Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly.
But the teacher said she had to do it and gave her the instructions for the battle.
The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful.
They both had their weapons. The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?”
Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.” Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?”
Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say.
If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.”
In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear.
The Conversations with God (book) series, which has had a profound influence on my life, describes fear as False Evidence Appearing Real.
I am sure you could recall instances from your life when you imagined the worst about a situation, but somehow those fears never materialised, and things turned out much better than you expected.
One of the main weapons fear has at its disposal is its ability to spin false stories. It holds us back by creating very compelling narratives in our heads to control our decisions and actions.
In the past, I used to be an over-thinker and jump to all sorts of unpleasant conclusions because of fear. But what has helped me immensely over the past 2-3 years is realising how much of my fears are nothing more than assumptions.
Assumption by definition means a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof.
What is one thing in your life you have not been doing because of fear? What will really happen if you take action despite your fears?
Perhaps like in the case of the young warrior in this story, you will find that the fears of your imagination may never materialise in reality
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The short story was excerpted from When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chödrön
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