FULL MOON – Feel Fear, Fully

Published Tuesday, 23 April 2024

Whoever has cut all that tethers
and found fearlessness,
who is beyond attachments
and defilements,
I recognise as a great being.

Dhammapada v. 397
The idea of fearlessness is indeed attractive. How might we realise it? An initial approach could be to try avoiding anything we find frightening. Though it doesn't take a lot of insight to see avoidance strategies as unrealistic. Or, we could make the effort to wilfully repress feelings of fear. Such an approach is understandable in the case of children who don't yet have the faculties to reflect upon the consequences of denial. As adults, hopefully, we have learnt that when energy is denied, sooner or later it comes back to trip us up. If we follow the Buddha's advice, we will exercise our spiritual faculties – faith, energy, embodied mindfulness, collectedness, discernment – so as to be able to fully feel the feeling of fear: neither denying it nor indulging in it. With great patience, we keep training ourselves to truly meet fear, as it arises, in open-hearted awareness, because we are interested in knowing it accurately.

(This post is also available to view at dhammakatha.org)

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