Leaning Into Our Fear

by meditative - July 22nd, 2015

The limitations of self-imposed emotional barriers are often not just the feelings themselves- they are often compounded by our feeling about our feelings. For example, simply consider the fear of fear. To walk the path of fearlessness, one must come to know the nature of his/her own fear. It is our knowing and our trust in knowing that transforms our ignorance & tentativeness into wisdom & confidence. In general, our tendency is to be afraid of feeling fear. In our mindfulness training, we practice leaning and moving toward fear not away from it. It’s in this closeness of examination that demystifies our fear.

For many of us, we are primordially addicted to protecting the ‘me, myself, and I’– a conceptualized and highly personalized construct of ‘self’. Out of this addictive tendency to protect all of oneself lies a strong undercurrent of fear. When we get in touch with that addictive quality, we’re beginning to connect with what we fear so deeply, and that which we are afraid to feel.

The practice of leaning into our direct experience of powerful emotions like fear expresses the clear intention of our attention- and our inner capacity (i.e. mindsight) to reflect on the impersonal (& impermanent) nature of our own fear. Leaning into our direct experience helps us to cut through- to penetrate and differentiate mental chatter from the real emotional core of our feeling state– to lean in and stay with it, over and over again, until the emotional barrier dissolves. By leaning in with our mindsight- our free attention & open awareness, we see more and feel more without the filters or running commentary of our personal storylines as typically they are full of abstract explanations and considerations projected to help tame the fearful emotion by moving us away from directly experiencing (feeling) it.

Through direct experience and an approach-minded attitude, we may come to courageously know the nature of our fear, and it is through this direct attending process of—> seeing—> sensing—> embracing where we can begin to transform (transmute) our relationship to the varied disturbances (i.e. mental & physical) created by our fear. Directly, inclusively, and intimately we can face the core of our fear & the vein of our misplaced fears.