Leaning Into Our Fear

by meditative - March 10th, 2016

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” ~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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, our fear of fear. The path of fearlessness can only be walked by those who know the nature of fear- openly and directly. It is our knowing that transforms our ignorance to wisdom. 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. We knowingly befriend our fear so that it may open up to us and reveal its nature.

For many of us, we are addicted to protecting the ‘me, myself, and I’. Out of this addictive quality 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 greatly, 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 focused attention to reflect on the impersonal nature of our own fear. Leaning into our direct experience helps us to cut through/penetrate and differentiate mental chatter versus the real emotional core of our feeling state- to lean and stay with it, over and over again– until the emotional barrier dissolves. By leaning in with a quality of awareness that is curious & caring, we see more and feel more without the filters or running commentary of our habitual storylines. Typically, these storylines are full of abstract explanations and considerations projected to help tame the fearful emotion by moving us away from directly feeling it.

Through direct experience and this befriending quality of awareness, we may come to know the nature of fear, and it is through this direct attending and abiding process where we can begin to transform our relationship to the varied disturbances (i.e. mental & physical) created by our fear. Directly, inclusively, and intimately we face the core of our fear and the vein of our misplaced fears.