Current Heightened Awareness of Fear 

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So that persimmon can ripen. Any feedback you'd like to offer? Doesn't it just ripen on its own? It needs help. How can we help? Give me feedback, which you just did. And Jimmy conveniently has raised his hand so I can mention that I think you're the


Where are you going? To the opera. You're going to the opera. Yes, Jimmy. I'm curious about the transformation of fear into fearlessness through love. It seems that the only way I know how to do that is to walk towards the fear. Acknowledging, sometimes respecting, not walking towards it.


Is that what you're talking about? It's close. It's close. Except you said sometimes respecting it. Well, there seems to be several varieties of fear. Some of them seem to be illusions. You can take a good imagination and couple it to a little bit of fear and make it far worse than the contemplation of reality. Others, you know, there are sharks. Yes, there are sharks. Yes, what about it? It's kind of hard until you walk towards the fear to determine whether it's false evidence appearing real. In other words, something you don't actually need to fear, but to simply walk towards it in truth and size until it's the same size as I am.


Yeah, well that seems fine, but I guess what I'm emphasizing more is to be still, not to walk towards the fear or away from it, but to be still. And then the stillness is the fearlessness. So you don't have to walk towards it, just be still, which I think is also being respectful. And the truth of the fear will be revealed when we're still with it. And still doesn't mean freezing up, it means to be unmoving and relaxed and upright and respectful and honest about our current view of the fear, and then again and again.


So, what you're saying is basically close to what I just said, but I'm just emphasizing that we don't have to walk towards it, but just meet it at whatever distance it is right now. And if it comes closer, welcome it. And if it moves farther away, welcome it. But basically, we're not moving in relationship to it. We're unmoving, immovable presence with it. And then the wonder of the fear will be revealed. And that will sponsor. It isn't so much that the fear turns into fearlessness, but just like it isn't exactly that water turns into a flower, but the water sort of flows into the flower.


It isn't exactly that the earth turns into the flower, but the earth becomes part of the flower. So the fear becomes part of fearlessness. The fear feeds the fearlessness. It's the ground in which the fearlessness grows. But there's other nutrients for fearlessness too, besides the fear. There's stillness. There's warmth. There's respect. And so on. All these things come together to make this wonderful thing called fearlessness, which is growing in the earth of fear. And also the earth of the teaching, which is instructing us on how to be with the fear. Yeah, so I would be gentle about you saying you're going to walk towards the fear. I wouldn't be harsh with you about that.


And also if you want to walk away from the fear, I wouldn't want to be harsh with you about that either. But I would recommend, let's just be still here with it. Let's you and I stay here close to the fear and not do anything. That's what I feel is most authentic, my feeling, most intimate. Okay? And the same with the opera. When you go there, just take your seat in the opera and don't move. And the truth of the opera may be revealed, which I pray for. Yes? I'm reminded of the way you're speaking of fear, of the way you taught karma several years ago. And I believe it's from Nogen, to be free of your karma and embrace your karma.


And it seems the same thing with fear. Fear almost seems like a way of getting one's attention, as opposed to something in and of itself, or something that has its own existence or its own substance. A little bit like anger, too. It gets your attention, but then you don't dwell in fear, you're still with it, and then it seems like the fear will melt away, perhaps, and you'll see what was really there, what was causing the fear to arise. You may see that, yes. But even if you don't see what causes it to arise, you may see the radiance of truth in it. What do you mean by that?


What do I mean by the radiance of truth in it? Well, you may see how beautiful it is, how beautiful fear is. And then as you start to see how beautiful it is, then you start to see how it dependently co-arises, how everybody in the universe is working together to create this fear. But first we have to accept our seat in the fear, and then be upright in our seat in the fear. And as I said to someone today, Suzuki Rishi said,


Now I'm getting old. Actually, he was my age when he said that. And so I can't sit up straight anymore, but I can try. And I'm still trying to sit upright. One of the things that attracted me to Zen was that it's a physical practice that you might be able to do right up until you die. But you might not be able to when you're 65 or 75 or 85, you might not be able to sit up like you did when you were in your twenties. But I'm still trying to sit up straight. I'm still trying to sit upright. And I'm just like I did when I was in my twenties. I'm still, on a daily basis, I try to sit upright with this body,


in the middle of pain and fear and everything. I keep trying to sit upright. And also, there's a lot of gratitude to have a life where I can actually be trying to sit upright, where I can actually make that effort. People actually let me try to sit upright. They actually support me to sit upright, but they also support me to try to sit upright. Don't you? Yes. Yeah. Yes. I very often experience what I call bliss. And I feel I have a responsibility to respond exactly as I receive.


