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How Do You Deal With Fear?

Posted by spritzophrenia on June 27, 2011

Fear‘s been a part of my life recently.

Actually, it comes and goes regularly but it’s only in the last few years that I’ve really noticed it and named it for what it is. “I won’t get a good mark in my studies” [fear]. “I better turn those lights off, we are spending too much money.” [fear]. “I won’t be able to sustain being a good father and partner.” [fear] “If I don’t blog/tweet/facebook people will forget about me” [fear]

Here’s a few snippets from “Effortless Mastery”, a book aimed at musicians by Kenny Werner.

Stephen Nachmanovich, in his book Free Play, writes of five fears that the Buddhists speak of that block our liberation: fear of loss of life, fear of loss of livelihood; fear of loss of reputation; fear of unusual states of mind; and fear of speaking before an assembly. He points out that fear of speaking before an assembly may seem light compared with the others, but we may take that to mean speaking up, or performing. Our fear of performing is “profoundly related to fear of foolishness, which has two parts: fear of being thought a fool (loss of reputation) and fear of actually being a fool (fear of unusual states of mind).”



Then he says: “Let’s add fear of ghosts.” I would take that to mean the implant of fear by authority figures no longer present in our lives, but the echo of whose voice remains to control us (teachers, parents and so forth).

Werner goes on to say that fear originates in our “little mind”, which can be called the ego. He goes on to say that the goal of Indian music is the dissolution of the ego and union with the divine. So I guess that’s one approach to losing fear. (He says much more, the book is a must for any performer.)

Whenever I think of fear it reminds me of the classic novel Dune. “Fear is the mind killer”. As I recall, through superhuman (supernatural?) and drug assisted control of his own mind, the hero is able to conquer fear. Very much like the “cognitive behavioural” approach I’ve come across through my therapy. Essentially, you have to retrain your mind to tell it positive thoughts instead of negative. It seems like a long and hard journey at times.

So, how do you deal with fear?


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9 Responses to “How Do You Deal With Fear?”

  1. SugarPop said

    I can relate… Fear stalks me always. While I am well rested, calm and relaxed, I can maintain a Big Gap between me and my fears. But when I am over tired, upset or stressed, the Big Gap disappears and my fears slowly creep up on me, seeping into me like the slow death of a sea fog. Before I know it, I’m all but consumed. Sometimes, I can find the edge of the fear fog and haul my weary mind out, stand tall and proud and march forward to create the Big Gap again. Other times I need help to navigate my way back to myself through the fog. When I’m at my most lost, “rethinking” my fears in the positive does help, but I seem to need to talk about it with someone close to me too, before I can vanquish the fears fully.

    Thanks for your honesty 🙂

  2. 'Seph said

    Interesting topic, fear.

    (I recently posted a sort of explantion of a new tattoo (dragon) on my back. You can check it out at


    It has everything to do with Fear – or at least battling Fear and overcoming it).

    Also interesting from a movie point of view.
    The Green Lantern (with the yellow power ring of Fear held by Sinestro). Hal Jorden thought that a Green Lantern was to be immune to fear. He learns that it isn’t that he’s immune to fear but rather that he’s courageous and can confront and overcome fear.

    …seems to be a theme of late…

    • 'Seph said

      “Worry, anxiety; Fear of what might yet be. Fear kills the Future; murder’s its potential; Slays the perpetual Now, for it is in the Now that Fear’s price is paid…”

    • Great stuff, I like your tatt from the pic I saw somewhere, will check out your blog. Thanks Seph 🙂

  3. 'Seph said

    Whenever I think of fear it reminds me of the classic novel Dune. “Fear is the mind killer”. As I recall, through superhuman (supernatural?) and drug assisted control of his own mind, the hero is able to conquer fear.

    Can’t help but wonder if – in certain degrees and doses – fear can be a good thing.
    A man (hero) that has conquered fear may very well be a man who no understanding of danger. After all, isn’t fear the thing that keeps us careful?

    • Baron Richthoffen said

      Yes. Only madmen have no fear. Fear seems to me to only be a negative thing when it is unrealistic or disproportionate to its potential to cause damage. In some respects it is not only necessary but also positive, e.g from the above discussion “fear of not being a good father”. A realisation that failure to put appropriate time and effort into raising your offspring is a bad thing can’t in itself be criticised. It only becomes negative when that fear causes stress that impairs performance in some way or becomes obsessive. The alternative to fear is either complete separation from the perils inherent in the real world, or possibly the worlds biggest case of smug git syndrome.

      • Yes, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. “Little” fears are healthy, you’re absolutely right. I guess for me, often the fears become too “big”, which is where they become problematic. Thanks for the insight 🙂

        • I think that’s really the difference between these two kinds of fears.
          One is a little ‘f’ fear, while the other (the truly dangerous and destructive one) is the big “F” Fear.

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