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The article below is from the internet, it is very long so I have only copied half and will put the link to the rest if you so desire to read it fully. I found some of what Delores is saying to be interesting, but I believe there is way more to it however, if you all wish we will discuss this tonight.
Here is the Link for the entire article;
My fear and doubts have vanished like mist
into the distance, never to disturb me again.
I will die content and free from regrets.
This is the fruit of Dharma practice.
Milarepa, from ‘Fruit of Dharma Practice’
Fear plays a very important part in our daily life, and in human society as a whole. Fear comes in many shapes and forms, but it could be described as: an unpleasant feeling of perceived risk or danger, real or not. It functions to make us alert and ready for action while expecting specific problems.
As is often said, fear lies at the basis of all religions. At the time humans were gatherers and hunters, little was understood of the world around them, so without understanding the causes for many everyday experiences there is logically existential fear. In search for understanding the world around them, shamans and mystics tried to explain the world with invisible and incomprehensible aspects aspects like spirits, gods, nature itself, the sun and moon etc. which also gave the possibility to do something about ‘the unexpected’ by pleasing the gods and spirits with prayers and rituals. Later on, more advanced ideas and philosophies developed, and of course, organized religions.
Also Buddhism is to an extent based on fear; the fear of suffering. The historical Buddha went out on his spiritual quest when he realized that everybody is subject to discomfort, problems and pain, and with the goal to find a way to end it alltogether he discovered a ‘way out’.
In fact, this is not too different from the main motivation to develop human civilization: we fear discomfort so we store food for more difficult times, we prepare ourselves for dangers like wild animals, or to defend ourselves from other humans. This fear of discomfort and attachement to comfort has driven humans in their development from a type of smart monkey to a creature that has gained control over nearly all other living beings on this planet.
Our most basic fear is the fear of death, which functions to make us alert in dangerous situations, and can thus be a very healthy emotion. But much less dramatic reasons of fear are found everywhere in our daily lives: ‘Did I lock the house?’, ‘Isn’t this food unhealthy?’, ‘Is my health insurance high enough?’, ‘Shouldn’t my daughter be home yet?’. These worries can be based or quite baseless. Problematic types of fear can be when we are afraid of things that do not pose any real threat, like fear of spiders or large spaces. Fear and paranoia, together with attachment, craving and hatred are usually responsible for wars.
In all cases, we could say that fear is a reaction to something that may happen in the future, be it realistic or not, it is always uncomfortable. And here we find one of the contradictions of fear itself: it should work to keep us from discomfort, yet it is uncomfortable itself.
Any happiness there is in the world ultimately turns to pain. Why? Consider the two sides of a coin: just because what we desire is to be seen on the front does not mean that dislike won’t soon appear on the back. Likewise, hope and fear are a single coin, one entity with two faces—on the other side of a moment in which we hope for more happiness will be our fear of more suffering. Until attachment is eliminated, we can be certain of having both hope and fear. As long as there is hope and fear, the delusions of samsara will be perpetuated and there will be constant suffering. Thus attachment is the nature of both hope and fear: looking at the ultimate emptiness of the self-envisioned magical illusion of hope and fear, we should hang loosely in the flow.
From The Great Secret of Mind: Special Instructions on the Nonduality of Dzogchen,
by Tulku Pema Rigtsal
As fear is based on something that we think may happen in the future, it is clearly a mental process which tries to predict the future – in that sense, the reason of fear is a projection of our mind.
We can be afraid to fall, but once we are falling, we are afraid to hit the ground, once we hit the ground, we may fear we have a bad injury, once we know we have a bad injury, we may fear the pain and the consequences of not being able to work for some time or become disabled etc. So one could say that fear is always based on something that has not happened yet, and is therefore a fantasy of our mind rather than fact.
Some people like fear, because in activities like riding a roller-coaster or during bunjee-jumping, we get an adrenaline-rush: a physical reaction to make us alert and ready for action – some people actually get addicted to this natural drug and get into extreme activities. This can easily lead to needing more dangerous situations more often, so they may tend to take ever increasing risks – until the parachute does not open, or the weather changes while climbing a steep, dangerous mountain slope……
Fear is generally a very uncomfortable feeling – Buddhists would call it therefore a form of suffering. We do not like to be afraid, but still, our fear can keep us from harm for example as it makes us hold back when we see a snake or a fast car straight in our direction. So, yes, we need to realize danger and be alert, but once we are alert, we cannot do much more than whatever we think is best in the situation.
If we let our fear take over completely, we can even ‘freeze’ and become completely helpless. Similarly, many of us are afraid for quite irrational things, meaning things that do not really pose any threat to us. For example, fear of spiders, small enclosed spaces or large spaces. Life can become really difficult, simply because illogical projections and delusions are taking over our normal, rational mind and small things can begin to determine our whole life. In that case, we can start to talk about having a phobia.
