Thursday, July 12, 2012

how to defeat fear

Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. But the teacher said she had to do it and gave instructions for the battle.

The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?”

Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.”

Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?”

Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.”

In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear.

Pema Chödrön

Too often as women, we are unwilling to do battle. We have much to learn from the Eastern traditions and martial arts about this.

Not all battle requires aggression...or blood...or violence.

Sometimes, battle means being willing to show up and face down the opponent...attacker...problem. Sometimes the opponent is just a bully who needs to know that we may be afraid, but we will not give in or give up.

Sometimes that is enough.


Susan O'Neil said...

This really spoke to me today. thanks.

Deb Shucka said...

I love Pema. What a wonderful story, and a lovely reminder about where the true power lives.