What is Fear and How To Overcome Fear?

Fear is probably the most crippling emotion. Is there a way to overcome it and stop living in fear? Sadhguru tells us how.

What is fear and why is it such a crippling emotion? Here's a life-transforming article from yogi and mystic Sadhguru, where he looks at how to overcome fear and experience life fully.

Read in Hindi: डर क्या है, कैसे बचें?

Sadhguru: Fear is simply because you are not living with life, you are living in your mind. Your fear is always about what’s going to happen next. That means your fear is always about that which does not exist. If your fear is about the non-existent, your fear is hundred percent imaginary. If you are suffering the non-existential, we call that insanity. So, people may be in just socially accepted levels of insanity, but if you’re afraid or if you’re suffering anything which does not exist, it amounts to insanity, isn’t it?

People are always suffering either what happened yesterday or what may happen tomorrow. So your suffering is always about that which does not exist, simply because you’re not rooted in reality, you’re always rooted in your mind. Mind is – one part of it is memory, another part of it is imagination. Both of them are in one way imagination, because both of them don’t exist right now. You’re lost in your imagination, that’s the basis of your fear. If you were rooted in reality, there would be no fear.

What fear does is it puts boundaries around you. It is because of fear that you build boundaries all the time. If you put boundaries and restrict the area of your life, you may be safe but the problem is you are safe even from life. You are protected from life itself. That’s real protection!

The Hallucinatory Mind

You must decide whether you have come here to experience life or to avoid life. If you have come to experience life, one thing that is needed is intensity. If you do not have intensity you will experience a meager life. The moment you use fear as a tool to protect yourself, your intensity will go down. Once it goes down, your ability to experience life is gone. You become a psychological case. What happens in your mind is all there will be. You will never experience anything fantastic and ecstatic because when you are fearful, you will not have a sense of abandon. You can't sing, you can't dance, you can't laugh, you can't cry, you can't do anything that is life. You can only sit here and grieve about life and all the risks of life.

If you look at it carefully, what is fear about? Your fear is never about what has happened. It is always about what may happen. It is always about the future. The future is yet to happen. It has not yet happened. That means, it is not in existence. So, being fearful means you are suffering that which does not exist. If you suffer that which does not exist, should we call you sane or insane? Your only comfort is “everybody is like me.” You have the majority with you! But that still doesn’t make it right because you are suffering that which does not exist.

How to Overcome Fear

Fear is not a product of life. Fear is a product of a hallucinatory mind. You suffer that which does not exist because you are rooted not in reality but in your mind which is constantly eating up on the past and excreting into the future. You don’t actually know anything about future. You just take a piece of the past, apply make-up on it and think it is future.

At the most you will die, nothing more. At least live before you die because anyway you will die.

You can plan your tomorrow but you cannot live in your tomorrow. But right now people are living in tomorrow and that is why there is fear. The only thing you can do about this is, come down to reality. If you just respond to what is there right now and not imagine something that does not exist, there is no room for fear. Once the hallucination is gone, where is fear? You will not imagine something that does not exist, you will respond to what exists right now.

Please look at it and see, what the hell can happen after all? At the most you will die, nothing more. At least live before you die because anyway you will die. We are not wishing it upon ourselves. We are planning to live for many years, but it can happen, isn't it? There is really no security with life. It is just a question of how gracefully and with how much freedom you lived this life. If you have lived, it will be worth dying. Otherwise life will be a regret, death will be a regret.

Editor’s Note: Isha Kriya is a free, 12-minute guided meditation that can align the body and mind with your vision for life. Daily practice of this simple yet potent process brings health and wellbeing.

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6 years 1 month ago

Subhash, you will die any way one day , whats the point of fearing :).I used to be like you full of fear especially death..then I started the kriyas..

5 years 3 months ago

my fear is that if im by my self i hare sound's wen i go to like there's nothing there and my fear is can't be bye myself

6 years 10 months ago

Today is the Tomorrow we feared about yesterday. And the dragon is missing ! The last line of Sadhgurus article explains everything so beautifully. Living and dying in regret is not a good thing at all. There is only one thing to fear and that is fear itself.

6 years 1 month ago

...there is no death just transformation of energy

6 years 10 months ago

simple and very meaningful.. Thank you Sadhguru.

4 years 11 months ago

Excellent! What a profound statement!!

"There is really no security with life. It is just a question of how gracefully and with how much freedom you lived this life. If you have lived, it will be worth dying. Otherwise life will be a regret, death will be a regret."

If we live in the present moment, then we are free. If we are identified with past and future then we are trapped in psychological time.

6 years 10 months ago

Your comments have no purpose.

6 years 1 month ago

Thanks Sadghuru, u answered onevof the questions that I threw for the univerese, and here's the reply now :)

6 years 10 months ago

Thank you so much

4 years 6 months ago

I have Social Anxiety so its normal for me to be in constant anxiety or fear. I guess its wired in our brains so its not easy to shake if off.
I'd love for Sadghuru to do a talk about Social Anxiety.

