Life Transformation Journey: From Fear to Fearlessness
Let’s start with a story from the book ‘How to be Happy Dammit’: There once was a man who had committed a crime. He was sent to the king for punishment. The king offered him 2 choices. One was that he could be hanged by a rope and the other was to be taken behind a big, dark, scary and mysterious iron door. The criminal quickly decided on the rope. The noose, while it was being slipped on the criminal, turned to the king and asked, “Out of curiosity, what’s behind the door?” The king paused and answered, “You know it’s funny. I offer everyone the same choices & nearly everyone picks the rope, but no one has ever asked me that question.” The noose, with heightened interest, asked again, “So please tell me, what is it?” “FREEDOM,” answered the king, “There is freedom behind the door, but it seems most people are so afraid of the unknown that they immediately take the rope.”
There are several questions that arise here. What is fear? Are we losing good opportunities in life due to fear? And how can overcoming fear help us transform our life?
Let’s begin with what is fear. Fear can be defined as our reaction to an unprecedented situation by the perception of danger, pain or losing someone, etc. Some may have a fear of animals, some of heights, some of water and so forth. The biggest fear in our lives is the fear of death. Have you ever thought about the root cause of fear? Avidya, or ignorance of reality, is the root cause of fear. Ignorance, for instance, about an animal harming you based on past impressions. The same applies to all kinds of fear. Pause and think about it. The same goes for the fear of death. It is created by the ignorance of reality. If we understand and accept the reality that nothing is permanent in life, then there is no fear of death.
The Bhagavad-Gita says:
देहिनोऽस्मिन्यथा देहे कौमारं यौवनं जरा | तथा देहान्तरप्राप्तिर्धीरस्तत्र न मुह्यति ||
It means just as an embodied soul passes from childhood to youth to old age, at the time of the death the soul passes into another body. It means the soul never dies. So, if we really think about what dies, the answer is nothing. So why fear death? Think it over. If we follow a life of self-discipline and truthfulness, there is no need to fear anything.
If we have faith in our skills and our potential, then we automatically become confident. Faith develops through self-trust & trust develops through self-belief. Let’s understand the difference between belief, trust and faith. Belief is the first step where we blindly believe on something without much thought process. After belief turns positive, it converts into trust, and after positive results trust turns into faith. Faith is the same as belief, except that it’s not blind but proven belief.
Here’s an example: A company HR recruits a man with the belief that the he has the potential to contribute to the company’s success. After evaluating his performance, the employer trusts him with more responsibilities. After repeated evaluation, the employer’s trust turns into faith and the employee gets promoted. After seeing his consistent performance, the employer is confident enough to share confidential information with the employee, without the fear of that information being leaked.
Understanding this analogy, we should strive to become fearless by starting to believe in our potential till we are confident enough and are able to transform our lives. This instils in us the ability to explore our hidden potentials, and we become much more efficient and focussed. And finally, our inner personality becomes so impervious that no fear can change our state of mind.