Thoughts on Defeating Fear by Pema Chödrön

In bullfighting there is an interesting parallel to the pause as a place of refuge and renewal. It is believed that in the midst of a fight, a bull can find his own particular area of safety in the arena. There he can reclaim his strength and power. This place and inner state are called his querencia. As long as the bull remains enraged and reactive, the matador is in charge. Yet when he finds his querencia, he gathers his strength and loses his fear. From the matador’s perspective, at this point the bull is truly dangerous, for he has tapped into his power.”

Tara Brach
Radical Acceptance:
Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha

Below is a story from Pema Chödrön’s book When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult times. This book was loaned to me by my friend, the Wandering Fire, nearly 10 months ago.

The book has become my go-to reading when I need help finding my center.

This story resonates as I am a warrior of sorts. Shunned and ostracized by people I thought loved me only to discover they only loved the best of me and not all of me. My life has been reset and I have been cast out from one place only to have to fight through the grieving and fears to find a new place.

I understand the consequences and surrender myself to the new paradigm of my life. I fought for Her. There is nothing else to be done.

I understand her decision.

I have on more than one occasion allowed fear to rule me, to run me, to define this experience. Over the last year, I find myself leaning to sit and focus on loving my fear and hearing what it says. Then I thank it and move on. Sometimes quickly. Sometimes slowly.

I have a great life without my xp as much as I want to have a life with her. That is my battle and my fear. I will wait a bit more and not simply act because my fear tells me too.

Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear.

She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly.

But the teacher said she had to do it and gave her the instructions for the battle the day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking I and wrathful.

They both had their weapons.

The young warrior roused herself and went towards fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?

Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.

Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?

Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved and do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.”

In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear.