master you."
So if you have the courage to proceed . . .No Fear
"Running over the same old ground . . .
what have we found?
The same old fears.
Wish you were here."
- Pink Floyd
Fear is something we are all familiar with, but most of us don't have the habit of thinking of it as a "problem." A bear chases us, we are afraid of it, we run away from the bear. What's the problem?
The problem is that we rarely get chased by real bears anymore, because they're all locked up in cages behind bars. But fear itself is definitely still around.
We often experience much more than short and useful bouts of fear when we're in immediate danger. More often, we expereience fear when there is no immediate danger present, but only the potential threat of some event looming ahead in the future, so we are afraid of what might happen in the future.
So, this fear can more closely resemble something like anxiety or stress, or can become a quality of our character or personality (as in, becoming a "fearful" person). This "temporary emotion" can become something we carry on and on . . . and on and on . . . year after year, as a chronic condition.
There are millions, billions of different things that we can potentially be afraid of: we can be afraid of spiders and dogs, our boss or our coworker, other people in general, loneliness, death, life, not getting married, getting married to the wrong person, getting divorced, not getting divorced, public speaking, and on and on . . . but the common factors underlying all of these different objects is our fear of them.
What is this? What causes it, and what can we do about it?
"When you suffer an attack of nerves
you'r being attacked by the nervous system.
What chance has a man got against a system?"
- Russell Hoban
This is what we,
your valiant LiveReal Agents
- with your help - intend to explore . . .
Talk about it:
"I've lived my life in fear!"
- from the film Strictly Ballroom
Rooting out fear from our Character
One perspective on fear is that of simply observing ourselves, questioning ourselves, spotting little acts and impulses of fear, becoming aware of them, and learning to understand and then control them in the process. For example, when a person says something like, "I realize I've been acting out of fear for a long time . . ." This it can be a matter of . . .
Fear is not something to be avoided; we all experience it and will continue to. The most important part, however, is to still be able to do what needs to be done, in spite of it. "Feel the fear but do it anyway."
"I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life,
and I've never let it keep me
from doing a single thing I wanted to do."
- Georgia O'Keefe
"When a Medal of Honor winner
was being praised for being fearless,
he laughed and said,
"I was always afraid.
I simply learned that I could not let fear keep me from doing my job."
Fear as a by-product of "Attachments"
One perspective describes fear as a natural by-product of being overly "attached" to something, whether it be an object, habit, substance, belief system, or person. - or in other words, searching for "IT" in all the wrong places, or, searching for something perfect in the imperfect or something permanent in the impermanent. The "cure," then, is to become "free," in a way, of these attachments, which is described here as "renunciation."
"In enjoyment lies the fear of disease;
in social status, the fear of loss;
in wealth, the fear of the king;
in honor, the fear of humiliation;
in strength, the fear of the opponent;
in beauty, the fear of old age;
in erudition, the fear of the disputant;
in virtue, the fear of the seducer;
in the body, the fear of death.
All the things of this world, pertaining to a person,
are attended with fear.
Renunciation alone grants a person fearlessness."
- Bartrihari, Indian Poet, <651 A.D.
This type of renunciation does not necessarily always mean a physical act of "doing without," rather, it is more a process of discovering your real "identity," typically through meditation.
An Antidote to Fear, "Love"
Another popular perspective is the relation between fear and "love." When a person has real love (this means NOT the phony kind) (which leads to "attachments" as noted above), then fear vanishes, as a fog melts away when the sun shines.
"There is no fear is love;
but perfect love casteth out fear;
because fear hath torment.
He that feareth is not made perfect in love."
- I John 4:18
The Hierarchy of Fears:
Branches and The Root
Imagine a tree, a tree that symbolizes all the possible fears we can experience.
On the branches - Specific fears; for example, "social phobia," fear of falling, fear of spiders, fear of your house burning down, fear of being too cold at the ball game, fear of letting the heat out or losing electricity, fear of elevators, water, fear of x, y, etc etc etc.
On lower branches - Deeper fears; fear of not being loved, fear of humiliation/rejection, fear of expressing anger (emotional knots), fear of physical violence, fear of wasting one's life, etc.
Trunk - Fear of death, fear of "not-existing."
"What the unenlightened individual fears most
is to lose his or her ego-identity.
When renunciation is radically true, the sense of self is abandoned altogether
with all the countless objects of the cosmos."
- Georg Feuerstein
". . . This realm provides us with a style of confusion,
a way of entertaining and occupying ourselves
so as not to have to face our fundamental uncertainty,
our ultimate fear that we may not exist."
- Chogyam Trungpa Rimpoche
Many traditions such as Zen and others see the "root" of fear, as mentioned above, as the fear of "death," or in other words, fear that "we (as individuals) may not exist" the way we normally think we do.
These traditions - which many spiritual teachers teach - then consist of confronting that fear, once and for all, instead of avoiding it. Once this primal fear has been faced, all the by-products (such as the petty fears which stem from it) are eliminated as well. This is the goal of a great deal of authentic spiritual work.
"After a man sees the naked face of death,
there is no more fear."
- Haridas Chaudhuri
"Fearlessness comes in only one situation,
which is when one comes to understand from within
that there is something in him
that never dies."
Giants on Fear
Fear by Jiddu
Fear by Omraam MikhaŰl
Fear by Chogyam Trungpa
Fear by Sri
Fear by Swami
Fear by Eckhart Tolle
and of course, it's always one thing to understand this intellectually
. . . quite another to practice it in real life . . .
. . it's not just a web site, it's a way of life . . .
What do you think?
Talk about it.
"Fear is an instructor
of great sagacity."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"If a man finds the
truth in the morning,
he is not afraid to die in the evening."