Fear and Faith

I think that my lack of faith and my need to control is largely connected to fears. Uncertainty about the future perpetuates much of my fear. (It’s possible that I was conditioned to fear uncertainty.)

I believe fear is what blocks faith. Faith is believing that what’s impossible is possible (at it’s extreme).

Fear replaces faith when I get lost in my illogical projections about the future.

When I have fearful thoughts my body reacts with an adrenaline rush and the flight-fight response which prevents my ability to be (the stronger) me.

Faith isn’t wishing and hoping that what will happen is something you choose or want. It doesn’t work that way.

When we believe that events out of our control “will work out” that is faith.

When life experiences or others (not that I’m blaming) fail us we lose our faith; our faith is broken, and tarnished.

Things that are broken can be fixed. Things that are tarnished can be polished. I believe faith can be restored through mindfulness (which I feel is closely related to acceptance). Mindfulness is the ability recognize our feelings as they arise.

I tend to fight my fear and have never considered this:

In the case of fear…look at your fear, and recognize it as fear. You know that fear springs from yourself and that mindfulness also springs from yourself.”

Fear and mindfulness are both in you, not fighting, but one taking care of the other. It is best NOT to say, “Go away, Fear. I don’t like you. You are not me.” It is much more effective to say, “Hello, Fear. How are you today?” Then you can invite the two aspects of yourself, mindfulness and fear. To shake hands as friends and become one. Doing this may seem frightening, but because you know that you are more than just your fear, you need not be afraid. As long as mindfulness is there it can chaperone your fear. The fundamental practice is to nourish your mindfulness with conscious breathing, to keep it there, alive and strong. Although your mindfulness may not be very powerful in the beginning, if you nourish it, it will become stronger. As long as mindfulness is present, you will not drown in your fear. In fact, you begin transforming it the very moment you give birth to awareness in yourself.

Breathing in, I calm the activities of body and mind. You calm your feeling just by being with it, like a mother tenderly holding her crying baby. Feeling his mother’s tenderness, the baby will calm down and stop crying. The mother is your mindfulness, born from the depth of your consciousness, and it will tend the feeling of pain. A mother holding her baby is only with her baby. If the mother is thinking of other things, the baby will not calm down. The mother has to put aside other things and just hold her baby. So, don’t avoid your feeling. Don’t say, “You are not important. You are only a feeling.” Come and be one with it. You can say, “Breathing out, I calm my fear.

Then release the feeling, to let it go. Because of your calm, you feel at ease, even in the midst of fear, and you know that your fear will not grow into something that will overwhelm you. When you know that you are capable of taking care of your fear, it is already reduced to the minimum, becoming softer and not so unpleasant. Now you can smile at it and let it go, but please do not stop yet. Calming and releasing are just medicines for the symptoms. You now have an opportunity to go deeper and work on transforming the source of your fear.

Look deeply into your feeling of fear to see what is wrong, after the fear is gone. By looking, you will see (what you are looking for is which kinds of ideas and beliefs have led to the fears) what will help you begin to transform the feeling. You will realize, for example, that the suffering has many causes, inside and outside of the body. If something is wrong around you, if you put that in order, you will feel better. (Taken from: Peace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh)

Here are the steps to releasing and making peace with fear and gaining faith:

Recognize, become one with the fear, calm it down, release the fear, look deeply into it’s causes (often based on inaccurate perceptions of reality).

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