Living with our fears

File:Hands old and small.jpeg

A quote from the –  always thought-provoking – teaching of Thich Nhat Hanh,  who is in hospital having suffered a brain hemorrhage a few days ago,  in response to the request from his community for our thoughts and support. It suggests a way of working with whatever frightens us – illness, not knowing, demands in work and life that seem too challenging, our own sense of not being good enough:

The first part of looking at our fear is just inviting it into our awareness without judgment. We just acknowledge gently that it is there. This brings a lot of relief already. Then, once our fear has calmed down, we can embrace it tenderly and look deeply into its roots, its sources. Understanding the origins of our anxieties and fears will help us let go of them. Is our fear coming from something that is happening right now or is it an old fear, a fear from when we were small that we’ve kept inside? When we practice inviting all our fears up, we become aware that we are still alive, that we still have many things to treasure and enjoy. If we are not pushing down and managing our fear, we can enjoy the sunshine, the fog, the air, and the water. If you can look deep into your fear and have a clear vision of it, then you really can live a life that is worthwhile.

photo oyvind holmstad


2 thoughts on “Living with our fears

  1. Oh this is so sad Karl; I have set great store by his words ever since my diagnosis three years ago. But of course his words will live forever. I wonder if there is hope of recovery.

    I am now zooming straight into thoughts that say I want him to go on for ever, something I am sure would make him smile and say “Have you been listening to me at all?!!” 😊

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