What makes us fearless?
As children, we seem to have no fears at all.
We have no concept of danger.
So if we aren’t born with them, where do our fears come from?
Many psychologists believe that much of our behaviour is learned, either from our own experiences or under the guiding hand of a parent who tries to steer us out of harms way.
Difficulties arise when what our parents find scary, influences what we find scary too. It’s okay if it’s a fear of poisonous snakes. But not so good if the fears are unhealthy, like avoiding something new (just because it’s new). If you want to test the theory, if you’ve ever found yourself afraid of something with no “back story”, ask a family member if it’s something they’re also afraid of.
In the Shambhala teachings, there is a belief that fearlessness lies on the other side of fear; it’s understanding and processing our fear that makes us fearless. Sometimes we can do that on our own, but often it’s helpful to have a teacher to guide us or someone we can talk with.
Here is Pema Chödrön in a brief video on this topic.
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Copyright Delphi Ellis