Freedom from fear

Fear is a common predecessor to anger and hate—fear of loss, of hurt, of embarrassment, of shame, of weakness, of not knowing. When fear arises, anger and aversion function as strategies to help us feel safe, to declare our strength and security. In fact, we actually feel insecure and vulnerable, but we cover this fear and vulnerability with anger and aggression. We do this at work, in marriage, on the road, in politics. A fearful situation turns to anger when we can’t admit we are afraid. As the poet Hafiz writes, “Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I’d rather see you in better living conditions.” Without insight, we are doomed to live our lives in this cheap room.
Fortunately, we can train ourselves to live with mindfulness, to meet fear and pain with wisdom instead of with the habits of aversion and anger. When a painful or threatening event arises, we can open our eyes to it. When we learn to tolerate our own pain and face our own fears, we will no longer blame and inflict it on others. With mindfulness, instead of reacting, we can acknowledge our pains and concerns and then respond with spacious clarity, purpose, firmness, and compassion. A wise response includes whatever action, fierce at times, is the most caring toward life, our own and others’. Freedom from hatred is not spiritual repression—it is wisdom in the face of pain and fear – Jack Kornfield

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