But when I trace myself, I constantly find myself twisted. And it becomes twisted. It loses its purity. And I feel like I cannot give it as I receive it. And I want to just give it as I receive. You're giving it away too late. That's the problem. You're holding it too long. Then it gets twisted. You have to give it away faster, before it gets a chance to twist. Unless you're doing the twist. But you don't get that joke, do you? Right? You don't know the twist, do you? Twist again like we did last summer? You know that one? Yeah, well, that's what I was referring to. But anyway, I think that's the problem. You have to give away your bliss more quickly.


And I think it's good that you're sensing the twistedness. But if you give it away fast enough, there will be no opportunity for twisting. Actually, the giving it away is the twist. That's the dance. You have to give it away at the same time that you receive it. And if we hold it even for a little while, it starts to twist. But it's not really that it's impure, it's that we're holding it and we're defiling it. So when you receive the bliss, you have to learn to give it away right away. Right away. So the sense of twisting is pushing you to be more quick. You know, quick means fast, but also quick means alive. Be more alive to your bliss and give it away more quickly. Don't hold it even for a...


Yeah, just use this to give it away. This is like bliss, give it away. Faster and faster. It's not easy, but... When you're a jet, you're a jet all the way from your first cigarette to your last iron day. When you're a jet, you're a family man. You've got friends and food and a car. You're never alone. You're never disconnected. Like that. Yes? I have a fundamental misunderstanding that I'm embarrassed about. Okay. Maybe nobody else is? I'm not humiliated, but...


You're going to tell us about it now? Okay. You mentioned the word pray. Prayer? Pray, a few minutes ago. You said like praying the opera works out or something. Yeah. So you mentioned the word pray. I keep not being clear on the relationship between welcoming something and praying. You know, whether it's fear or grief or... Because it seems to me on one hand we're supposed to welcome it, but then on the whole other hand it seems like praying for something which isn't here. So I don't know how they fit together. Like if I pray that you be well, if I pray that you become Buddha, I don't necessarily think I'm praying for something that isn't here. I more like pray that you become who you really are. I pray that you realize who you really are. I want you to be happy doesn't mean that you're not already happy. But if you're unhappy.


Huh? Let's say you're unhappy. So if you pray to be happy... Yeah, but... So the prayer... If you're feeling sick or unhappy and you pray to be well and happy before you accept your situation, then I would say this isn't the way the Bodhisattva prays. The Bodhisattva first of all feels compassion for the way she is or other people are now. And you wish them well. Even though they're not feeling well right now you wish them well, but you completely accept them the way they are now. So in our practice we say this... Again I've said this many times is that Buddhas are born of compassion but there's no seeking in their practice. So when people are suffering they want them to be happy but they don't seek the person to be other than they are. They completely accept the person the way they are and want them to be even more happy


than they are now and want them to be more realized than they are now. But if they don't become more realized in the next moment they just appreciate them the way they are in the next moment. Yes? I just wanted to express my gratitude to you and all the people that... I see all the efforts. There's so many efforts to sustain this place. Yeah, isn't it great? It's great. Yeah. It's so great. Thank you very much. Could you hear her? No. Say it a little bit louder? I just feel so much gratitude for Noah Bode and the sittings and Reb Cumming and all the people that are contributing and the mold and the Eucalyptus tree. I'm so grateful this place is here and these sittings are happening. Thank you. Yeah. Thank you for expressing that. I think we all feel that way as far as I know. Anybody not feeling grateful? Care to express that? Ungrateful people are welcome


to express themselves at any point. Yeah, it's nice. This is a hands-on temple. You can just walk in and take care of the place without asking any permission. Any more feedback? Oh, did you want to say something? You kind of answered it. I've had two things, but I'll say them and maybe you could answer them. One was back a little bit when you were talking about... I think what you were saying was rather than acting when I have an experience or a feeling, rather than act, to just be with that? Yeah. First of all, don't move. In other words, when you receive something, receive it. Don't move before you receive it.


