The best way to deal with fear is to understand it. Go to its root. When you get to the bottom of what’s causing you fear, you will be free from it! Important – fear cannot be mastered or conquered. Only understanding it deeply can set you free.
We are all scared of different things – of joblessness, of losing someone we love, of losing money or health, of losing the assets that we have built up, and, of course, of death! Each of those fears connects back to a desire – to be employed, to possess someone, to keep having money, to prevent the biological ageing process, to cling on to what we believe is ours and to not die.
Now examine each of those desires and understand how irrelevant they are in the end. Consider this perspective: Why is it important to be employed? Why is it important to earn money? Do they really matter in the larger scheme of Life when ultimately you have to die leaving behind all your experience, all that you have created or acquired in this lifetime, and all your money?
The truth is also that as long as you fear something you cannot enjoy it. Your job is seeming monotonous because you are insecure in it. You are unable to enjoy the money you have because all the time you fear that you will lose it. You are not enjoying Life because you are consumed by fears of death. The Buddha taught that fear is a manifestation of a subconscious resistance to the impermanent nature of our human existence. When we accept that our entire Life, as we know it, is transient, we will be free from fear.
Here is a Zen story that illustrates this point. A fierce and terrifying band of Samurai was riding through the countryside, creating fear and causing harm wherever they went. As they were approaching one particular town, all the monks in the town’s monastery fled, except for the Abbot. When the band of warriors entered the monastery, they found the Abbot sitting calmly, in a perfect, meditative posture. The leader of the Samurai band took out his sword and said, “Don’t you know who I am? Don’t you know that I’m the sort of person who could run through you with my sword without batting an eye?” The Abbot, a Zen Master himself, responded, “And I, Sir, am the sort of man who could be run through by a sword without batting an eye.”
You may like to say that the Abbot displayed a rare courage – fearlessness. But, in reality, he may well have been fearful within. Yet his fear did not surface because he did not mind the outcome of the Samurai’s rage if it came to it! Courage and fearlessness are not the absence of__or denial of the presence of__fear. They come when you develop an intimacy with fear, when you look fear in the eye and face up to it! When you do this, you are actually telling yourself – “What are you afraid of? After all, everything has to be over with one day. So let me let go!”
When you let go, this way, you also let fear go. And you start living – free from fear!