May 14, 2012

How to Defeat Fear.

Image: Yoshitoshi

“Once there was a young warrior.

Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear.

She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive;

it was scary; it seemed unfriendly.

But the teacher said she had to do it and gave her the instructions for the battle.

The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other.

The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful.

They both had their weapons.

The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear,

prostrated three times, and asked,

‘May I have permission to go into battle with you?’

Fear said, ‘Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.’

Then the young warrior said, ‘How can I defeat you?’

Fear replied, ‘My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face.

Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say.

If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power.

You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me.

You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.’

In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear. ”

~ Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times.


Our fears have only the power we give them.

Easy enough to say when comfortable and relaxed and unafraid, right? When we head in to battle with our fear, the only thing we need to remember is that we don’t have to do what the fear tells us.

Courage is not the absence of fear. We don’t defeat fear because it turns around and runs away. We defeat fear when we look at it, listen to its noise, stand nose to nose with it and refuse to do what it says.

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