There Is No Suffering 106

We have anxiety because we feel threatened by our circumstances—whether it is our health, our security, our ideas, our perceptions, our feelings, or any number of other things. The anxiety of fear stems from our attachment to ourselves; we see ourselves as being permanent, but we must come to directly realize that everything about ourselves is transient, constantly changing. To come to such awareness requires contemplation.

An elderly gentleman came to me seeking advice. He confided that he was not so much afraid of death as he was afraid that others were taking advantage of him. He said he spent all of his time giving to others, yet people always wanted more. For him, death was not a threat, but a release from this other fear. I told him we all come to this world for different reasons. Some come to this world solely to pay back previous debts. Others come to borrow, or accumulate, more debts. Still others come to lend things, or help others. The elderly man was happy then, deciding that he had returned to the world in order to repay old debts and give things away. This man is not enlightened, so he still has fears, but, with a better understanding of cause and consequence and an acceptance of karma, his fears have been lessened.

Once we understand the nature of our existential fears, they will no longer be a problem. The first order of business though, is to acknowledge and identify our fears. Of course if we were to eliminate our self-centeredness all fears would disappear. To truly have no fear you must contemplate and eventually experience the emptiness of self and the five skandhas.