View Full Version : Fear

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06-17-2000, 12:59 AM
So, is it all just about realizing, facing, and conquering our fears?

-- Jun

Chuck Clark
06-17-2000, 06:24 AM

I think that facing and understanding what makes us fearful is a large part of the journey. However, the other part is to realize our true nature and learn true compassion for all beings.

Compassion to me is simply not feeling any better / worse than or seperate from any other human being. Some of us have some pretty nasty habits and behaviors, but we're all still in the same boat.

06-17-2000, 06:32 AM
To me fear is,...

A natural warning system.
It alerts us to the possible dangers we can encounter.

However, it is my belief that wariors acknowledge thier fear, but continue with the task at hand.
If a warrior is crippled by his fear, all his training is useless.
Likewise during training fear, fear of appearing uneducated about performing an action, or fear of being ruddiculed could cripple the warrior form learning and grasping what is being taught.


06-22-2000, 03:56 PM
Originally posted by akiy
So, is it all just about realizing, facing, and conquering our fears?

-- Jun

Jun and all,

A quote from Jiddu Krishnamurti

"Fear is never an actuality; it is either before or after the active present. When there is fear in the active present, is it fear? It is there and there is no escape from it, no evasion possible. There, at that actual moment, there is total attention at the moment of danger; physical or psychological. When there is complete attention there is no fear. But the actual fact of inattention breeds fear; fear arises when there is an avoidance of the fact, a flight; then the very escape itself is fear."

For example; doing jujinage with a strong and stiff nage can be a fearsome experience. However there is no fear present in mid throw. If you look honestly you'll see the fear comes before or after the throw. So aikido practice can help us glimpse what it is to be here, now. (The loosing of the self in connection with partner is part of that too. There is no separation between me and you is there? Me and you are false concepts..., that's another thread perhaps.)

We must be careful as we become more skilled that we do not become inattentive again. Inspirational teachers and sempai are those that choose to pay attention in the moment despite the fact that thier skill affords them the pitfall/luxury or wandering.

So aikido, for me, is about seeing my true face and the challenge is not to escape from what I see.



06-29-2000, 11:35 AM
IMHO, fear is a fantasy. No one is afraid of flying, they are afraid of their fantasy of crashing. No one is afraid of heights, they are afraid of their fantasy of falling. No fantasy = no fear. Besides, IMHO, fear as a fantasy is an internal focus of awareness. To feel safe it is best to keep the focus of awareness external.

Tenshinkai Aikido

06-30-2000, 01:28 PM
I would like to quote Kensho Furuya: "Human beings are afraid of what they don't know."

I have found this statement to be remarkably true. Why are people afraid of public speaking? They don't know the reaction the crowd will give them. Why are people afraid of death? Because, though they say they have faith, they still don't know what lies beyond the realm of life.

"Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?"


07-01-2000, 11:05 AM
"Fear is the mind killer" MuaDib.

07-01-2000, 01:07 PM
Something to add: A famous quote by Franklin Delano Roosevelt:

"We have nothing to fear but fear itself." So many people have heard this, but so few understand what it means...


07-03-2000, 01:16 PM
akiy wrote:
So, is it all just about realizing, facing, and conquering our fears?

-- Jun

No, only the irimi part. The tenkan part is for realizing, facing, and conquering our anger. Of course, it's not all about overcoming fear and anger either. It's also about overcoming every other thing that gets between us and this moment, between us and the heart of God

07-05-2000, 05:31 PM
I'd like to add two things to this discussion. Both about the nature of fear. One strategic, and one tactical, so to speak!
My first thought is that Fear is very much like Hope, which is - as has been mentioned above - something that only applies to the future.. Never the present. This suggests that a good way to deal with it, to not dwell upon it, is to practice Mindfulness. To exist only in the present moment. Breathe, and nothing else..
The second is that for there to be fear there must be other - that is we only fear that which we do not know, that which is not part of us as fully integrated beings. This can be both externally (the bully at the bar) or internally (but not integrated - such as a fear of commitment, or spiders ;)). Taoism teaches (and I think Buddhism, but I'm less au fait with that so open to correction) that there is no 'other' - that everything is us, and we everything. Opening ourselves up to this totally (in the words of Baz Lehrman - "If you find out how, let me know.."!) means that nothing exists which is not part of us, therefore there can be nothing to fear...
My 2p worth.

