osho on understanding fear

Question – Beloved Osho, What to do with fear? I am feeling very tired being led around by it. Can it be mastered or killed? How?

Osho – The question is from Ramananda. It cannot be killed, it cannot be mastered, it can only be understood. ‘Understanding’ is the key word here. And only understanding brings mutation, nothing else. If you try to master your fear it will remain repressed, it will go deep into you. It will not help, it will complicate things. It is surfacing, you can repress it — that’s what mastery is. You can repress it; you can repress it so deeply that it disappears from your consciousness completely. Then you will never be aware of it, but it will be there in the basement, and it will have a pull. It will manage, it will manipulate you, but it will manipulate you in such an indirect way that you will not become aware of it. But then the danger has gone deeper. Now you cannot even understand it.

So fear has not to be mastered — it has not to be killed. It cannot be killed either, because fear contains a kind of energy and no energy can be destroyed. Have you seen that in fear you can have immense energy? — just as you can have in anger; they are both two aspects of the same energy phenomenon. Anger is aggressive and fear is nonaggressive. Fear is anger in a negative state; anger is fear in a positive state. When you are angry have you not watched how powerful you become, how great an energy you have? You can throw a big rock when you are angry; ordinarily you cannot even shake it. You become thrice, four times bigger when you are angry. You can do certain things you cannot do without anger.

Or, in fear, you can run so fast that even an Olympic runner will feel jealous. Fear creates energy; fear is energy, and energy cannot be destroyed. Not a single iota of energy can be destroyed from existence. This has to be remembered constantly, otherwise you will do something wrong. You cannot destroy anything, you can only change its form. You cannot destroy a small pebble; a small atom of sand cannot be destroyed, it will only change its form. You cannot destroy a drop of water. You can turn it into ice, you can evaporate it, but it will remain. It will remain somewhere, it cannot go out of existence.

You cannot destroy fear, too. And that has been done down the ages — people have been trying to destroy fear, trying to destroy anger, trying to destroy sex, trying to destroy greed, this and that. The whole world has been continuously working, and what is the result? Man has become a mess. Nothing is destroyed, all is there; only things have become confused. There is no need to destroy anything because nothing can be destroyed in the first place. Then what has to be done? You have to understand fear. What is fear? How does it arise?

From where does it come? What is its message? Look into it — and without any judgment; only then will you understand. If you already have an idea that fear is wrong, that it should not be — “I should not be afraid” — then you cannot look. How can you confront fear? How can you look into the eyes of fear when you have already decided that it is your enemy? Nobody looks into the eyes of the enemy. If you think it is something wrong, then you will try to bypass it, avoid it, neglect it. You will try not to come across it, but it will remain. This is not going to help.

First drop all condemnation, judgment, evaluation. Fear is a reality. It has to be faced, it has to be understood. And only through understanding can it be transformed. In fact, it is transformed through understanding. There is no need to do anything else; understanding transforms it.

What is fear? First: fear is always around some desire. You want to become a famous man, the most famous man in the world — then there is fear. What if you cannot make it? — fear comes. Now fear comes as a by-product of desire: you want to become the richest man in the world. What if you don’t succeed? You start trembling; fear comes. You possess a woman: you are afraid that tomorrow you may not be able to possess, she may go to somebody else.

She is still alive, she can go. Only dead women won’t go; she is still alive. You can possess only a corpse — then there is no fear, the corpse will be there. You can possess furniture, then there is no fear. But when you try to possess a human being fear comes. Who knows, yesterday she was not yours, today she is yours… Who knows — tomorrow she will be somebody else’s. Fear arises. Fear is arising out of the desire to possess, it is a by-product; because you want to possess, hence fear. If you don’t want to possess, then there is no fear. If you don’t have a desire that you would like to be this and that in the future, then there is no fear. If you don’t want to go to heaven then there is no fear, then the priest cannot make you afraid. If you don’t want to go anywhere then nobody can make you afraid.

If you start living in the moment, fear disappears. Fear comes through desire. So basically, desire creates fear. Look into it. Whenever there is fear, see from where it is coming — what desire is creating it — and then see the futility of it. How can you possess a woman or a man? It is such a silly, stupid idea. Only things can be possessed, not persons.

A person is a freedom. A person is beautiful because of freedom. The bird is beautiful on the wing in the sky: you encage it — it is no longer the same bird, remember. It looks like it, but it is no longer the same bird. Where is the sky? Where is the sun? Where are those winds? Where are those clouds? Where is that freedom on the wing? All have disappeared. This is not the same bird.

You love a woman because she is a freedom. Then you encage her: then you go to the law court and you get married, and you make a beautiful, maybe a golden, cage around her, studded with diamonds, but she is no longer the same woman. And now fear comes. You are afraid, afraid because the woman may not like this cage. She may hanker for freedom again. And freedom is an ultimate value, one cannot drop it.

Man consists of freedom, consciousness consists of freedom. So sooner or later the woman will start feeling bored, fed up. She will start looking for somebody else. You are afraid. Your fear is coming because you want to possess — but why in the first place do you want to possess? Be nonpossessive, and then there is no fear. And when there is no fear, much of your energy that gets involved, caught up, locked up in fear, is available, and that energy can become your creativity. It can become a dance, a celebration.

You are afraid to die? Buddha says: You cannot die, because in the first place, you are not. How can you die? Look into your being, go deep into it. See, who is there to die? — and you will not find any ego there. Then there is no possibility of death. Only the idea of ego creates the fear of death. When there is no ego there is no death. You are utter silence, deathlessness, eternity — not as you, but as an open sky, uncontaminated by any idea of ‘I’, of self –unbounded, undefined. Then there is no fear.

Fear comes because there are other things, Ramananda. You will have to look into those things, and looking into them will start changing things. So please don’t ask how it can be mastered or killed. It is not to be mastered, it is not to be killed. It cannot be mastered and it cannot be killed; it can only be understood. Let understanding be your only law.

Source – Osho Book “The Heart Sutra”

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