How to overcome fear

Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. But the teacher said she had to do it and gave her the instructions for the battle. The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. They both had their weapons. The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?” Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.” Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?” Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.” In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear.

Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

A fresh way of seeing things

Starting over, being open to all possibilities, not being bound by our familiar conclusions:

To observe anything –  your mind must be free of any conclusion, any previous knowledge, otherwise you cannot possibly see ‘what is’. Isn’t that so? If I want to learn about you  I must observe. I must observe, listen and not come to any conclusion. Conclusion is the image which divides you and me. So to observe, there must be no image, no conclusion, no formula. And in that lies our difficulty, because we live according to formulas, a formula set by another or a conclusion which we have come to according to our conditioning and experience. So can the mind be free of every conclusion, because a conclusion is in the field of time which is the past? You can’t conclude something about the future. You can conclude about the future according to your past conditioning, therefore your conclusion is always based on the past – past knowledge, past experience… various forms of knowledge.

So can the mind, to investigate something which is not of time, be free of conflict so that it can observe completely? This has been the enquiry of man right through the centuries: how is the mind to be so quiet, so still, without any distorting factor in it, so that it is capable of perception without any distortion?

J. Krisnamurti, Fourth Public Talk in New York  7 May 1972

Moving and not moving

Please clearly understand that when the mind is still, it’s in its natural, normal state.

As soon as the mind moves, it becomes conditioned (sankhāra). When the mind likes something, it becomes conditioned. When not-liking arises, it becomes conditioned. The desire to move here and there arises from conditioning.

If our awareness doesn’t keep pace with these mental proliferations as they occur, the mind will chase after them and be conditioned by them. Whenever the mind moves, at that moment, it becomes a conventional reality.

So the Buddha taught us to contemplate these wavering conditions of the mind.

Ajahn Chah

Stop fighting with your life

To listen to the soul is to stop fighting with life – to stop fighting when things fall apart, when they don’t go our way, when we get sick, when we are betrayed or mistreated or misunderstood. To listen to the soul is to slow down, to feel deeply, to see ourselves clearly, to surrender to discomfort and uncertainty, and to wait.

Elizabeth Lesser, Broken Open

Sunday Quote: Even in times of difficulty, keep planting

Faith is hope in the unseen. Often we cannot see the results of the efforts we are putting in …

Even if the Hour of Resurrection comes up,

and one of you is holding a sapling in your hand….

 finish planting it.

The Prophet Mohammed

Mindful of just one cup of tea

Just look around you and you will see that the world never ceases to churn out more and more of the same thing, and that the result is unremitting pain and unbearable suffering. It’s no surprise, then, that the masters have pointed out, that to maintain mindfulness for as long as it takes to drink a cup of tea accumulates more merit than years of practicing generosity, discipline, and asceticism.

         Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse