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Fear | Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Wisdom

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Fear | Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Wisdom
Your thoughts are very powerful; you can create what you want. First, believe that it is possible for you to live in a state of unconditional love, peace and tranquility. As a child you have lived in this state. As children we all have done it. We were bubbling with enthusiasm. - Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Like salt in food, a little fear is essential for people to be righteous. Fear makes life defend itself, protect itself. The purpose of fear is to bring you back to your source.

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar explains how with a pure mind and an honest heart, there is nothing to fear. Learn to manage 'Fear' from Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

Whenever a boundary is broken, it creates some fear. The fear creates dislike. This dislike puts us back in the boundary. And to keep yourself in the boundary you put forth defenses. When you try to defend your position, it is such a stress, isn't it? And every time you try to defend your position it makes you more and more weak.

On the path, people even use Knowledge as a defense against criticism! Don't use Knowledge as a defense. Knowledge is like an umbrella for you - a shelter, not a weapon. Of course, sometimes 'Don't use Knowledge as a weapon' becomes an excuse not to be in Knowledge! (Laughter) I say, drop all your defenses. Anybody can make a mistake. Even you! Don't defend your mistakes. Just accept them and move on. When you are totally defenseless, that's when you'll be strong.

There are many different types of fear that people have:

  • Fear of rejection
  • Fear of obligation
  • Fear of responsibility
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of abandonment
  • Fear of confronting the truth
  • Fear of separation
  • Fear of opinions and humiliation
  • Fear of not having enough

Make a list of all of this and then we will see how we can overcome them in one go. All these fears are because you do not know that you are connected to the infinity. When this is forgotten that 'I am part of the infinity', fear comes.

All these fears are of only one fear, of not being able to exist. You will always exist because you are connected with the ocean. A drop is afraid because it thinks it is alone, it is not connected with the ocean. But when the drop is in the ocean, the drop has no fear. It will never get extinguished because it’s in the ocean.

Separation brings fear. If there is oneness, there is no fear. So how to get over fear? By remembering the oneness, then there is no fear.

You cannot totally eliminate fear, nor should we. Fear is like salt in the food, it keeps one on his toes. Fear keeps one’s feet on the ground, but fear is essential to some degree only. Life salt in the food, if there is too much salt, the food is not consumable, but you cannot eat the food without any salt. A little bit of fear is essential in the process of growth. Nature has built you like that. You drive on the right side of the road (United States) because of the fear you would get into an accident. You walk on the sidewalk, you drive only when there is a green light. These actions happen out of fear. If you are totally without fear, you could do anything and violate all the laws. Laws are always followed with a pinch of fear, and it is not a bad thing, but if there is too much fear, then it cannot be helpful. You have to keep a degree of fear like a little bit of salt in the food.

Whenever a boundary is broken, it creates some fear. This fear creates aversion; this aversion, in turn, brings you back inside the boundary and to keep yourself in the boundary, you set up defences. But when you try to defend your position, it becomes stressful and every time you work to defend your position it makes you weaker. On the path, people use even knowledge as a defence against criticism. Do not use knowledge as a defence. Knowledge is like an umbrella for you - a shelter, not a weapon. Of course, sometimes 'do not use knowledge as a weapon' becomes an excuse not to be in knowledge. Drop all your defences. Anyone can make a mistake - even you. Do not defend your mistakes, just accept them and move on. When you are totally defenceless, that is when you will be completely strong.

Fear is an impression of the past reflecting about the future of the present. When people deny fear, they become egocentric, when they recognize and accept fear, they go beyond, get free from it.

Total lack of fear is possible only in utter chaos or utmost orderliness. A saint or a fool has no fear. But everywhere in between, there is fear. Fear is essential to preserve orderliness in the world. It is a primal instinct.

  • Fear of death preserves life.
  • Fear of wrong keeps the right.
  • Fear of sickness brings hygiene.
  • Fear of misery keeps you righteous.
  • A child has a pinch of fear so it is careful and alert while walking. A pinch of fear is necessary to keep things moving smoothly.

