What the Buddha Taught Me About Fear, And How I Overcome It
Fear is an emotional response we are all born with designed to protect ourselves from danger, be it real or imagined. Fear, if allowed, can take over a person’s life preventing them from becoming the person they were born to be and preventing your Dreams from coming true.
Here is what the Buddha taught me about Fear, and how I overcome it.
Dictionary.com defines fear as:
A distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.
What we need to focus on in this definition is the words whether the threat is real or imagined. Fear comes from the unknowing of the future outcome, thus the imagined part of the definition.
Most of us will live out our lives, never being able to see the future, so we need to take risks. Some might even call it a gamble. Many of us will refuse to take the risk out of fear. Fear of failure. Fear of looking dumb. Fear of rejection. The list goes on and on. For some of us, myself included, fear no longer stops us from taking a chance on ourselves.
Getting what you want in life will require at some point taking a risk. If you want to be with that girl, ask her out. If you want a raise, ask your boss. If you want more than what a job can provide you, take a chance on yourself, like I did, and go against the grain and start a business.
It’s hard to be fearless when everyone around you is fearful. They will dampen your dreams to “protect you”, but the truth is they don’t want to see you succeed where they failed.
Here are 5 pitfalls that caused my fear:
- Putting things above people
“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”
One of our greatest fears is the fear of losing things. We do not own these things. They are temporary. Everything in life is temporary. When we realize we cannot lose that which we do not own, the fear of losing it disappears..
“One moment can change a day, one day can change a life, and one life can change the world.”
Many of us wait for “the right moment” to do something or say something. Life does not wait for us. It has its own time frame, and it is not dependent on you. We wait out of fear if we are honest with ourselves. We convince ourselves that it just wasn’t the right time for me, but that’s a lie. We were just afraid.
“I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act. Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.”
Far too often we settle in life. We settle not for what we deserve or our destiny, but for what life gives us. Life rewards the brave, and the brave do not settle. Life rewards us when we act, especially when we are afraid.
- Avoiding pain
“Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men, is he who would conquer just one–himself. Better to conquer yourself than others.”
Far too many times in life we try to avoid the pain we foresee as the outcome, so we don’t even try. Your greatest enemy is yourself. Pain teaches us. It teaches us what works, and what does not. We avoid the pain because we are afraid. Afraid of an outcome we do not know, so we never try.
- Negative self-talk
“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.”
Far too many times we listen to that voice in the back of our heads that warn us of potential doom when it’s really us just being afraid. We never “always” do anything. We do not “always” screw things up in any situation, except in our minds. This is just fear taking over us.
In the time I have been on this Earth, I have experienced everything listed above and have overcome them all.
Even though I was afraid of not having security, but I started a business. That was 12 years ago.
I feared heights, so I jumped out of a plane.
I had a message to get out but thought no one would listen, so I wrote a book and started a website.
You can train yourself to overcome your fears if you are willing.
Here are some suggestions that helped me to overcome my fears and how I stopped telling life “no”.
- You are not your past
“To insist on a spiritual practice that served you in the past is to carry the raft on your back after you have crossed the river.”
Just because you have made a mistake in the past does not mean you will automatically do it again, accept this. Far too many times we think we are our past, but we are not. Your past does not make you “who” you are, it only makes you “where” you are. Put down the raft.
- Every mistake is a lesson, not a failure
“Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing. The goal is to find it.”
Thomas Edison invented the light bulb we all now know and use. When asked in an interview how it felt to fail 10,000 times. He replied, “I did not fail 10,000 time. I found 10,000 ways it would not work”. Learn from your mistakes and do your best to not repeat them.
- Life is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy it.
“In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.”
Far too many times in life we get so caught up in in the logistics, the accomplishing, the gaining, and the holding on to things and we forget to enjoy it. Life isn’t about stuff, it’s about moments. Take a minute, stop, and enjoy them.
- Change your thoughts and change your trajectory
“What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.”
If you say you can, or can’t, you are correct. Embrace the mantra of “Why Not!”. Can’t really means won’t because there is nothing you can’t do if you believe you can. Start imagining your victory, however large or small BEFORE you start, then finish the job.
- Use your imagination
“If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your path.”
Far too many times in life we get lost in the problems and cannot see the solution because we are too close to the situation. Get creative to overcome your fears. You are more resourceful than you give yourself credit for.
- Stop giving yourself a pass
“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way and not starting.”
We need to be tougher on ourselves when we falter. We all have moments when we aren’t 100% so we slack off. This leads to feelings of failure, doubt, and allows our fears to fester. In these moments, be the adult in the situation and tell the child in you to move forward.
- Eliminate all distractions
“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”
Your journey, wherever it may take you, begins with the first step. Distractions prevent that. Eliminate any distraction, aka excuse that prevents you from accomplishing what you set out to do. Distractions can also be self sabotage. Fear of achieving can be just as strong as fear of failure.
- Be your own savior
“Be a lamp unto yourself. Work out your liberation with diligence.”
Don’t rely on others to get started on your journey. They might be just as afraid as you and might not start. Make your journey about you, and only you, regardless of the company.
- Set your course
“Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back and choose the path that leads to wisdom.”
You know where you want to end up because you’ve seen it in your mind. Failure to plan is planning to fail. Set a course to where you desire to end up and follow it. If you want to take the island, burn the boats. Make there no way to turnback.
- Don’t quit
“If you are facing in the right direction, all you need to do is keep on walking.”
Fear will keep you from starting. It will also make you quit. Far too many times people quit right before the miracle happens. Find your why, write on your brain, and remember it. Then race for the finish. You’ll be glad you did.
The Buddha taught me about relationships as well. You can read that article here:
If you have enjoyed this article, please visit me at www.JosephBinning.com for more helpful tips and articles.
You can also get more helpful information in my book You Matter, even if you don’t think so which you can purchase on Amazon here Amazon You Matter, even if you don’t think so
For my free report Happiness Is A Choice click here: Happiness Is A Choice Free Report
Remember: Happiness is a choice, so be happy.
 Fear Definition/Dictionary.com/accessed 11/16/2020/https://www.dictionary.com/browse/fear