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Understanding and Fear
typing_sound wrote in buddhistgroup
The real healing from fear, comes from understanding, from recognizing fear and its many forms within the mind and the body. It's about being clear what fear is, not intellectually, but in the sense of recognizing it as it arises, and not mistaking fear for anything else, and not mistaking the effects in the mind and body that comes from fear as coming from fear, and not coming from anywhere else. It is that kind of clarity and understanding that is necessary. And you can do it, but every so often you have to be brave and not shy away too far from your fear and its effects.

You have to first do your research, so you can get a good mental picture of what your fear or panic is, and know its various effects in the body and mind. Study panic and anxiety and its physical and mental effects. Really do a lot of study of this, as this kind of understanding goes a long way to removing doubts when you are actually faced with fear and its effects. You need to be clear in your mind which thought-patterns and feelings, and which physical sensations are coming from fear/panic, so you can be clear that these feelings are not an indication of anything other than fear itself.

You need to know, you are not having a heart attack, you are not going to die, you are not losing your mind or your self. Recognize these thought/feelings/sensations are merely symptoms of fear, and fear/panic/anxiety and its symptoms can not do you any real harm, and they do not lead anywhere, they are simply as they are and that's all that they are. They are part of a circle. Fear creates the symptoms and then we become afraid of the symptoms, which in turn gives more of the symptoms. But if you get to understand this and over time you really see this to be the case and really believe it, then the symptoms have no fuel. Instead of reacting to the symptoms with more panic, with only fuels them, you simply do not react, as you know you cannot be harmed by them, so you don't panic or react, and they subside naturally.

It is like a paper tiger. You thought it was a killer when you first saw him, but after you realize he was made of paper all along, you no longer react to seeing him. You always thought he was about to bite you, as his teeth seemed very sharp, but now you know that will never happen. There will only ever be the teeth, but never the bite.

It's a tough battle, and it can seem that all existence is a nightmare, but this is only a reflection of the mind of fear. Don't trust it. Remember that life has been beautiful in the past, because at those times you weren't seeing life through the mind of fear. Overcome the fear, and you see a very different picture. So wait out on that. Don't do all your contemplating from within the mind of fear, as all those thoughts will be tainted by the fear. Come outside of it and then see what you think.

This is my own story-in-progress, so thought I'd share in case there are others struggling with fear as well.