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Ojai, 4th meeting 1980

Questions and Answers 18th Question Ojai, California 4th Question & Answer Meeting 15th May 1980 'Fear'

Question: I am not asking how fear arises - that you have already explained but rather, what is the actual substance of fear? What is fear itself? Is it a pattern of physiological reaction and sensation, tightening of muscles, surging of adrenalin and so forth; or is it something more? What am I to look at when I look at fear itself? Can this looking take place when fear is not immediately present?

What is fear itself? We are generally afraid of something, or of a remembrance of something that has happened, or of a projection of a reaction into the future. But the questioner asks: What is the actual nature of fear?

When one is afraid, both physiologically as well as psychologically, is it not that one has a feeling of danger, a feeling of total isolation called loneliness, deep, abiding, lasting loneliness? All reactions are to something; one is afraid of the snake, or one is afraid of the return of some pain one has had. So it is either fear of an actual thing or of the remembrance of something that has happened in the past. But apart from the psychological reactions which one knows as fear is there fear in itself, not fear of something? Is there fear per se? Or does one only know fear in relation to something else? If it is not in relation to something, is it fear? One knows fear in relation to something, from something, or towards something, but if you eliminate that, is there actual fear, which you can examine?

The mind, the brain, need complete security in order to function well, healthily, sanely. Not finding security in anything, in a relationship, in an idea, in a belief - an intelligent mind rejects all that - yet it still looks for complete security. Not finding it, fear comes into being. Is there something totally and completely secure and certain, not the certainty of beliefs, dogmas, rituals and ideas, which can all be abolished when new ideas, dogmas and theories replace them? Putting aside all that, does the mind, the brain, seeking a security that is intelligible and not finding it, feel deep-rooted fear? So, apart from the ordinary kinds of fear, is the mind creating fear itself, because there is nothing valid, nothing that is whole? Is that the substance of fear?

Can the mind in itself have no fear? Thought - which is part of the function of the mind and brain - desiring security, has created various illusions, philosophical and theological. Not finding it there, it either creates something beyond itself in which it hopes to find total security, or the mind itself is so totally complete that it has no need for fear.

We are not talking of getting rid of fear or suppressing fear; we are asking, can the mind in itself have no cause or substance or reaction which brings fear? Can the mind ever be in a state - that word `state' implies static, it is not that - can it ever have a quality where it has no movement reaching out, where it is completely whole in itself? This implies understanding meditation. Meditation is not all the nonsense that is going on about it. It is to be free from fear, both physiological and psychological, otherwise there is no love, there is no compassion. As long as there is fear, the other cannot take place. To meditate - not to reach something - is to understand the nature of fear and go beyond it - which is to find a mind that has no remembrance of something which has caused fear, so that it is completely whole.

Then there is the other part of this question: Can this looking take place when fear is not immediately present?

One can recall fear and the recalling of that fear can be observed. One had fear in the past and one can summon it; but it is not actually the same because fear exists a moment after, not at the actual moment; it is a reaction that one calls fear. But at the actual moment of great danger, at the moment of facing something that may cause fear, there is no fear, there is nothing. Then there is a recollection of the past, then the naming of it, and saying, "I am afraid", with all the tightening of the muscles, the secretion of adrenalin.

One can recall a past fear and look at it. The observing of that fear is important because either one puts it outside of oneself or one says, "I am that fear" - there is not oneself apart from the fear observing it; one is that reaction. When there is no division between oneself and fear, but only the state of that reaction, then something entirely new takes place.

Questions and Answers

Ojai, 4th meeting 1980

Questions and Answers 18th Question Ojai, California 4th Question & Answer Meeting 15th May 1980 'Fear'

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