Thursday, February 16, 2012


Q.- What is fear?
Ans.- (Present in a dictionary) It is the unpleasant feeling you have when you think that you are in danger or something might harm you.

Fear is a part of our mighty and intelligent defense system. We know that our brain is a great calculator (by calculator I mean that it can process and imagine the things whether we know or not). When we face a less known or unknown circumstance, to protect us our defense system switch-on its special tool- 'Fear'. At that stage of mind, our brain (note the difference between brain and mind) stops processing and noticing unnecessary things and starts to anticipate the less known events with the information we had previously. By this way, it makes our mind ready for any type of unwanted circumstance.

Fear displayed is always true, but the reason behind it is sadly most of the time false or unwanted.

Now, I am going to discuss about our 'false fear'. According to Patanjali, an ancient Indian philosopher, " avidya, asmita, raag, dvesh, abhinivesh, klesh
(False understanding (of life) causes ego, desire, hatred, fear and distress) 
Well yes, it is the simple truth, the reason for (most of) fear is just our misunderstandings and lack of knowledge.

Here is a classical example by Dr. David J. Schwartz in his book " The Magic of Thinking Big"-
"During World War II, the (U.S.) Navy made sure that all of its new recruits either knew how to swim or learned how. Non-swimming recruits were put into swimming classes. In a superficial sort of way, it was amusing to see young, healthy men terrified by few feet of water. The fear those men displayed was real. Yet all that stood between them and the defeat of that fear was one drop into the water below. On more than one occasion, I saw young man "accidentally" pushed off the board. The result : FEAR DEFEATED" (sequence shortened)

It tells us something important- the situation causes fear but the action taken cures it. He also told later in that chapter of the book about a interesting but shocking fact that most of the beds are occupied by patients suffering from 'emotionally induced sickness' (no illness, just emotional disturbance) of a common U.S. hospital (at the time book was written). The problem which I think with these patients is that they either lack affection and self-confidence or want sympathy. They must realize that few words of sympathy may provide solace but not the solution.

True fear is all-together different (True fear signifies fear caused by situations which are not under control of a person). People believing in luck may call it as 'ill-fate' or religious people may call it as 'God's will', etc. In this situation, the person is truly handicapped and the actual purpose of fear is fulfilled here. The person then just try to control the situation by whatever ways he can. For instance, say thanks to adrenaline and other hormones which alert the person and allow him/her to self-protect.

Hence, even fear has two faces, just like a coin.  

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