Formula for fearlessness

Fear has two meanings—Fear everything and run or face everything and rise! The choice is yours. Fear is a natural, powerful, and primitive human emotion.

Published: 14th November 2021 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th November 2021 06:02 PM   |  A+A-

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Fear can be your friend in the right doses as it alerts you to danger. But too much of it can be harmful. As you grow spiritually and enrich yourself from within, you overcome fear and become strong, resilient and independent.

Fear has two meanings—Fear everything and run or face everything and rise! The choice is yours. Fear is a natural, powerful, and primitive human emotion. It is instilled from childhood. Parents tell their children, “Eat your food or the bogeyman will come and get you. Do your homework or I’ll tell your teacher. Do good or you’ll go to hell”! Fear involves a universal biochemical reaction, fight or flight response, as well as an individual emotional response. 

Fear can be your friend in the right doses as it alerts you to danger. But too much of it can be harmful. Sometimes fear stems from real hazards, but it can also originate from imagined threats. People suffer from all kinds of phobias—fear of heights, of being alone, of crowded spaces, water and even fear of spiders! Fear can be a symptom of some mental health conditions too. 

Have you wondered why scary movies are fun? This is because fear induces the same chemical reactions in our brains that positive emotions like happiness do. Some people are adrenaline-seekers, thriving on extreme sports and other high-risk ventures. Others have a negative reaction to fear and avoid fearful situations at all costs.

At times fear enables concentration and helps shed distractions, resulting in an extraordinary performance. Weightlifters can lift an additional 12 percent in critical situations. People are known to perform heroic acts in fearful situations like hostage crises and terrorist attacks. 

Fear prevents you from taking risks. Being risk-averse can also lead to a joy-averse existence. Fear of commitment can deprive you of wonderful relationships! Overcoming fear can bring great opportunities your way. The choices you make and the risks you take are the factors that contribute to happiness. 
Fear is one of the nine rasas or basic emotions listed in the Vedas, the oldest source of knowledge. Vedanta, the science of self-management, the philosophy that appears in the last portion of each of the Vedas, gives us the pathway to overcoming fear. There are five main causes of fear:

1. Wrongdoing. When you are upright and straightforward you are fearless. In the Mahabharata war, the army of the Kauravas was 1.5 times stronger than that of the Pandavas. Yet the Kauravas were afraid! 

2. Selfishness. A selfish person cares only about himself so everyone else becomes an opponent! Selfish people are afraid of competitors, they imagine enemies and mistake benefactors for adversaries.

3. Fear is a modification of desire. When desire is fulfilled, there is fear of losing the object gained. The wealthy are afraid someone will steal their money. A beautiful lady fears old age and ugliness. The famous are afraid of loss of reputation and so on. 

4. Ignorance causes fear. Everybody is afraid of death because it is unknown. If we knew what would happen after death perhaps, we would not fear it.

5. Otherness makes one afraid too. You have no fear of an Indian cop but when you get caught for speeding in the US, you panic! This is why Indians who blatantly break laws in India meticulously follow them abroad! 

Fearlessness is a sign of spiritual development. As you grow spiritually and enrich yourself from within, you overcome fear and become strong, resilient and independent. 

The first step to dealing with fear is to use the intellect, the discriminating faculty in you to assess, analyse, and overcome fear. Face your fears. When Swami Vivekananda was walking along a street in Benares, a group of monkeys chased after him. He started running. A monk told him to turn and face them. When he did that, the monkeys ran away. 

Develop the intellect. The intellect is fortified the same way the body is, by exercise. You exercise the intellect by thinking. Thinking has become a rare commodity these days. People follow the herd instinct, do things because everybody else does it. Think. Independently. Originally. Uninfluenced by others. Question, enquire, reflect. As you think the intellect gains power and is able to control the whims and fancies of the wayward mind.

The mind is the realm of emotion, feeling, like and dislike. It lacks the ability to decipher what is in your interest and what is not. There is no reason for either love or hatred. Most fears are irrational too. When your teenage daughter falls in love and you ask what she found in the guy she says ‘just’! No reason. Why are you afraid of the dark, or of crowded spaces? No reason. Nowadays the overwhelming fear is—What if I get Covid? Chances are you may never get it but you have suffered for it needlessly! So do not meet misfortune halfway!

The spiritual path gets to the root of the problem. It consists of three simple practices that every single human being can follow. It does not require a change in lifestyle, wardrobe or profession. All it takes is a slight shift in thinking. And the results are magical. They are ACTION, EMOTION and THOUGHT.

1. ACTION. When you act, do so with the attitude of giving, not taking. Shift from profiteering to offering, grabbing to serving. Fear vanishes when you want to give. The law is—Give you gain, grab you lose. Physics corroborates this. An object is red in colour because it absorbs all the other colours except red. Yet it appears red! Amazingly it gains the one colour it gives and loses the six colours it takes! So is it in life. All givers are happy. 

2. EMOTION. Embrace the world with love, oneness and compassion rather than hatred, disgust and aversion. Vasudhaivakutumbakam. The entire universe is one family. Reach out to people with affection and they return the courtesy. You build strong teams and achieve success. Fear vanishes. You do not fear your own people. 

3. THOUGHT. Knowledge. Not of physics or economics. Nitya anityavivekavicharam. Reflection on the distinction between permanent and impermanent. As you develop merit the good things of life will naturally gravitate towards you. Acquire the best that the world has to offer, but remember that everything in the world is impermanent. With the right understanding, there is no fear of loss.
With these practices not only do you become fearless and confident, you grow into a towering personality. You take calculated risks, are unfazed even if failure comes your way and you gain power over the world. You achieve effortless excellence. You discover the fountainhead of bliss and magnificence within.



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