Even the Buddha talked about feeling great fear when he was practicing in the forest (before his enlightenment) and heard some noise

Fear is workable, freedom from it is possible

Inverse relationship between fear and love (fear shrinks, love expands). Direct relationship between fear and violence.

Asking oneself with kindness:

  • Am I challenging fear enough?
  • How constricted is my life by fear?

Fear Mechanisms


Our natural tendency to run away from fear only makes it worse

  • Often we have aversion to fear
    • We’re afraid of feeling it
  • We escape the sensations in the body and our mind takes over
    • Thoughts start spiraling increasing fear more


  • What is the underlying assumption when feeling fear?
    • I shouldn’t feel it
    • I’m too old, mature to be afraid of this stuff
  • Are you subtly judging yourself for that fear?
  • The Inner Critic creates a breeding ground for fear and anxiety
  • Many fears comes from a lack of self-love

Colors Reality

Mindfulness of Fear

Developing the capacity of accommodating unpleasant sensations

  • Of sensations in the body
    • What does it feel like?
  • Mental reactions to fear
    • Spinning thoughts about the future
    • Aversion to fear (fear of fear)

Creating Spaciousness

  • Fear constricts the mental space (we just focus on what we’re afraid of, often vague, undefined fears)
    • Practicing mindfulness opening a sense of spaciousness
  • If the fear is very persistent and ongoing
    • It can be skillful to not dwell on it
      • Get mental space by doing something else (sports, creative endeavours)
    • Then maybe come back to it

Kind Acceptance

  • Practicing emphasizing kindness and acceptance
    • Of oneself, and the fear
    • Can we embrace fear with kindness like a hurt child?
  • We’re deliberately undermining aversion of fear
    • It takes practice

Challenging Fear More Directly


  • Going against fear
    • If fear says not to do it, we do it, and viceversa
  • Finding out what kinds of fear you generally have and playing with them
    • Do you have fear of being too generous? Play with it!


  • What am I believing in situations of fear?
    • What assumptions am I making?
    • Challenging fearful thoughts
      • Are those true?
      • Even if so, So what?
  • Why are we so obsessed with others’ approval and fear of judgment?
    • Maybe we don’t have an inner reserve of well-being
    • How can we develop that?

Rob Burbea | fear