But then, as soon as you receive it, fully, that gives it away. The stillness gives it away. But sometimes something good comes and we don't just receive it in stillness. We receive it and we clench it. We grasp it. So then we... That's not the being still with it. There's a little bit of a... And that postpones it being a gift. So we miss the Buddhist Samadhi if we move when things come. Of course, if something painful comes, we also sometimes tighten. Even though we don't want to hold on to it, there's a little bit of movement there. So that keeps it, in a way, in a sense. But you really can't, but it's like you can... It's like you do. So whether it's bliss or pain, if we're still with it, it naturally is given, becomes a gift. So when I react, before I really receive what's coming,


then I don't really receive. You don't really receive and then you don't realize that your reaction is actually a gift. If you're excited, it becomes a pitfall. So you've got to be calm with it. And that's what we're training to do, is to be upright and still and relaxed with what's coming. And then, as soon as something comes, it automatically turns into a gift. It is a gift, and then it is a gift. We have to fully... We do, and we have to practice receiving the gift. So there's not really any act of giving, just being, receiving fully. In a way, there's no act of giving. And that's giving. That's the kind of giving it is. So that the giving,


the receiving and the gift, you can't get a hold of. And yet that's the reality of giving. And we have to be really present and still and upright and to practice that in order to participate in this wonderful process. That's exactly where I get twisted when I feel I'm doing an act of giving. Yeah, right. You're getting a little ahead or a little behind. Yes? Earlier today, I think, Tracy asked something, and you said there was no more fear? No? I was a little confused. She thought that there was more fear. I'm hearing more fear. I am hearing more fear. People are telling me more fear. But it's not so much that there is more fear, but I'm hearing more fear. But could it be possible,


because I mean with the economic, right, could there be more actual more fear in the area right now? It could be. Oh, okay. It could be more fear, but I don't really know if it is or people are just more in touch with it. Like people, generally speaking, are walking around afraid they're going to lose their money. Okay. Then something happens and they become aware that they're afraid of losing their money. Or they lost a lot of money. Or they lost a lot of money. Yeah. But some people, losing your money is not being afraid of losing money. That's just losing money. But to lose your money and then be afraid you're going to lose more. Now, some people lost money and then they're not afraid after they lost it. The people who are afraid are the people who still have some money. I think people are afraid. Okay. But I don't know that there's any more. I just think that people are more in touch with it. And because they're more in touch with it,


that's part of the reason that they're more in touch with it so then they tell me more about it. So I'm hearing more about it. Just like at 9-11 people were really in touch with their fear. They were afraid before but then they really got it out there. But then George Bush said, declared war on fear. So it's like no more fear. We can't have fear anymore. We're going to get rid of fear. And Donald Rumfeld said, now people walk out of their door and they look around because they don't feel safe. I thought, I think that's good. It's good to not walk out the door and think nothing's going to happen. I won't fall down the stairs. I don't need to look when I open the door. I just walk out and Donald Rumsfeld will protect me. No, you have to be careful when you walk down stairs. You have to be careful when you walk across streets. People are not paying attention sometimes because they think there's no danger. So I remember one of the first books,


spiritual books I read in college was written by this guy named Krishnamurti. And the first page, at the bottom of the first page, and the first page was like a paragraph, the bottom of the page he said, wherever you go in the world, everybody is, and I turned the page and it said, afraid. And I thought, hmm, that's interesting. Is that true? I don't know if it's true, but that's what he said. And I thought that was interesting. But a lot of people actually think they're the only one who's afraid because nobody else says they are. And they didn't read Krishnamurti. But my experience is people are afraid. It's like static electricity, you know. They've got this charge on them and they don't know necessarily unless you touch them. So if I go into the grocery store and walk up to people and touch them, they go, ahh! So I don't do that very often. But it isn't that because I'm in the store


they're afraid, but in fact when I come in the store they do become aware they're afraid. There's something about me that they get in touch with their fear. Maybe it's my haircut. So I really can't measure, but to me it seems like most people I know are afraid, but lately more people are telling me they're afraid. I'm hearing it more and I'm seeing that they're aware of it. I see people who are afraid on the streets, but they aren't telling me they're afraid. And if you would say to them, are you afraid? They would say, no, not me. I'm okay. Donald Rumfeld is my friend. He protects me from all fear. So, I see people who are afraid, but now I see people who know they're afraid.


