On dealing with fear

  • Fear is only possible when there is attachment or desire. Without Attachment it is just an abstract term. Practice every day to reduce attachment. Some examples of attachment -
    • Attachment to your romantic partner, results in fear of adultery or rejection.
    • Attachment to one's occupation or livelihood, result in sleepless nights.
    • Attachment to success, results in fear of ridicule by others when you fail.
    • Attachment to luxury or wealth , results in fear of poverty.
  • Understand where attachment comes from. We get attached to anything that helps fulfill voids in our self. This void has many names - loneliness, emptiness, hollowness, lack of worth etc.
  • Understand that the only way to avoid attachment is to accept that you are the "void". You are the loneliness, hollowness and emptiness.It is not a void, it is your self and the self does not need anything else to validate it.
  • When you accept it you stop naming it ( e.g. loneliness, insecurity) and you stop running from it.You stop attaching to external factors which are by its nature not under your control. Lack of control leads to fear.
  • One who has nothing to lose does not fear.

  • Who is not afraid to die? one who "neither wishes to die or live by any means". Not attached to life.
    • The same principle applies to other things like property , wives/husbands and fame.
    • stoics are always prepared for and embrace their losses.

      Quietly expecting everything that can happen and enduring that which has already happened.

  • For example, when an adult is taken to a tyrant, guarded by his body guards with dangerous weapons, he is very afraid and trembles. But when a child is taken to him he is not fearful, why ? The child is not attached to his life and other material stuff yet.

  • this is a fearless attitude:

    "desire nothing which belongs to (which is in power of) others nor try to aviod any of the things that are in your power."

  • If we do not desire anything that is outwith our power and choose only to pursue things that are under the power of our will, how can we be fearful?

    • If we do not desire a promotion but focus on being the best at what we do, will we be fearful? Will we not be better workers?
    • If we do not desire winning a match, but practice to be the best we can be, will we be anxious the night before? Will we not play better without anxiety?
  • Engage in negative visualisation. Imagine loosing everything that you are attached to everyday.

  • Practice hardship. For example if you fear poverty then try living in poverty.

Notes from A Selection from the Discourses of Epictetus with the Encheiridion (Greek Classics)

Notes from Total Freedom: The Essential Krishnamurti

Top up with -
On dealing with ambition

On dealing with work

On dealing with a wasteful life