Embracing Fear

Generally, I think that the first level of fears are concerned with the part of us which is in nature.

The unconscious impulses that Freud talks about. And I think that there is a fear that if one lets go of rational control. Surrenders that, one will be animal-like in the sense of antisocial impulses. I think that’s the first fear. That there are things in oneself that are ugly, untenable, unsociable and so on.

That’s part of the fear. Part of one’s own animal. The fear is the loss of the separate entity. The loss of one’s individuality, the loss of one’s identity. The psychological dying, the loss of the experiencer or the knower. That’s part of what that fear is.

Fear is perhaps a frontward or a front emotional reaction for man’s lack of readiness to deal with the higher energy states and higher input and output that is connected with these other states of consciousness.

The fear is a protective mechanism. In the sense that he experiences a kind of free-floating anxiety or ambiguous fear about it. And that keeps him from getting too close to it. He isn’t ready. Or able to get close to it because he can’t do the necessary things to be able to live in those state of consciousness without doing destructive things to himself. He’s not pure enough.

I think fear is a result of impurity.

And impurity means, thoughts that define oneself in a “profane” sense. That is thoughts which define oneself as separate. As long as you are attached to those thought forms. You are going to fear, because it involves the extinction of that separate being. That separate conceptual entity. In my experience through guiding people through LSD experiences. There is the fear that many people experience as this chemical transformation that occurs in their bodies. Which leads them to the breakdown of all existing models that they had about how the universe works.

As that happens there are many people who experience intense fear

which makes them want to hold onto the structure they had. And they could say, “I am afraid, I am going insane,” meaning I am going into another space that I don’t have any control over on this level. In general, I would say, “Well, groovy, let’s go insane together. Here we go.”

In other words, it is my feeling that the only thing you have to fear is fear, in that sense that to the extent that you have enough faith or trust to let it happen, you always go through the next one and the next one and the next one.

In the Tibetan literature they say, “Embrace your ten thousand horrible demons and your ten thousand beautiful demons.” You’ve just got to take it all and keep going. All your fears have to be embraced, entertained, honored, and you go on with them.

There is a qualitative difference in my life now

In that, I do not experience a fear of death. As a real fear when I get into situations where death seems a real possibility.  Or violence, or something like that. I don’t have any of the usual or earlier kinds of reactions of anxiety or fear. And yet I do what is adaptive to protect the temple or body I’m working with. But I don’t do it out of fear. Because the fear of death seems somehow to have flown the coop somewhere along the way in this game. It certainly changes the nature of my living experience. Every day because each day can be whatever it is, and it’s all alright.


-Ram Dass, 1970


Image Credit: Alex Grey

17 thoughts on “Embracing Fear”

  1. I found this article very poignant and speaks very well to my own personal experiences. I am not yet sure how to embrace my fears. I am a little stuck and it is keeping me from moving forward in my life. This article helped me reflect more on this. Thank you.

  2. This is marvelous, I can relate to this very well. I experienced the fear on a wild shroom trip, I grasped myself before I slipped into that particular void, luckily. It ended up being the most beautiful experience for me.

  3. very true. you have to recognize your fears. I used to be someone who pushed them away and ignored them as a way of dealing. wasn’t a good idea..

  4. Even though I appreciate those ten thousand beautiful demons (should they not be angels?) I have to learn to embrace those deeper-seated fear demons that are truly frightening. I guess the beautiful demons are seducer-thoughts, that try to make us think the duality’s illusion is the only thing, and misguide us in doing this. Yes, nothing to fear when secure in the knowledge that we are centred in the moment that has no fear.

    • go furthur. imagine that we are not simply centered on this moment of no fear but that we are structure we are standing on and more. We are the ground we walk on, the sky we breath and the fullness of space that we float through.

      • For it seems you have stumbled upon another duality’s illusion, that you are centered in something that if you look past, you will see that you are everything you believe to be outside of you.

  5. fear due to ptsd and such is not in my opinion an impurity. but these neural pathways in the brain can change so there is less fear. but like you say you can not force the snake to shed its skin any faster than it is going. it is good to confront the fears but this is not a purity/impurity issue.

    • impurity does not mean you have something to be ashamed of, this is a christian version of impurity. Impurity in a more eastern sense is not seen as sin, but as something in your way of reaching pure bliss. We will get through the obstacles together.

        • If that is so than ‘been raped’ is a sin. Because that happening got pressed so hard on your mind that it’s very hard to let go of. It might well become a big obstacle in experiencing pure bliss. And if it is an obstacle that this person is unable to overcome, for you to call that a sin – (would you even label that person sinful?) – I think is very uncompassionate.

  6. “All your fears have to be embraced, entertained, honored, and you go on with them.” – fear has not to do with analizing or thinking, it has to be felt from a non fearful place as it is in the body. the desire to control thoughts or emotion by a state seems to me idealistic. and by that fear is not special, “all …have to be embraced, entertained, honored, and you go on with them.”


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