07-05-2000, 08:24 PM
Usul "Muad'Dib" said in my favourite book: "I must not fear, fear is the mind-killer, fear is the little death that brings total obliteration, I must face my fears, I must permit them to pass over me and through me..." Forgive me Mr. Herbert if some of that is wrong, I haven't seen the book or movie in 4 years.
Anyway, in my non professional opinion, fear stems from one of two basic foundations:

1. Loneliness (when one's environment is Ma-ai not Maai.)

2. Addiction to anything but natural substances, 'natural' in this sense meaning 'proper'. Foods, drugs (prescription or the sneaky stuff), beverages (biru or root biru), sex (or that solo thing) must all fit neatly into ma-ai, in order to bridge this otherwise chaotic gap. "Moderation" spoken by a person in a stable environment is the spice of life. "Moderation" abused to rationalise ego-driven behaviour is pure poison for the brain, spine, and heart.

Like the lyric in that Mighty Mighty Bosstones song "I'm not a coward, I've just never been tested," test your courage, push your mind to its limits, and drink a half gallon of your ego and propose a toeast with the divine Creator to being born again. 8). Or keep living in the fearful matrix of your own mind 8(. Or completely disregard everything you've just read...haha

Drew Gardner == sempai/sensei/kohai/cerveza kudasai 8)

07-05-2000, 08:46 PM
A mind filled with fear is like a house built on porous limestone, it's only a matter of time before a sink hole swallows it.

Notre Dameus..(spelling's have been altered for anonymity)..
life is like a box of chocolates, you have to take a small bite out of each before you can throw the nasty fruit filled ones at innocent bystanders.

Dibuje Jardinero..
one who can learn the ways of a tranquil world, and can share them with others who learn of the ways, will flood his/her mind with pure joy and pleasure indefinitely. =) aren't I a sweetheart? 8).

Ueshiba Morihei..
Since Ancient Days
Studying in the Two Ways,
Both of the Sword and of the Pen,
Has brought realization in both the Body and in the Soul. 8)

--Drew Jutsu

07-05-2000, 11:39 PM
To me, it is impossible to get rid of fear, or trandscend it, nor is it desirable to do so. It is about knowing when you are feeling it, knowing why you are feeling it, knowing what your reaction is to it, and knowing what you can do about it, to the best of your ability at that time. Thus the experience of fear is transformed.

07-05-2000, 11:58 PM
I also find it very hard to believe that you can or would want to counter our innate biological safety net. Fear is a neat physiological reaction to play with in your training, forcing you to deal with the huge amounts of adrenlin that are coursing through your system. I think the folks in here who have been in an actual combat or life/death situation know that fear really cant be "conquered", but maybe it can be dealt with.

07-07-2000, 12:22 AM
Than what, of those people (samurai for instance) who were 100% ready to die, by the sword, or their own dagger? They were raised not to feel fear or pain, so do you think they did?


Chuck Clark
07-07-2000, 12:47 AM
Who told you that samurai were raised to not feel pain or fear?

Possibly they were raised to understand pain and fear and do what was necessary anyway.

It's not the same thing.

07-07-2000, 12:57 AM
Nick wrote:
Than what, of those people (samurai for instance) who were 100% ready to die, by the sword, or their own dagger? They were raised not to feel fear or pain, so do you think they did?
Would you call that living? I wouldn't. They weren't call the "walking dead" for nothing.

-- Jun

07-07-2000, 05:34 AM

Nobody, not even the samurai of old, could be raised not to feel fear or pain. They weren't cyborgs in my opinion. The fact that they didn't show fear or pain through facial and body expression certainly does not mean they did not feel it. Seppuku was excruciatingly painful I believe. So was the way in which Jesus Christ bled to death with nails in his hands and feet. Samurai (and Jesus) lived lives of self-sacrifice, with glimpses of pleasure I'm sure, and certainly wouldn't have chosen to die unless they absolutely had no other choice. In conclusion, Jesus was a Samurai!!!