The process of normal fear turning into phobia is very similar in Buddhist psychology to when anger turns into blind hatred or a liking of chocolate turns into addiction. The difference is in the levels of the fear. Initially, anger or fear may have a useful function in life (to protect ourselves from suffering), but they are both based on mental projections. When these projections grow into something like phobia, it only means that the mind is strongly exaggerating the situation. For whatever reason, our mind gets out of control, and it turns a spider into a monster or the height of a chair into a ravine. So the remedy to phobia cannot really lie in taking medicines, but must be to habituate our mind back to ‘normal’ reactions.
Therapies for irrational fears work on the same basic principle: discover by experience that the feeling of fear (paranoia) is an exaggeration of what we perceive in the world, and force our rational mind to keep in control of the emotion. So, if you are afraid of spiders, perhaps the cure starts with simply drawing them, then looking at a small one – far away locked in a safe place – then forcing yourself to go closer (the rational mind says that nothing can happen), in the end, usually the patients will regain so much control that can even hold a poisonous, hairy, huge tarantula in their hands – obviously the end of therapy! This is not because they are exceptionally brave people, but they have gradually learned to take control over their exaggerated emotions, by realizing these emotions were not based on a real danger.
In extreme cases, people can be much harder to treat. Specifically when the reason for the fear is vague and hardly known, like imagining that you are being followed (paranoia), it is not always straight-forward or simple to make people realize that these fears are unfounded and the rational mind should take control.
Many types of fear/phobia are identified, I found some in a web blog recently:
Acrophobia: Fear of heights
Arachnophobia: fear of spiders
Agoraphobia: fear of open spaces
Belonephobia: fear of needles
Brontophobia: fear of thunder and lightning
Claustrophobia: fear of confined spaces
Hamartophobia: fear of sinning
Suriphobia: fear of mice and/or rats
Necrophobia: fear of death
Pentheraphobia: fear of the mother-in-law
Thalassophobia: fear of the sea
Xenophobia: fear of strangers or foreigners
Also some fears may be more common than generally thought:
Athazagoraphobia – fear of being forgotten, ignored or forgetting
Atychiphobia, Kakorrhaphiophobia – fear of failure
Metathesiophobia – fear of changes
Yes, I was quite scared of heights when I was young. I knew it was unrealistic: “the building will not suddenly collapse when I come near the edge of the balcony, but I just don’t want to go there: every step closer to the edge scares me more”. It proved absolutely awful in something like a church tower: already the feeling on these endless spiral staircases gave a feeling of, “if I would fall now, I couldn’t stop falling”. At a certain moment, all realism completely disappeared, when I even got scared of towers when I was standing in the street, just looking up at them!
To someone who does not have this fear of heights this probably sounds absurd: and that is correct – it is an absurd way of thinking! And that is exactly the problem. The fear became bigger and bigger, until there was fear even without the possibility of falling.
The end of my exaggerated fear of heights I owe to my big brother; during a holiday he told me in no uncertain terms that I was behaving like a silly little baby if I would not dare to go on small tower on top of a pier in the sea. The pier was made of wood, and perhaps some 6 meters above the sea. He said, “now look, you dare to walk here, but already you are 6 meters above the sea – why don’t you have problems here?” He was right – somehow I considered the pier as ‘ground’, so there was no fear of heights. Then he said, “look, the tower is only twice as high as the pier, if you manage to get on top there, you are a real man, and not a silly baby” – hard to argue against if you are about 10 years old…. So I walked up the stairs to the top with a heavy heart. Every few steps he said, “look down at the waves, see, you are hardly higher now”. At the top, he told me to look over the railing, saying, “even if you fall off, you’ll only fall in the water, and you can swim, so there is no problem even then”. For me it worked, and from then on, I forced myself to ignore the strange feelings in my stomach while standing in a high place. All I have left now, is a healthy feeling of apprehension if I stand near a dangerous precipice or so, which is good: I should be careful in such a situation if I don’t want to get killed.
Much later, I realised that most therapies against phobia work in a similar way, if you are scared of spiders, you are shown some photos and are asked to draw images of spiders, next you can gradually approach a spider in a terrarium, watch videos about spiders, and, lo and behold, after some time, most people manage to survive a big, hairy spider in their hand.
How does this work? Simply by rational thinking, calm and habituation – all important aspects of a complete meditation practice.
An excerpt of a forum message from Susie, which I discovered on Children’s Past Lives:
“Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. And, the only way to get through fear is to face it head on.
I also used to have a tremendous fear of both water and needles. I was 30 when I took swimming lessons, and learning to have the control in the water helped me to get rid of my fear of drowing (thus, my real fear was not of water but of drowning). I got rid of my fear of needles by simply breathing deeply when a medical or dental situation arose where needles were needed. I started off telling medical personnel I was afraid of needles, then they would be very gentle. Now, a needle is a needle is a needle…”
And from Kelly in the same discussion:
“Most fears and phobias can all be bought back to the same thing – a fear of not having control of a situation or aspect of self…the phobia then becomes a product of that fear, as we concentrate and focus all our energy on that one thing (or on many things in some cases).”
Tí orí kan bá sunwọ̀n á ran’gba. /
If one head is blessed, it will positively impact two hundred others…..Yoruba Proverb!
[Success is contagious]
All religions are valid as long as it teaches peace and love…..Obara Meji!
There are no disappointments in life, only lessons learned…..Obara Meji