Facing Fear with Equanimity



Every person is the same at their essence. This is a truth that many accept as a basic concept of life, but it can be very hard to put the concept down and keep this truth in mind in actual life practice. Our emotions (and other people’s emotions) can begin to cloud this truth. We all experience positive and negative emotions. Yet, when we feel a negative emotion, such as fear or anger towards another person, we lose sight of that person’s positive emotions and traits. The same happens when we feel strong positive emotions toward a person. We forget that they have negative emotions that lead them to negative actions. Either way, we have forgotten the truth that this other human is exactly the same at the core of their being.

When we experience fear toward another person that often becomes anger, outrage or hatred. Because we are afraid, we often tell ourselves only negative things about the person. The more we do this, the more the person seems less like a human being and more like a demon, a monster, or a villain. We only make them seem more frightening and we only become more afraid and unable to handle ourselves. This creates a combative stance within us and makes us feel terrible, not to mention that it only worsens the possibility of handling the situation well.

Slowing down a bit when we see a negative response arise in ourselves can give us the few seconds we need to remind ourselves that the other person has positive emotions (and traits) that you may have been unable to notice right in the moment. They are human. Somebody loves them deeply. They hurt and feel fear also. They were once a baby, pure and clean. Seeing all these things can help the mind to let go of the dark curtain and see the other person as simply human. No better than, no worse than, but the same as us all.

It seems we all have a person or a situation that sends our thoughts racing with an emotional extreme. While any emotional extreme can send us reeling, we can recognize that they all pass and wait them out so that we can see the truth behind the clouds.

6 thoughts on “Facing Fear with Equanimity

  1. Unfortunately we do judge. We judge on economic status, educational status, the color of one’s skin, their religion and the list goes on. I use to teach and the majority of my students were Black. One day I had to break up an altercation between two boys in the seventh grade. One viewed the other as inferior. I could not understand this and questioned the them. It turns out there is a pecking order. Lighter skinned is better than darker skinned people. As absurd as this seems, that was the fact of the fight. It seems we are all equal but some of us are more equal than others. It is sad but true.

    • Yes it is true that we often have a very human response to try and judge others in comparison to ourselves. We use all kinds of things to define them, and therefore define ourselves as better, worse or different. The truth is that, although we do this, we are not capable of judging. It is not possible to view another’s perspective and all things that have occurred in their existence that led them to the place they are. We are all one. Forgetting this leads to judging. It is a loss of perspective. Unfortunately, it tends to happen to all of us at some point, in some way. My post, We CAN’T Judge discusses this more thoroughly. Thanks for your comment! http://holisticspirituality.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/we-cant-judge/

  2. I love what you wrote 🙂 Basically we all need self-control and empathy. I believe it’s a question of training our minds to give those “few seconds”, which might be challeging at the beggining but afterwards it turns out to be very rewarding 🙂

  3. Pingback: Creating An Emotional Response – Thoughts from Industry Experts | talesbycindy

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