The Warrior and Fear
This is the way.
Once there was a young warrior.
Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear.
She didn’t want to do that.
It seemed too aggressive;
it was scary;
it seemed unfriendly.
But the teacher said she had to do it and gave her the instructions for the battle.
The day arrived.
The student warrior stood on one side,
and fear stood on the other.
The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful.
They both had their weapons.
The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?”
Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.”
Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?”
Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.”
In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear.
- From When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chödrön
I love this story and keep coming back to it to remind myself that we have a choice not to listen to fear and not to give it the power it seeks. We can choose to listen to our hearts in moments when fear is present and continue to work towards our goals. It won’t be easy and there will be times when we do give in but the important thing is to be aware when fear is present and notice how we react.
What if we made fear our friend instead of pushing it away from us?
What if we tell ourselves that because fear is present, whatever we are aiming to do must be important and worthy of our efforts?
Using the energy created by the presence of fear to push our way forward is a great opportunity to power up instead of letting fear stop our progress.
Our potential is on the other side of fear.
This is the way.
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