Fear is a very powerful emotion and a natural response to danger. Drawing on personal experience and three traditional teachings, Satyajyoti describes the nature of fear and anxiety and what the Buddha has to say about how we can respond to it.
In the Sutta of Fear and Dread we hear how mindfulness is a powerful tool for staying with our present experience, recognising the sensations of fear and finding the gap where we can avoid additional suffering that the mind often creates.
The Four Powers give us further ways of working with fear. Wisdom brings greater perspective. Integrated energies mean less tension and fear. Through generosity and metta we can release our preoccupation with our own needs and find a greater sense of freedom through attending to the needs of others. In the same way, our own suffering can be an opportunity to connect with others.
Finally, The Banner Sutta provides a powerful image of Going For Refuge. Just as the soldier in fear looks to the banner of the general, the Buddha encourages his followers in times of fear to ‘behold the crest of my own banner.’
The current series of talks come under our theme ‘Dharma for Difficult Times’. We cannot control the current situation, but we do have a choice between a negative and a creative response. If we can see adversity from a Dharmic perspective, it could be an opportunity to take our practice – and our Sangha – to a new level.