The Fear, the Feared, or the Fearless

Ancient Chinese Shambala philosophy teaches the path of fearless existence—warriorship. Shambala does not promote aggressive war, but rather describes warriorship as not being afraid of being who you are. Part of facing and not running away from who you are is tolerating being the you, who at times may be experienced as not having a sense of security. We all want security: security of shelter, security of relationships, or security of health. What happens when security is not experienced? People become afraid. People fear that things will fall apart and people scramble to change the situation that they are in, until things feel secure once again.

This fear arises when people run away from the internal stability of who they are. Sometimes people forget that being who they are is enough or fear that it will not be enough, and they latch onto external things for security, such as a house and relationships, and even our physical bodies. It is a radical thing to even say that we do not need our physical health. It can be a devastating experience to lose one’s physical health and to live with suffering. However, it is not true that losing your physical health means losing who you are—your self. Who you are is always there. Do not be afraid to be just that. Even if you are living with a chronic physical illness, your core being, your self, is still enough…even if at times it can feel like you are losing your mind.

There is the fear; your experience of being afraid, which can hold you back from contentment and peace or when acknowledged can thrust you into a position of warriorship. There is the feared; not sufficiently satisfying yourself or your loved ones, disappointing, suffering, pain, dying. There is the fearless! The fearless acknowledge their fear and go beyond it.

Chogyam Trungpa (1984) describes a Shambala warrior as someone who is soft and hard at the same time like a wooden cup covered with layers and layers of lacquer. If the cup is dropped the lacquer may crack but the wooden base remains. Our bodies may crack, our minds may crack, but our inner core is solid…if we are not afraid to accept that. How will you use your fear?

Trungpa, C. (1984). Shambala: The sacred path of the warrior. Shambala Publications Inc.: Boston.