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“In order to experience fearlessness, it is necessary to experience fear. The essence of cowardice is…
June 7th, 2013

illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)

"In order to experience fearlessness, it is necessary to experience fear. The essence of cowardice is not acknowledging the reality of fear. Fear can take many forms. We know that we are going to die, so we are afraid. We are petrified of our death. On another level, we are afraid that we can't handle the demands of the world. This fear expresses itself as a feeling of inadequacy. We feel that our own lives are overwhelming, and confronting the rest of the world is more overwhelming. Then there is abrupt fear, or panic, that arises when new situations occur suddenly in our lives. When we feel that we can't handle them, we jump or twitch. Sometimes fear manifests in the form of restlessness: doodles on a note pad, playing with our fingers, or fidgeting in our chairs. We feel that we have to keep ourselves moving all the time, like an engine running in a motor car. The pistons go up and down, up and down. As long as the pistons keep moving, we feel safe. Otherwise, we are afraid we might die on the spot.

"There are innumerable strategies that we use to take our minds off the fear. Some people take tranquilizers. Some people do yoga. Some people watch television or read a magazine or go to a bar to have a beer. From the coward's point of view, boredom should be avoided, because when we are bored we begin to feel anxious. We are getting closer to our fear. Entertainment should be promoted and any thought of death should be avoided. So cowardice is trying to live our lives as though death were unknown. There have been periods in history in which many people searched for a potion of longevity. If there were such a thing, most people would find it quite horrific. If they had to live in this world for a thousand years without dying, long before they got to their thousandth birthday, they would probably commit suicide. Even if you could live forever, you would be unable to avoid the reality of death and suffering around you.

"Fear has to be acknowledged. We have to realise our fear and reconcile ourselves with fear. (…) We must face the fact that fear is lurking in our lives, always, in everything we do.

"(…) True fearlessness is not the reduction of fear, but going beyond fear."
— Chögyam Trungpa, "Shambhala: the sacred path of the warrior"

Fearlessness is freedom from fear, i.e. not letting fear decide your life for you.
When you stop hoping for the absence of fear, and you finally come to term that freedom is not based on absence but relies on non-clinging (i.e. when you realise "unmovable wisdom" is found in not providing to 'fear' the necessary anchor-points to move your mind), you can start applying fearlessness here and now rather than forever hoping for a greener pasture, a better environment for your growth…

This insight might stop you in your track, or touch a soft spot; it can also make you more aware of suffering, without providing  much answer for a while
( ). But it later allows you to become the fearless 'warrior' the world needs ( ). So, face the fear! Don't hope it will ever go away! Simply don't let it choose your life for you any longer: that is 'freedom'!

#Buddhism   #Shambhala
image: © Qing Han / /