Fear is not only a response of the adrenal glands but also a psychological process. To understand fear, not intellectually but actually to be free of it, one requires very keen observation, one has to look at it very closely. When the mind – which has been trained in a culture that accepts fear as part of life with all its violence – understands fear then perhaps we can be completely free not only consciously but also unconsciously. To go into this question of fear one has to be aware, that is one has to watch one’s own fear, not the fear that one is told about or the fear of the unknown, but the actual fear that one has. Krishnamurti.
Fear is such a powerful force that shapes our lives. It comes in subtle gradations, from a mild sense of unease or insecurity to a full tidal wave of panic. I can be afraid of so many things: of the dark, of death, of the way people view me, of my future. Fear is a pervasive thread in the fabric of our minds.
When I watch fear closely, as the quote above suggests I do, then I realise that there is a “me” within that wants to control fear, or banish it, or justify it. This core sense of “me”: where does it come from? How is it bound up with my fear? Is the mind-fear reaction creating the sense of me as it goes along? Does the me exist prior to the fear? Indeed, prior to any mental state? Or not?
The point of raising such questions is not to find the “right” answer, but to bring the factor of fear very powerfully and intimately into our consciousness, as an object of awareness.
Krishnamurti suggests that to be free of fear, we must watch it closely. But not watch it from the “outside”, trying to manipulate it. He suggests that when I realise that the fear and the me are inseperable, when I understand that the fear is creating the me that is so afraid, then the division between the two drops. The fear then becomes just a manifestation of my inner weather system. It comes and goes freely and does not shape the contours of my life deeply. It is no longer a problem.
I feel this is a very subtle suggestion, and it requires real insight and probing to grasp all its various implications. I have accepted fear as a part of my life, and hence am not able to learn about it deeply enough, perhaps. This needs to change, in all of us.