That's what I'm seeing as a difference. And the elections, the economic situation, the war and cancer are conditions that are contributing to people being aware that they're afraid. And so, that's conditions which are making me feel like, oh, now we really must work to give the gift of fearlessness, because a lot of people are ready for it now. Giving the gift of fearlessness to people who don't think they're afraid, well, you know, they aren't looking for it. They don't want any. I don't need any help. I'm not afraid. But if somebody is afraid and you embrace them, they really appreciate it. Like today, I was very nice to me. I wanted to come here and be with you, not because there's no fear here, but to be with people who are aware of fear. To be with people who don't say, fear? What do you mean fear? There's no fear. I'm not afraid. You didn't say that to me.


You welcome the idea that there's a lot of frightened people and that a lot of people need some help and some contact and some support. No. Right? That's what I mean. Just a second. Yes? I'm feeling that people are more aware of it, because they're telling me more. On an individual level, is it possible for me to actually be fearless or just to be aware of my fear? Well, like I said to Jimmy, and like I said to Homa, the horse arrives before the donkey leaves. You weren't here this morning. But you've heard that expression before? The fearlessness is the horse. The fear is the donkey. Or the fearlessness is the lotus blossom and the donkey is the sewer. Or the mud. So they live together. The fearlessness doesn't have any meaning aside from fear.


Fearlessness is a gift you give to people who are afraid. And you don't cut yourself off from them. You plunge your roots into all the frightened people. You drive the tentacles of your being into all the fear. And from that contact with it, this great blossom of fearlessness grows, which everyone can enjoy. So they're not separate. Fearless is sort of a misnomer. Yeah, fearless is kind of a misnomer, yeah. But it's also kind of a nice-nomer. It's also a mister-nomer too, I think I should mention. And a misnomer too. And a doctor-nomer. Someone did say that. And I love him. No, it was Theodore Roosevelt.


Deli Roosevelt. But of course he was wrong. There's much more to fear than to fear itself. I mean, there are really things out there to be afraid of? No, no, there's lots of opportunities for fear. For example, we can be afraid of you. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We can do that. We're gifted at fear. But we can also grow the wonderful thing of compassion in response to it, of loving the fear, of wishing to be close to it and care for it and help it realize its radiant beauty and be willing to be right in there with it. Bodhisattvas want to be in the mud of fear. They want to be in there, swimming around in the mud of fear.


That's what they want. They want that. That's what they're here for. And that's what makes Buddhas, swimming in the mud of fear. And then people get a big relief from the limit of fear. Then the fear becomes a gate to the vastness of all phenomena. Did you want to say anything else before we go? As you speak, I feel the fear is just this pulse, pulse of life. And when the pulse of life feels threatened, that's like the core source of the fear. It's in that pulsation. And I'm just wondering how something so sweet and so pure


becomes like a monster. I think it becomes like a monster if you don't love it. Like you have a little baby, you know? A sweet little baby that has fear. If you don't love that little baby, that little baby will grow into a monster. But if you love it, if you see how sweet it is, and it's possible to see that a sweet, that a frightened being, a being who's afraid or fright itself, is a sweet little pulse of life. If you love it quickly and fully, it won't grow into a monster. But if you don't pay attention to it, it will eventually... What do I have to do to get your attention? Do I have to get a little bit bigger? You're not listening to me yet? Do I have to get a little bigger? Do I have to get bigger? How big do I have to get before you listen to me? Not yet, huh? Well... and so on. So then... Oh, I think I hear something.


But if we deal with the fear more quickly, it seems kind of better. But we will eventually, we will eventually open to it and become Buddha. I actually propose that. We are going to open to it completely and become Buddha. Thank you very much for another very lovely day. Thank you.