6 years 10 months ago

simply superb.....i loved this article

6 years 1 month ago

In my field, the basis of all depression and anxiety is fear. I have witnessed how people create a dark jail for themselves from their fears and cannot see the light of life, the light of themselves, nothing.. Thank you so much for this amazing article Sadhguru. I will share it too.

6 years 10 months ago

Thank You Sadhguru

3 years 11 months ago

This page helped me alot with insight about myself. I will force myself to put it to practice. I know it is the truth, i feel it is.

6 years 10 months ago

There is an advantage fearing about death. If you fear about death, it will happen sooner because of spoiling your health and mind. And the fear will also end soon. Jokes apart, please read Sadhguru's message carefully again. You will get your doubt clarified.

6 years 1 month ago

In my field, the basis of all depression and anxiety is fear. I have witnessed how people create a dark jail for themselves from their fears and cannot see the light of life, the light of themselves, nothing.. Thank you so much for this amazing article Sadhguru. I will share it too

6 years 10 months ago

Thank you Guruji. I often go thru your articles and talks on almost anything from your websites once my good friend Meera introduced me to Isha Kriya Yoga. Often looking for answers to something or other as my life was pretty messed up, I vividly listened and read whatever u had to say. U know Guruji, the most fruitful and beneficial of your wisdom shared was on FEAR and how to overcome it. Having understood and practiced your teachings, I have grown to remove fear from everything I do. It has helped me a different perspective of everything and everyone around me and helped me make decisions I never thought possible. Thank
you for giving me new life.

2 years 10 months ago

I always spent my half an hour to read this weblog's articles everyday
along with a cup of coffee.

6 years 10 months ago

I'm also experience the same thing in my life

6 years 1 month ago

Death in my opinion is pleasanter than pain. I fear pain and the inability to do the things I want to do before I die. So not everyone fears death. The thought in anyone's head would be "oh if i do that, i will die" But death is not what they actually fear. What they fear is what would happen IF or AFTER they die.
Since everyone is a possibility, you might be one whose every fear is of death but let's not make that a generalization. :-)

6 years 10 months ago

Thank you so much

10 months 1 week ago

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6 years 10 months ago

sadguru is always great. whenever i need advice that will reach me instantly by my guru's voice.that's the surprise. its me that struggle most even i have the support of the master's wisdom. only me can do the process hoping oneday i will join the stream. i want to make it appropriately. bless me Sadguru..

6 years 1 month ago

great article

6 years 10 months ago

All fear is the fear of death, at least this much I thought Sadhguru would known. But no, he simply passes it off as ' At the most you will die, nothing more.' He disappoints me

6 years 10 months ago

Dear Sadguru
Well said about fear. There is nothing to fear about fear. Day will come followed by night. Take a day at a time and live well. That's all there is to life. Apart from human beings, there are billions of living organism living happily. Have you seen a stressed cow or dog? They have mastered the trick called life. We humans have a long way to go. Many thanks Guruji for your timely advise.
Yours sincerely
Ramesh venugopal

6 years ago

fear is never in abstraction, and is always related to something.which one needs to search carefully and look at it without running away from it. it needs full attention and awareness of your mind

6 years 10 months ago

Thank you sadhguru

6 years 10 months ago

i think v r more afraid of 'suffering life' than 'death'

6 years ago


6 years 10 months ago

Thankyou Sadguru...I want to live in present but external forces always make us think about future and make decisions which always puts us is great fear. Because in many cases, our living is always dependent on others & influenced by others... and others can be a partner, friend, family etc., And foolishly we always run behind "security". I think I have to keep your statement in mind.." There is really no security with life".

6 years 9 months ago

If anything including death is not in our experience, fear is only a by-product of mind's accumulations. If you may, please listen / read and contemplate on Sadhguru's talks on "Living in the moment".

5 years 7 months ago


6 years 10 months ago

One work you do at time.... but work should be achieved.then they will be no fear...

6 years 2 months ago

if you guys want to overcome your greatest fears and phobias i recommend that you guys go through hypnosis. I went through it before i had a fear of heights. After the session i was able to even sky dive with ease. Im telling you hypnosis works, and there is no better place to go to but http://hypnosis2change.com/services/fears-phobias/

5 years 5 months ago

A natural phenomenon can assist you better analyze and gauge yourself.
This is nothing but an energy transmission that will connect you to your
inner guidance system and eventually to the infinite source of
intelligence. Through this one will be able to know the purpose of their
life and know their potential clearly. It will also assist them in
building their self confidence and self esteem, making them brave enough
to face the failures if any.

6 years 10 months ago

What work you do should be achieved.....then there is no fear....