How should we overcome fear?
What is fear?
When we are doubtful about our capability in handling a situation or challenge, we fear. When we suspect that things might go south, we fear. When we are focused on all the ways in which something might go wrong, we fear. When we think of losing something or someone very dear to us, we fear. When we do not know, we fear.
When I do a root cause analysis of fear, I always come to one conclusion, we are afraid of the unknown. Why are we so much afraid of death? Perhaps because we do not know about what lies after that.
Fear is a manifestation of our own insecurities and insufficiencies, it is a manifestation of our not knowing.
The greatest calamity
We have many violent problems in the world today. Wars, proxy wars, social crimes et. all. There is not a single country on the entire planet that is not struggling with if not many then certainly some of these. The humanity in general is bruised and weary, not always physically.
But the greatest calamity I think, is not all the war and violence in the world. The greatest calamity is increasingly unhappy men and women wasting away their lives in fear.
How do we fix that?
Mostly I conduct workshops and retreats for Pranayama & Meditation or teach in Yoga Alliance recognized 200 Hours Yoga Teacher Training Certification Programs which are aimed at adults. After coming back from a Yoga Retreat for International Students in Rishikesh, I was requested to do some special meditation classes for very young students. It is always a very refreshing experience to be around children. They are so open to newer experiences and learning, it is very fulfilling to teach them.
If you ask me what is the best education I can give to my pupil I would say it is to make them believe in the greatly enabling powers of acceptance and faith.
About Acceptance and Faith
Acceptance is sometimes underrated and mostly considered a sign of the weak. Why is acceptance so important? It is an irony that we teach our children the importance of victory, effort, struggle, fight, but we do not teach them graceful acceptance. Faith is generally misunderstood and over-rated. It is not believing in a religious doctrine or in extreme cases expecting magic & miracles. It is an inner voice, that whispers silently and says ‘there must be a reason….’, or ‘try again tomorrow….’ or ‘don’t worry, it will happen….’.
Faith goes one step beyond hope.
We must understand that acceptance without faith is defeat. Defeat produces broken and hopeless individuals. Whereas acceptance with faith, faith that whatever has happened has happened for a cause that something worthwhile will come out of it, it will protect the individual from breaking apart or collapsing within.
So, I teach my pupils acceptance, I teach them faith.
How will Acceptance and Faith help overcome fear?
Fear is nonacceptance of the undesirable reality whereas acceptance is being at home with that which is real although it may be undesirable. On the other hand, faith is knowing at your instinctive level that all that is, is so for a reason, something good must come from it. So, when we accept the reality with a sense of understanding and positivism, there remains no room for fear. When you accept the truth, no matter how much uncomfortable or undesirable or painful it is, you become brave. And when you accept gracefully even the ugliest of reality, where remains the room for fear then?
In the very revered verse from Rigveda, the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra, we have a powerful mantra that when chanted helps remove fear (of the unknown).
ॐ त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम् उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान् मृत्योर्मुक्षीय मामृतात् ॥
Om Try-Ambakam Yajaamahe Sugandhim Pusstti-Vardhanam
Urvaarukam-Iva Bandhanaan Mrtyor-Mukssiiya Maa-[A]mrtaat ||
We can understand this in many ways. Literally translated, it means “Om, we worship the three-eyed one (Rudra), who is Fragrant (with Spiritual Essence) and who Nourishes all beings. May he severe our bondage of samsara (the worldly life), like a cucumber (severed from the bondage of its creeper), and thus liberate us from the fear of death, by making us realize that we are never separated from our immortal nature.”
My interpretation is the primary fear in the world is fear of Death. Overcoming that fear is liberation. I bow to Lord Shiva (he is referred to as Rudra in the Vedic literature) whose inner (third) eye of wisdom is awakened and whose spiritual essence is uplifting and nourishing for my soul. He will take me away from the fear of death and in doing so grant me liberation from my worldly limitations.
I must also mention for Mantras work with sound. Chanting of the mantras creates such sound waves which heal and elevate us. Hence, irrespective of how you understand the mantra, the mere chanting of it brings positive results. The power of the mantras is the underlying basis of my Mantra Chanting and Meditation Workshops. We will talk about Mantras in forthcoming blogs.
For now accept, have faith and chant away your way to fearlessness.
Om Tat Sat !!!
Love and Light,
Manohar for Spiritual Punditz