Gandhi was a samurai, only his spear had transcended (oh no, not that word again) the "evolution etched in blood" (Saotome Mitsugi Shihan "Aikido and the Harmony of Nature") and become a hikari no jo, a symbol of his divine enlightenment. I read Herman Hesse's Siddhartha, and remember liking the book very much, he was undoubtedly a samurai in his own right. I have a feeling Mohammed was too, but I have not read very much of the Koran and other Holy Muslim texts as of yet. Were these people Messengers? Yes, I think so, and so were/are many other people just like you and me. 8).


07-07-2000, 11:25 PM
Yes I think they felt fear and pain. As a student of military history across cultures, warriors didnt learn to NOT feel fear, they learned to accept it and overcome it. In a very small way, it is like the feeling you get before playing a sporting event, nausea, trembling and shakes, except on a much higher level. (This is from source texts, not my experience).
From my experience of pain, (lengthy) most of the smaller scrapes, bruises and bumps anyone can learn to live with, but training to overcome the pain from a slashing cut that disembowels or dismembers is impossible. The innate physiological reaction (shock) might numb you from the pain (and keep you standing in the face of danger) but this is certainly not the result of training to resist pain.

07-09-2000, 08:46 PM
Forgive my bad choice of words. They did feel pain, but were trained to ignore it as best they could. It was a bad choice of words and I apologize for that.


07-09-2000, 10:17 PM
Chuck Clark wrote:
Who told you that samurai were raised to not feel pain or fear?

Possibly they were raised to understand pain and fear and do what was necessary anyway.

It's not the same thing.

Here's my two cents :) I agree with Chuck.

I believe that Samurai felt pain and fear even more than the average person, because they knew the reality of each more than the average person. Knowing they could be called upon to give their life at any moment undoubtedly heightened their awareness of pain and fear.
However, because they lived with it regularly, they probably could handle it better when they needed to "blank it out" to do what was necessary.
I have a calligraphic quote on the wall by my desk at work that I copied from one of Saotome Sensei's books It says "The samurai is the first to feel pain for the people, and the last to feel pleasure."

07-10-2000, 12:13 AM
If you look at many of the writings of samarai(sp?), you see talk of, at the very least, dying to defeat your opponent(I saw this in another thread round here somewhere). This reflects something more deeply cultural than can be readily appreciated, but it is a way to combat fear. Many honor codes throughout the world were used specifically(sometimes explicitly) to mitiage natural behavior. For example, if it is considered a dishonour to be a coward, then one might avoid being a coward to avoid dishonour(or other negative stimuli). Look at cultures around the world for this- in Viking(again, sp?) culture, AFAIK, warriors who died in battle went to Vauhala, whereas those who did not did not receive so glorious a fate. I'm certainly not an expert on japanese culture of teh 14th,15th,16th centuries, but from what I've absorbed from popular culture, etc, it seems that honor was extremely important in this kind of culture. If to be dishonored is considered worse than death(or indeed in the case of dishonor great enough to force the bearer to commit seppuku[correct use of word?]), than why should you fear death in battle? What you fear more greatly is dishonor in battle- there is still fear, but it is no longer fear of death, it is fear of something different. May appear like you don't show any fear, but rather its just not showing fear of what is expected.

07-10-2000, 12:28 PM
Hey folks,

This ended up being quite a long thread, eh? It seems as if people are approaching this question with the idea that "fear" is something separate from us and therefore can be conquered/shouldn't be conquered. I wonder should we even try to "do" something with our fear? Is it something that is other or separate from us?

The physical reaction to a threat (percieved or real) is called the Tachey Psyche Effect. Sweaty palms, dry mouth, increased heartrate etc. (Fight or flight syndrome,eh.) I personally don't believe this physical reaction should be equated with the idea of fear. Fear is a product of thought and therefore it is either in the past or future, (ie. memory of an injury creates fear of repeating the injury in the future.) Fear is never present in the moment.

Of course, the physical reaction to a threat (Tachey Psyche Effect) can and often is present in the moment and becoming familliar with these physical symptoms, as they occur in our own bodies, can help us maintain a certain level of calm in a chaotic and/or threatening situation.

Understanding that fear is a product of our thought and therefore not separate from us,( find this out through your own questioning - don't take my word for it), one can understand the "root" of all fear and not find oneself constantly trimming the branches of fear.

Yuh think?


[Edited by Russ on July 10, 2000 at 11:32am]