Want to be free from fear forever? Let me show you how to use Buddhist meditations for fear. They’re the reasons Zen masters have the minds of warriors. And you will too.
No matter what you are afraid of, there is one truth about fear. Whether you’re afraid of flying, afraid of public speaking, afraid of death or anything else, fear is entirely in your mind. And if fear is only in your mind, then you can control it.
Zen warriors live fearless lives. And they get there because they train their minds ever bit as hard as athletes train their bodies. They start by asking one simple question. What causes fear in the first place? If fear is in your mind, how did it get there? .
How does your mind create fear?
To answer this question let’s look at an example.
An example of fear of heights
This is a classic Zen story that teaches about how fear gets into your mind.
One day, a young boy went with his father to climb a tall hill. He was awfully excited because he’d never been to such a high place before. He wondered what it would be like to look down on his home from such a height.
The boy and his father climbed the hill. Looking down from a great height, the boy felt powerful, as though he were above the world. His mind was abuzz with the sense of height. Then, all of a sudden he felt a sharp stinging sensation in his leg. It was agonising. His head was bursting with pain. The boy looked down and saw a snake. He fainted with fright and woke up in bed, safe but in pain and terrified by what had happened. He’d never been to such a height before. He’d been excited about it but it had only led to pain. Every time he thought about heights from that moment on, he felt a pain in his leg and fear in his mind.
This is an example of how fear enters our minds.
Logically, the boy needn’t be afraid of heights because it was the snake that bit him, he should be afraid of snakes, but then, the mind most often is not logical. Through association the boy has acquired a fear of heights. But importantly, the fear is only in his mind.
Fear is illogical. It is a delusion created by the mind. And only the mind can stop it. But how?
This meditation technique will end your fear
So you read the story above. And you now know that fear entered the boy’s mind illogically. There is no logical reason why the boy should be afraid of heights, but fear works that way. It is illogical. But despite being illogical it is very real, and you have to stop it. Because if you do not stop fear, fear will stop you.
So how do you stop fear? Understand that…
Fear is based on association.
Every time the boy thinks of heights he remembers the pain in his leg and sees a snake in his mind’s eye. The problem, and the cause of the fear, is that the boy cannot think about heights without thinking about pain and snakes. The key, then, to overcoming the fear of heights is to untangle the mind. And you can do that with meditation.
So what does the story teach you about your own fear?
Your fear is illogical.
Your fear is illogical
Your fear is based on an association (for instance, if you’re afraid of spiders
Here’s an example from my own life.
When I was sixteen I asked a girl out. I was very shy. It was the first time I had ever done it. She, however, turned around and said no. Which was fine. At that point I was actually just happy that I had found the guts to ask someone out. But she then went and told her friends. And because she was so popular the entire year found out. Including the bullies. And they decided to humiliate me for it in school assembly.
I was then afraid to ask anyone out, in case everyone found out and ended up ridiculing me for it. My mind associated asking someone out with being humiliated in front of a lot of people. you can see how that mindset came about. But it was nevertheless illogical. The odds on the situation happening again are very low. But nevertheless, a fear was produced in me that day and it took a lot of meditation to overcome that fear. Thankfully I’m a Zen warrior so I know how to bring my mind back to complete peace and serenity. (I used a lot of different meditation techniques).
I hope that story shows you how fear comes about.
So how do you overcome fear.
So, here’s how to overcome fear based on everything we know
Fear is created by the mind
Fear is illogical
Fear is created by association. For 16 year old me, for instance, I associated asking a girl out with being humiliated in front of hundreds of people (see above).
Those associations are like glue. So for 16 year old me, I’ve got this idea of being humiliated. And that idea is glued on to the idea of asking someone out. So I cannot think about asking someone out without thinking about being humiliated (well, I can now thanks to my inner Zen).
To overcome fear you need to remove the associations.
Use This Meditation To Overcome Fear
1) Close your eyes and begin to meditate
2) Think about your fear. Bring an image of your fear to mind gently (in our example the thought is of height)
3) Thinking of heights (for our example boy) will bring up thoughts and snakes and pain. Very gently, move these images apart so you are able to see that they are three distinct pictures. One picture is height, the other snake the other pain. Recognise that these images are separate.
4) Continue meditating on breath to relax for a few moments.
5) Bring the fear image (in our example this is height) to mind and meditate on it. Recognise the image and idea of “Height” as its own entity. It is not connected to anything else (snakes and pain) it is just an image of height.
6) Continue in this fashion, recognising the basic truth of your fear.
As you practice this technique you will quiet your mind and produce peace, which will naturally stop fear.
By meditating in this fashion you disassociate the primary idea (height) from the negative that produce the fear (snakes and pain). This is the key to meditation for fear and is the best way how to overcome fear.