Home Spirituality How to overcome fear and become fearless? Learn from a monk!
Why do monks believe that your fears are an illusion

How to overcome fear and become fearless? Learn from a monk!

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When you look at a monk, you see a being who has achieved a Zen state to such an extent that he does not fear anything. Awakening comes with such a loss of fear because all forms of fear stem from identification. Awareness helps you transcend these petty Earth-defined limited identities and connects you to higher realms.

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But most people still dwell in the duality of existence. Their highs and lows seem to coexist at all times. You may be grateful for your job but fear losing it one day or you may love someone dearly but fear losing them. You may fear that somebody may die tomorrow, you fear going bankrupt, losing friends, not being the life of the party or you may fear change. Each time you live with these types of fear you feel a sense of anxiety in the pit of your stomach.

The Universe is moving in ecstasy and things are bound to change. These fears are an unnecessary burden that you carry and none of these fears are valid. Things may change, but you will still be in the present moment connected with the source. That will never change. Instead of fearing what you cannot control, join the dance and stay there.

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Man has an immense capability to adapt. Even if things do change for the worse, it will not mean the end of the world for you. An end of one thing only leads to the beginning of another. People have feared various cycles of change for thousands of years on this planet. In our lifetime, we have lived through the fear of changing geopolitical situations, sociological situations, and religious tensions. Yet, through all these low points in history, humanity has survived. It is no different for you on an individual level. When something ends for you on a personal level, see it as an ascension to the next phase in your life. Use that as a pedestal to reach higher.

Fear is just in the mind. It isn’t real. Biologically, fear was programmed into the brain to help a species survive, find food and thrive. Translated to the modern time, that fear manifests as the fear you see in everyday life. We have grown opposable thumbs, but our primal instincts of fear remain the same to this day. Alan Watts once said, “A man does not really begin to be alive until he has lost himself, until he has released the anxious grasp which he normally holds upon his life, his property, his reputation and position.”

If you ask a monk whether he fears the world ending, he would smile and say that he does not. And that Zen state of mind is as logical as it is spiritual. You are aggravating your situation by trying to control things that are beyond your control. So what if the world ends? All it will do is just end everyone’s problems and fear. If our world ended, the Universe might just birth another such world in a corner of the galaxy.

The real reason such types of fear poison the mind is because the mind is afraid of becoming aware. An awakening or a sense of spiritual awareness usually counteracts the survival instincts of the mind. When the blueprints of the mind, which were developed after thousands of years of evolution, are contradicted with this new sense of spiritual awareness, it is bound to cause discomfort. It appears as though the world will end if you become aware.

For you to come to a state of meditation, the mind has to disappear. That is the end of the world. For you to be agitated into spiritual awakening, sometimes you have to go through rough experiences. That is the end of the world. That is the real fear. It keeps people from being aware. It is because most people give in to these fears and try to stay safe that they never go through the awakening that comes with these tough experiences.

Most people may not be aware of it and there will be those who do not accept it, but the mind is afraid to go through experiences that bring about awareness because that would mean rewiring years of evolution. Awareness is the beginning of the end of the mind. This is how a Zen monk is so happy and unafraid of anything, including dying. He has reached a state of no mind. That state of awareness is the death of the mind. But it is not a death in the literal sense, but a death of everything you have been conditioned to believe in and everything that doesn’t serve you. This death will just be a rebirth of the real you.

Instead of fearing petty things in an ephemeral life, it is best to just rejoice in the death of the mind because nothing can be more liberating than living without carrying a burden that is inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. Awareness will give you wings to soar into higher states of consciousness. It will feel like breaking free from prison. But your mind was never a prison in the first place. It is only the false fear that made it real. Awareness is realizing that there is no prison, but it was just your thoughts. A monk lives in the same world as you, yet you both dwell in completely different states. While your life is riddled with fear and anxiety, a monk will never see an experience the same way as you.

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The greatest thing a person can discover in life is awareness. Without it, most people will spend their lives in fear and anxiety. There will be no end to this darkness. People will go from the cradle to the grave without experiencing freedom. All they had to do was move into awareness and shine their light to dispel this darkness. That was their potential all along. They could fulfill that potential at any moment, but most never do. You can begin where you are now and change that.

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