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Freedom from Fear
Deepen your understanding of the different levels of fear that manifest in your body and mind and learn how mindfulness and loving-kindness can help you find freedom from fear. Read the following articles and listen to the dharma talks about facing your fears by Phillip Moffitt, then in your mindfulness practice reflect on the questions provided.
1. Ask yourself if you feel controlled by fear? Does it characterize your thoughts and actions more than you’d like? Observe closely how fear manifests in both your body and your mind. Where does it show up in your body? What form does it take in your mind?
2. What is the most difficult aspect of fear for you? Is it actually being in a scary situation or is it your anticipation of being in the situation? Likewise when there is something fearful in your past, which is more difficult — your actual experience of it or your fear response now? Be mindful of how much you are afraid of fear.
3. Are there people in your life who are driven by fear? How does it feel to be present with them and their fear? What effect does it have on your body-mind? How does it effect your wanting to be around them? What effect does it seem to have on them? When you see the suffering that fear causes others, can you respond with compassion?
4. Choose one kind of situation in which you are chronically afraid and make it the focus of your mindfulness practice. Begin each day by remembering the fear and saying loving-kindness phrases for the one who is afraid. Don’t get lost in the content and don’t identify with it, but rather treat fear as arising from conditions and respond with compassion. Don’t choose an overwhelming fear to work with initially, but rather choose something that is moderately fearful.