One of the most powerful skillful means one can bring to feelings of fear is skillful *attention.* To bring attention, and even curiosity to feelings of fear, can help us break through our aversion to dealing
with what we fear. The key is developing a curious “what is this?” mind, for fear is never what it seems to me on the surface. And if we go all the way to the roots of our fears, we find nothing *intrinsic* about our fears—that is, in Buddhist terms, fear is “not self” and without our self-identification with fear it *can’t* stick to us, or stick around.
So whether we feel our fear is rational, or irrational, the point is to begin to “own” the fear by consciously embracing it in our thought. (Well, if not embracing it; at least taking an *attentive” peek at it. Maybe even give it a little poke! Take your time. Facing dragons takes courage, for sure!
Just remember that, paradoxically, while fear is, absolutely speaking, “not self,” in terms of the ego and personality, it’s actually *your* fear, *your dragon.* You own *it,* however much it may now seem to own you! And therein is your secret to your power over fear).
So, in the end, it’s our aversion to fear, our avoiding of looking into fear, that gives fear its hypnotic power over us. The more we can
pay mindful attention to fear—which is by the way different than being possessed by fear or obsessed by fear—the more we can begin to
dissolve the tight knot of energy and release what binds us.
Yes, it takes courage, but the if you look deeply, you will find, right in the midst of the fear, the very courage you need to do so. No
one need be a victim of or slave to fear. But as is often the case, the only way out is through. “What is this?” “Is that so?”
piece written by my Buddhist friend, Steven.