Because fear is love standing upside down, everything that can be interpreted with Love can also be interpreted with fear. For example, a child clinging onto his mother. This can be interpreted in both ways - out of Love or out of Fear. This primal instinct can be totally transformed through Awareness of Divine Love.

Do not try to eliminate fear. Just meditate and know that you are nobody or that you belong to someone special.

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is nothing called 'all' fears. There is only one fear and the fear is of extinction and this is kept by nature. And how this can be extinguished is through the understanding, ‘I’m not the body, I’m the spirit’, number one; second, ‘only the best will happen to me’. That’s it. No third.

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Observe the sensation. Fear is the opposite of love, yet fear can transform into love. You can also go through and move beyond all these cycles by taking the 'Advance Meditation Program' (A silence retreat offered by The Art of Living Foundation. Click Here for details).

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Accept: ‘Ok, I am going to fail. So what? I still want to do it.’ It's like a game you play, whether you win or lose, you play the game. Correct? If you are playing soccer, you just play, no matter if you win or lose, you just play. In the same way, don’t be afraid of failure. If you fail, never mind, still do it. Ok?

You need to take some risks in life.

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Meditate! Sit quietly and meditate, or listen to some chanting music. All of this will help. Meditation, some pranayama, kriya, some exercises, ujjayi breath are very good for fears. Don’t think that fear is somewhere deep inside you. It is an erroneous notion of psychology that fear and guilt are deep down. I tell you, deep down there is only a lot of joy; a lot of bliss. And in that centre – no fear, no guilt, no anger, no lust can touch you. Deep down you are wonderful. So never think you have all these anxieties. Those who say that there is something wrong deep down are blind. It is all there just on the surface. If they call that deep, then I will suggest going deeper. In the centre of your being, you are a fountain of joy. Saying, 'Oh! My Mind! Deep down there is anxiety!' is ignorance; a wrong idea and concept. The moment you accept these words as truth, it starts becoming more difficult to get over those emotions. They become more permanent there. Do you see that?

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The fear in you is because you feel alone. You do not know that you are a part of the Divine or Creation and that you belong to everyone. Sometimes it is just the old pattern of bodily reaction of fear, which repeats.

But don't worry, that's why you have the techniques, to come out of it, and the Master to make you feel and demonstrate the fact that you are a part of the Divine and that you are one with the whole creation.

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It's not difficult, just take a few deep breaths, do a few bhastrikas and pranayama and that's it. Wheres the fear? Fear is just love upside down. You have to turn it up. When there is love there is no fear, or when there is hatred there is no fear. Two types of people in the world have no fear - those who are in love, and those who are in hatred. They both create a sensation in the heart region.

We do this in a 5, 6 days long 'Advance Meditation Program' (A silence retreat offered by The Art of Living Foundation. Click Here for details), in which we discuss all different emotions and the places in the body where they are generated, how they are affected and how they can be handled. In 5 days, 3 days you remain in silence, and you observe different sensations, emotions. No fear!

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Have faith. Have faith in the presence of the Divine, that the Divine is your very own, that the Divine is in you. When you are established in this knowledge, you are free from fear.

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Ok, have fear. Awaken enthusiasm, whatever happens, let it happen. At least believe that you are not alone, the Divine is there. Observe where the fear sensation is – heart, throat and other parts of the body. Do pranayama, bhastrika and Sudarshan Kriya (An effortless breathing techinique offered by The Art of Living Foundation). Keep yourself busy, do not give yourself a lot of time to think, then where is the time to fear?

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Fear is simply an emotion or a sensation in the body. There is no need to associate or attach them to different things.

When you start observing those patterns, those energies that happen in you, you will see that fear, love and hatred all happen in one region, and it is the same energy which manifests love, hatred or fear.

When you have some passion; if you are passionate about something, fear disappears. Fear appears when you don't have any specific passion in life. Isn't this the experience? Only when you have passion, or strongly hate something, then fear will disappear. Fear will disappear when you either have a strong hatred or strong love towards something. In the absence of either, a little lingering fear comes up. But, again, more hollow and empty meditations, pranayama, engaging in some seva activities; all this will help in eliminating that.