What is Fear and How To Overcome Fear?
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.
What is Fear?
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?
What Causes Fear?
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 Negative Effects of Fear
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.
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.
Read in Hindi: डर क्या है, कैसे बचें?
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.