There are a shit ton of fears known to man. None of which we are here to support, deny, or tell you if they are right or wrong. We are here to share our experience with our own fears and those that are projected onto us. In order to do so, we must first define fear. Unfortunately, you have to be willing to work with your own fears to get this. Hold on tight! Here we go.
Fear is an effect. Yep. That’s it. You have heard enough psycho babble definitions. This is philosophy. Therefore, in order to have fear, there must be a cause. Boy, oh boy, are we good at assigning the wrong cause to our fear. According to Vedanta teachings, or any yoga scripture worth its weight, your fear does not come from the boogeyman, death, money loss, distrust, heights, spiders, snakes, tight spaces and the like. The cause of your fear comes from four distinct places.
Here are the four causes with antidotes (for no extra charge).
Ignorance: as long as a person is ignorant in a certain area of life, there is fear. If you are afraid of the dark, it is because of the ignorance of your surroundings. Knowledge takes away all fear. Here’s a real life example. I was terrified of computers, iPads, hell, any tablet. I believed that with one touch of a button my fat thumbs could destroy my life or someone else’s. For years I avoided using any form of computer. Avoidance is a strategy that anyone with fear uses. Then my wife came onto the scene; a techie, cool person. She taught me just enough to make the fear disappear. The light of wisdom always dispels the darkness of ignorance; that’s the law.
Sense of otherness: This is seeing ourselves as separate from others, or just different. To be honest, I see everyone as separate from me. If you are being honest, so do you. The moment there is a “me”, “you”, “us” or “them”; fear is born. History has shown us that all too many times. Yet, our daily lives reflect it even more as we repeat history. Connection, unity, or oneness breeds peace, happiness and trust. The moment there is oneness fear evaporates.
Selfishness: Selfish people are destructive. They help themselves at the cost of others; consciously or unconsciously. Carnivores are afraid. Yet, they do the destroying. Herbivores are at peace. They do no harm. Try to take the words “I”, “me” or “my” out of your vocabulary. It’s almost impossible. There isn’t a person who is not selfish. The idea is to become less selfish and, thus, become less fearful. A student asked the great Swami Tirtha when his fear would be no more? Swami Tirtha replied to the question, “When shall I be free? When the “I” ceases to be.”
Attachment: Friends, attachment alone may encompass all the others. For attachment creates not only fear, but the other causes of it! It is a selfish, preferential, unilateral, binding and consuming love. Thus, it’s not love at all. Attachment to wealth leads to the fear of being impoverished. Attachment to social privilege leads to infamy. Attachment to the body leads to fear of discomfort, aging, viruses and disease.
Fun, right! All of these fears are due to our own attachments. Love is the answer. Love is identification, freeing, oneness and universal. Love and fear never exist together. But attachment and fear only exist together. Therefore, anytime there is fear in relationships, it is due to attachment.
Rina and I have a marriage that is full of fear, which makes it often full of shit. However, we maintain harmony, in spite of the fear, because we have identified the cause (hint it’s not the other person in any way, shape or form) thus, the proper solution can be implemented.
In families and marriages all four of the aforementioned character defects can be found. Add a pandemic and you have a shit show of epic proportions.
We aren’t afraid of COVID 19. The fear stems from our ignorance of it. We are not concerned if someone is vaccinated or not. We are selfish and want others to behave according to our beliefs. Our fear of dying from a virus isn’t about a virus. It’s about the attachment to our body. The fear of making our own decisions comes from the fear that is caused by otherness.
The next time fear begins to creep into your family or marriage, look at yourself and make sure your side of the street is clean. Once you have done the work; your work is done.