2020-07-01: Fear (3 of 4) Friendly with Fear and What is Fearless
2:57PM Jul 1, 2020
So this morning is the third discussion about fear. And I don't feel like I'm an expert on fear. But I am a great proponent of the willingness to be present for it, the willingness to study it to be with it. And partly with the idea that our fear needs us. That fear is an indication that something is valuable to pay attention to. And you know, and you know, it's one of the important functions of fear is to protect us and the desire for protection and the instinct for it is a very important part of human life and, and some of that desire to Protect is healthy and important and some of it maybe doesn't serve us and actually even can be harmful for us. And, and so to be able to stop and take a look at fear, maybe the bumper sticker for this week is I stopped for fear. I stopped and really kind of take a deep look at it and see what's here. And there are times in my life when it's been appropriate to be afraid, in physical situations where danger was there. And I learned that fear was my friend I friend, friend fear was there to protect me in this situation and, and I learned to keep the fear present or allow it to be there. Kind of like it was over my right shoulder or something. And it accompanied me, but I didn't let it limit myself. I did what I had to Do but I saw that as my companion as my guide as my support for finding my way and to be more a little more cautious than I normally would be. And the fear was a good thing. Other times I've been fearful, anxious in my life, and it didn't serve me it limited me and contracted me and shut me off from myself and my life around me. So this idea of stopping to look and really what's happening here, and to do it with friendliness, to do it, so that in the looking at ourselves, what's inside doesn't have to be afraid of us. So they're looking then it's important that we find a way to look and be present. That is not harsh or critical or demeaning or shame making or, or, you know, it's kind of unfriendly to what's going on. Whatever fear we have inside, really does well, with a friendly attitude. Now that's how it is. That's how it is. And then we beginning to find our way with it. And this is yesterday I talked about how important it is to study our relationship to fear. So independent of what we're afraid of, or the fear itself, there's a second layer that goes on, that can be understood as the second arrow or the third arrow that we add on top of our experience. And that's not really the experience itself. And so the fear of fear or the shame of fear or the recoiling from fear, or the automatic believing of fear or the falling into fear. These are all secondary relationships, reactions we have and to sometimes it's really useful to step back and look at the secondary And see how we are, and have known people for whom it was impossible for them to touch or get even close to their fear. But they could hang out with the fear or the fear or the resistance to the fear or the walls that came up around their fear. It was safe enough to be with the relationship. And once they kind of saw that, and maybe that quieted down, then it turns out, they were ready to be with the fear and to feel it. So, the relationship with fear as a relationship to fear becomes simpler, more in a certain way, accepting or allowing a certain way, a friendly willingness to be there without a lot of reactivity. Then an interesting
thing to explore further, is not so much the fear itself. But what is it that's being threatened? What is it that we're Fear is protecting What is it that's threatened inside of us? And, and that can reveal all kinds of interesting things. Because it's that deeper layer of what is it we think is being threatened. That reveals sometimes whether it's a healthy fear or unhelpful, helpful or unhelpful or wholesome or unwholesome kind of fear. And so, the idea of so for example, there was a time in my life, where I having social anxiety, plenty of it. And at some point, I realized that you know, I was afraid I was nervous, but I was afraid of something particular. I was afraid of being rejected by people not being being disliked by people being excluded. And so that what was it deeper inside of there? That was that was threatened. By that possibility, and I felt deeper inside a kind of insecurity, a kind of emptiness or kind of tenderness that was deeper than that, that was easily to be that was threatened. And then I learned that I could take care of that part of me in a different way. I could meditation helped a lot for me, because I started to learn to settle and relax deeply and soften into this place of tenderness, this place where that felt like it could be threatened and discovered, eventually that if I relaxed and settled and open, it was not threaten the ball. It couldn't be threatened. And and that was kind of counterintuitive to what I had imagined or felt or before that, and this idea that so you recognize what is it that's threaten the bone in physical situations of danger, it's maybe my life for my well being That. And you know that well, that's maybe wise. Let's be careful now. But if it's if what's being threatened is my self definition how I want to project myself in the world. I was very surprised when I first year as a Buddhist practice how much I was trying to talk in ways or be with people, so they would see me in a certain way. And it wasn't so much that I was attached to an identity so much as i was attached to the identity I wanted other people to have for me. And, and so I did this, you know, social gymnastics to try to get people to see me the way I want it to be seen. And that's kind of a headache. You know, it was got pretty, you know, through meditation, I could see how tiring that was and counterproductive it was and More important, I got to see that there was a place that inside that's not threatened. And, and I love it that the word integrity apparently in Latin means can't be touched. I don't know if that's true, but like, tangible integrity apparently has that kind of route. And whether it's true or not the idea there's someplace inside of us. That's so complete, so free, that it can't be touched in any threatening way for what's around us. Certainly, we can get injured. Certainly all kinds of things can disappoint us. But to have a home inside that's not threaten the ball that we carry with us that it's maybe a little bit like an empty space that things just go right through. But it's rich and valuable, nourishing place inside. So to turn around and look and see what Is it that's being threatened here? And then question it, is this a useful and important thing to protect? Or is this not really such a wise thing to protect this is this is really comes from some someplace that you know doesn't really represent the best in me or represent what's most useful or supportive or even what is most true so if it's you know, protect my story protect the idea that I'm right protect the idea that I'm powerful and I could have control over other people and that I'm you know, the idea but
is that really useful? That's something to protect. Is that really as or if you feel like it is to be protected, like have power or status? Chances are, we haven't dug deep enough we haven't relaxed and settled deep enough to really see what's what is it that's not breathable and And that is kind of like the big question kind of the CO on are the reference point for in practice, when you really learn to be with fear and sometimes it takes years to learn to be within a simple way, a kind way, a supportive way. Then you can ask yourself the question, what is what feels threatened here? And then keep asking it and below that, that in it, what is it that feels threatened what's threatened here, until perhaps, you can settle and relax and be friendly and kind of a kindness to what, what is here that you will discover in the quiet and stillness of your mind or your heart. That there is a place there is a there is a place or maybe it's an absence of place, there is a freedom there is a good breathing room there is a clarity. I like the word freedom that is not threatened by anything. And then there's a basis. Then there's a foundation for friendliness that can be unconditional, or friendliness, that just be with what he is here even what's difficult even with difficult people to be friendly. Maybe sometimes, from a distance, sometimes close in, but to know how to take care of ourselves in this place, that we're at home and deep inside, where we're free. So So that's my thoughts for today. And I hope that gives you something to explore for yourself. And I think my, my wish for these talks that I'm giving these morning's on fear is not to tell you how it is with fear and apologize if that's the way language works for something teachers work, but really to give you a material to really question and look at yourself and explore this topic, this wonderful topic of fear. It's such a huge part of life. And I'm convinced that if you're able to really turn around and become kind of an expert of your own fear and recognize the ins and outs of it, that'll also be a gift for others. I believe that if you really get a good understanding and wisdom around your fear, you're not just doing it for yourself. You're doing it for this whole world. It's valuable for all of us to become wiser. This important part of human life. So thank you very much. And tomorrow after the 745 after our short talk, we can switch over to zoom like we did last time. And if you have any those who want to stay, can ask questions and not try to answer and, and the zoom link will be on the IMC calendar which went down yesterday because of Google. And, and so it'll be an IMC calendar also in the What's New section section of the homepage and, and also I'll put it in the chat box for YouTube as well. So I'll say all that tomorrow, too. So thank you.