Q: How can we overcome fear through meditation?
A: We are practicing meditation to have a sense of clarity, and to have a recognition to the nature of the mind itself.
When we don’t know how to react, when we don’t know how to plan, when we don’t know how to solve this problems and issues, when we don’t know how to offer a solution, then we fear. When we don’t know how to protect our family, when we don’t know how to solve the negative consequences of our own action, then we fear. So, the reality of the fear is a state of mind from the state of unknown, the consequences of not being really clear with the state of mind.
So, I think, the meditation, not just definitely help only that, but help much broader than that. Because the meaning of meditation that we are willing to practice is not just to have a temporary happiness, it’s not to bring the excitement like climbing the mountains or riding a bike. The meaning of the meditation is to bring inner peace in our state of mind, being truly independent from all the illusion of the state of mind. And that is what we are looking for. And therefore, in order to practice meditation, I think practicing again and again, in the sutra level, with a pure intention, and then examining, and then analyzing your intention again and again.
Having a sense of clarity on your intention again and again, and reminding yourself with the consequences, and then reminding yourself with the meaning of the cause and effect of the life, and then also reminding yourself with the sense of genuine self-awareness. And I think these are very important.
So, the meaning of meditation and to fully develop the meaning of meditation needs a very solid foundation. Solid foundation does not appear just because you want to do meditation. To fulfill the meaning of meditation will come only when you see the reality of the samsara. It’s not in the temples’ wall, it’s not in the teachings texts. The samsara is yourself, because you yourself have lack of awareness and the sense of clarity. And when you realize that, and then the first genuine step in the path of Buddha Shakyamuni will be born.
And I think, we should not just practice meditation based on the fear only, but to benefit all the sentient beings, to benefit yourself. But we need to have a broader understanding.
Some people they say,’ I need to control my mind. I need to control my anger. I need to control my jealousy.’ If you have this perspective, even the meditation cannot help you. Because they say, ‘Oh yeah, I need to control！My husband is not happy. My wife is not happy. My family is not happy. My family members, and my coworker, they’re doing this. I’m doing that. And I want this, but they want that. I’m not happy. I’m not fulfilled.’ That sense of unfulfilled is always there.
So, I think, ourselves having this mindset that ‘I need to control’ need to abandon. Because if you have this mindset that,’ I cannot control my husband, my wife, my family, my coworker, my company, my people, my neighbors’, and then you come with the same attitude in your meditation. And then you say,’ I need to control my jealousy. I need to control my anger. I need to control my competitive attitude to other people. I need to control. ’ But if you start with that, then you will lose right away. Because that’s not how it works. You cannot control. If your perspective starts with ‘I want to control my anger’, then it’s not going to work. But also if you say, ‘Oh, I cannot control my anger, it’s just too big and too much for me’, that also will not work.
Seeing the reality of the anger as it is. Seeing the reality of the jealousy as it is. And then understanding the cause and effect and recreating a sense of scenario, not in the worst condition, but recreating a scenario and understanding ‘Where’s the jealousy coming from? And where does the jealousy dissolve to? When the jealousy is actually working, how does it really influence my attitude, my behavior, my decision, my perspective to other people, to my neighbors, to my family? ’And in that very scenario, where is the jealousy itself in that very moment, regarding shape, regarding image, regarding weight, regarding any definition that you can find.
And then you will understand that there is no sense of the absolute jealousy, that you’ve been believing that you want to control. The jealousy doesn’t exist in a very permanent form. And therefore, there is nothing to control. The definition of control means, something is here and you take that, but in a definition of jealousy, anger, all that, it’s not something from the left hand to the right hand, where you can grab and remove and replace.
So, when you understand that, then you understand you are the samsara. There is no samsara written in the teachings of the Lord Buddha. There is no samsara existed in the temples’ wall. The reality of the samsara is that your state of mind that is unwilling to give up to the reality of the illusion that we firmly believe, and that is firmly influenced by the state of the ignorance. And then we will say, ‘Ah! I’ve been fooling myself. Therefore, I should find the solution. Therefore, I should definitely practice. ’And that genuine motivation will definitely come at that time.
The other dangerous part is that, the other dangerous group of people where they mislead themselves is that, when they discovered the jealousy doesn’t exist, when they discover the anger doesn’t exist, and then their ego comes. And then they say, ‘Oh, look at me! I realize now everything is emptiness! Everything is emptiness!’ And then they have this kind of a very egoistic attitude, self-centered egoistic attitude. At the same time, they talk a lot about emptiness. That kind of emptiness attitude will also not solve the issue. So, don’t go too extreme on both sides. So, that’s that.
With love and respect from Kalu Rinpoche
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26th. Apr. 2020