From a talk by Adi Da Samraj, February 8, 1980
We are always feeling some level of anxiety or subtle fear.
If you investigate yourself thoroughly enough, you’ll find that you are constantly causing the injection into your system of the toxic chemicals of this mood of fear. And this is controlling the state of your mind and body all the time, through the subtlest kinds of chemicals coming out of the hypothalamus.
You are chronically triggering the fear and stress mechanisms. It happens automatically – and so you’re evoking thoughts of bad possibilities all the time as a reflection of that. And you are also conditioning the bloodstream with this negative chemistry.
We are always in a chronic state of fear because of self-possession and self-contraction. We do not naturally inhere in the infinite happiness of our natural radiance, the radiance of life that is prior to this body and mind, and which outshines it completely.
The mechanism of fear is a tool at the periphery of the born personality. It is a reaction, like when touching fire. It is a recoil that keeps you from getting burned. Hopefully, it keeps you from suffering some of the threats from without. Fear is a useful mechanism. The cat uses fear to control specifically threatening events. On the other hand, the cat is not addicted to fear.
The cat is not existing as fear. But the human being is addicted to fear – a psychological fear.
Humans have taken the mechanism that is natural to the vital state of the body and made it a chronic form of their physical being. Whereas animals’ sudden moment of fear produces a chemical excitement for a specific purpose, your chronic fear is chemical excitement for no purpose! And you always look at the world through your fear, thinking that you have some great philosophical thing to overcome, that you have to find some reason to get rid of your fear. But actually, it is just an attitude of the body that you are doing. It has no ultimate philosophical significance. You can feel and breathe and relax beyond it. There is nothing you need to take into account about it.
Breathe, feel, and relax beyond it. Do not introduce that chemistry into the biological stream, the stream of water in your own body. Look first at what is before you, and only then make philosophy, because there are no metaphysical means, ultimately, to get rid of fear.
You simply have to discover that fear is a very ordinary mechanism that you have available to you for specific situations, but which you have made into a chronic mood. And then you interpret your own existence, and the existence of everything, relative to that fear. This fear that you suffer is not anything that has any depth. It is at the periphery of the being. It is not profound and deep. And we can simply relax beyond it, feel beyond it.
We assume our life is a question that we have to answer before we have the right to be free of fear. Whereas fear is just a mechanism that has an ordinary use, which we have to master. It is not our natural state. It is only one of the possible states. So, when we enter into right relationship to all of our possible states, we realize our natural state, you see. And then we are like the cat, who is not characterized by fear, although he is sometimes afraid and gets aggressive, and is attacked and rolls into a ball, you see.
The very being, the life-principle that is present as the cat, is not in a state of fear. And the cat does not need to go through any great, profound, philosophical cycle of investigations of the universe to be free of fear. So, you do not need great knowledge to be liberated from fear. The cat has none, and he is not at all afraid, except when under immediate threat. We can be free of fear in this very moment, in any moment – even in the moment when you might think that some degree of fear is totally appropriate.
Fear collapses attention. Therefore, in a situation where fear might seem appropriate because of the circumstances you are in, it would still be better to be without fear so that you could have complete attention in the moment to deal with the threat. Fear is just for that moment when you need to withdraw your finger from the flame, but it gets prolonged. Fear is simply and basically a physical reaction at the level of the nervous system, and it is only that. Just straighten up and remember to breathe. You are obliged to see fear in just this way, and to awaken with the will to transcend fear for the rest of your life.
It is interesting to find out what happens after death and so forth. It is interesting to examine the process of life and death while you are alive, but there is no reason to examine it afraid. There is no reason to die afraid, resisting the process that is born into you, and along with you. It is built right in there like it is built into the flower. Fear does not cause the flower to become corrupted, contracting from the process of its own life cycle.
It says, in the Upanishads, that wherever there is an “other”, fear arises. That is all that has to happen. No demons, no bows and arrows, no nuclear war. Only an “other” has to arise for fear to arise. How does the sense of otherness develop? Through the self-contraction, in which one feels separated from what one observes, and is limited by it. But fear, you see, because it has such profound consequences in our lives, tends also to be considered very profoundly, and we all talk as if we are all looking for some great answer that will ultimately make us stop being mortally afraid as a chronic state. But that is not what is required. We are to be in our natural state, feeling and breathing whole bodily into the life principle in which we exist – not full of fear, doubt, contraction. So, you must be completely free of fear as an ordinary matter.
Your state, from moment to moment, must be utterly free of fear. There is no way you can go through the fundamental transformations that are real human and spiritual life until you fundamentally transcend this matter of fear. You can have all kinds of experiences, certainly. But the matter of real freedom depends entirely on the transcendence of fear.