The Path of Presence


Question: What is fear and how do I deal with it?
Fear is a primal feeling that dates from prehistoric days. It is a feeling that was originally designed to move us to “fight or flight” whenever our physical survival was threatened. This fight-or-flight response has played a large part in the survival of the species. But as we became more sophisticated and moved more and more into the mind and its world of thought and emotion, fear entered inappropriately into that world. The fight-or-flight response started to occur whenever we felt emotionally threatened. If we felt criticized, rejected or judged, we experienced that as a threat to our survival and we entered into a flight-or-fight response, even though those emotions pose no real threat to our survival. This mostly occurs at an unconscious level and affects every aspect of our lives.

Fear also arises around future imaginings. It is possible to create fear or anxiety by imagining what might happen in the future, even though there is nothing to fear in the present moment. There is another kind of fear that I have observed. When people are unwilling to feel their feelings fully, particularly feelings of hurt or anger, they disconnect from their feelings. This creates a feeling of inner separation, which gives rise to fear. This often manifests as anxiety or panic. When they allow themselves to feel the feelings fully, the fear or anxiety disappears.

So what are you to do about fear? The obvious answer is to be more present in your life and fear will rarely arise. Also, if you feel your feelings fully and express your feelings responsibly, fear will not be an issue for you.

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Leonard Jacobson
Leonard Jacobson is an author, teacher and mystic who is deeply committed to helping others break through to the joyous experience of living in the NOW. He has been sharing his Way of Awakening for over 35 years. He lives in Wayzata and offers regular meetings there. Find more of Leonard's work at


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