How to Use the Power of Mindfulness to Live Fearless and Free
Have you ever asked yourself what do you really believe in? What you put your full trust or faith in?
Most people don’t ever ask themselves these questions nor do they understand how having trust or faith in life brings about peace, happiness, courage and wisdom. In fact, the great Sages would tell us that faith alone is the indispensable virtue that will allow you to navigate the turbulent waters of life.
That is to say, to have faith or trust in something greater than you- such as the Absolute Consciousness, the Universe, Truth and Love, God, Allah, Jah, Spirit, Shiva, the Light or Mother Nature, allows us to relax and rest in the feeling that you are being take care of, that there is a higher power in life that is guiding you to truth, wisdom, and love.
Without the virtue of faith or trust firmly established within us, it is very easy for us to get confused, filled with doubts, afraid and anxious about the future, or feeling hopeless and helpless.
The Root of Fear
Where there is no faith or trust, fear is sure to arise in the most obvious or subtle ways. It is common for people to believe that they are not afraid of anything, not even death, but most people live with an underlying fear that one day they will die. This fear of death is really the fear of the unknown. How will you know what will happen at the time you leave your physical body and what will come next, until that time actually comes?
This all comes down to the root fear: the fear of death or the fear of the unknown. This root fear affects us in ways we could never imagine. Many people resist change in their lives, as they don’t know what the future will look like and have a hard time letting go of trying to control their lives. We feel uncomfortable not knowing what the outcome of the future will be, and thus want to control as much of our lives as possible in order to feel safe and at peace. When in fact, the very nature of trying to control the different aspects of our lives inherently creates great resistance to what is happening in the moment, and the inevitable outcome is stress, dissatisfaction, and disappointment in its wake.
People often prefer to stay in stuck patterns, such as an unhealthy relationship or a stressful job situation, because the comfort of knowing what will take place in their daily routine outweighs the risk of the unknown future to come. This is the fear of the unknown. This fear plays out in so many facets in our lives: from the fear of making the wrong decision, to the fear of losing a relationship, from the fear of choosing the right career path, to the fear of missing out. As the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh has so poignantly put,
“Anxiety, the illness of our time, comes primarily from our inability to dwell in the present moment.”
That is, fear arises because we can’t predict the future and feel uncomfortable with resting in the present moment and accepting it as it is. Often, we are constantly thinking about what will happen in the future and planning for the next days to come.
Developing Faith Through Mindfulness
To rest in the present moment is to see things clearly as they really are. That is, without the filters of ‚ “it shouldn’t be like that” or, “it should be like this“. It is to accept the moment without rejecting, denying, suppressing or avoiding what is present, and without grasping, clinging or attaching to the various experiences of each moment either. Living in the present moment is to allow each moment to come and go, unattached and without identifying with each moment – just observing or witnessing each moment as the unfoldment of life. Through this act of observing each moment as a silent unattached witness, the pure innate wisdom of your natural state will shine forth to guide you in the appropriate thought, word and deed at each moment.
Living in the present moment is to live with the fullest compassion, the purest knowledge, and the highest virtues. Present moment awareness is the ability to discern truth from untruth, peace from disharmony, and love from anger. That is, the purity of the moment will always guide you away from danger, negativity and harm, and towards peace, love and equanimity. To be in the present moment, is ultimately to rest in our True Nature, our own True Self. And as the great sage Shri Ramana Maharshi has said,
“Be the Self; there will be no second thing to cause you fear.”
That is, our True Self is fearless, without doubt, and eternal peace itself. What better way to eradicate fear than to rest in the truth which dispels all fear?
What is Fear?
Fear is actually a projection of thoughts and the outcome of how we perceive reality. If we perceive a snake for a rope, and are afraid of the illusory snake, than fear will prevail. If however, we see that the snake is in reality a rope and are untouched by this appearance, than peace will prevail. Thoughts determine our perception of reality, and by letting go of all thoughts, especially those thoughts which bring out fear, we can rest in pure awareness which is peace eternal. In Sri Ramana Maharshi‘s words,
“What is fear? It is only a thought. If you remain your pure Self no fear can touch you. Why not then hold on to the pure awareness right now, while in the body, and be free from all fear?”
Practicing mindful living and being present in each moment is a life long practice. It is to maintain the, “‘witness consciousness” – observing each passing moment as though we are watching a play; unaffected by it and uninvolved with it. In this way, we can watch the play of life unfold and eventually we will come to see its magic, mystery, and divine intelligence: life is the‚ “Perfect Teacher” if you can see past its veil. Along with resting in the pure awareness of each moment, we can always call upon LOVE to guide our way. As His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said,
“The more you are motivated by Love, The more fearless & free your action will be.”
Living Fearless and Free
Love is our natural state, our True Nature, and when we rest in love, we rest in the True Self. As such, love will always guide as away from fear, as our natural state is fearlessness. When in doubt, we can ask, “What would love do?” and be guided by the pure force of unconditional love. In fact, if you don’t believe in anything, than believe in LOVE – as it will never let you down. Love will always bring you to peace and happiness. The day will come when you will finally realize that you are much more than the physical body. In fact, you’re ability to experience and perceive through your sacred temple called the body, is solely due to the consciousness present within you. This consciousness is undying – it is eternal. It will assure you that there is nothing to fear but fear itself. This pure consciousness is without end, it will never die. To remember this truth is to live without any fear, without any doubts. It is the very opposite of fear; faith. And as Amma Sri Karunamayi has said,
“Your faith is your greatest protection. If you have faith you have everything.”
To live as if there is only eternity is to live in utter peace, utter bliss. What will you choose?