“If one has observed, this problem of fear has existed from time immemorial. It has existed with man. And man has lived with it, both consciously or hidden deep down, its roots very, very deep. And either we have escaped from it through logic, through analysis, through any form of entertainment that helps us to avoid coming directly into contact with it and holding it, or we have suppressed it. Right? We do this. Or we neglect it. We say, ‘What, we have lived with fear for million years, so what does it matter now?’ And one knows the consequences of fear: physical shrinkage, a tendency to be hypocritical, resistance, an avoidance of the fact that one is really afraid. So if one really profoundly wants to be free from that reaction called fear, one has to go to the very root of it. There is biological fears: the body, the organism which must protect itself, and the fear of disease, old age, death, and the fears of past memories. So fear is again a common ground upon which all human beings stand. So, either we deal with it superficially or enquire into it very, very deeply.”
– J. Krishnamurti
I once again had the opportunity of participating in a workshop organized by the Krishnamurti Education Trust, facilitated by Kishoreji. As usual it was a wonderful experience to be with people who are seekers in their personal lives and who bring the deepest questions to the table for discussion. The topic for the day was “Living without Fear – understanding the nature and structure of fear”
The workshop is a weekend affair. People come on a Friday night or Saturday morning and spend two days. There is a basic facility for staying with tasty simple vegetarian food. The day is not demanding. There is time for discussing together which is mostly structured around participants raising questions and Kishoreji giving some answers. And a video of Krishnamurti, relevant to the topic is played.
I reached in the morning around 10.30 and joined the people already having a lively discussion around the breakfast table. The topic was on after life and whether something survives after death. Kishoreji was of the opinion that something does survive after death and you may call it energy or whatever. He gave an example of someone dying in an abnormal situation like in an accident or in battle. In that situation, the residual energy stays in that location and keeps performing the same action again and again till it dissipates.
Another gentleman asked why is it that only some people are attracted to seek for the truth while others are not. Kishoreji pointed out the theory of resonance. Just like a tuning fork resonates to the frequency of vibration, we as people who are fundamentally vibrations or carriers of vibrations, resonate with certain things and do not resonate with certain things.
Something in my mind connected the above two things and it seemed to me that the reason why certain locations are more prone to violence, take for example the Kashmir region or the region of Delhi where millions of people died and thousands of women were raped over the centuries of plunder and wars that took place in that area, is that the energies of those happenings and their vibrations still resonate even today and when people whose frequencies match with those violent vibrations end up performing acts of killing and rape.
Come to think of it, there is no place on the earth where violence would not have happened. So we are all prone to emotional disturbances that make us do things, which later we wonder why we did them. It could be the reason that some resonating frequencies make us do those things.
Anyway, moving ahead, we began our first session on discussing fear and Kishoreji spoke about the experiment in which mice were treated with something that put their fear center to sleep and the result was that the mice roamed around cats freely without showing any fear. I later researched on the topic and found the following
Kobayakawa developed the fearless mice by shutting down receptors in their olfactory bulb – the area of the brain that processes information about smells – which would normally induce panic as soon as they get so much as a whiff of a cat. Source
So is fear just located in a center in our brain and can we become fearless just by switching off that center? Obviously not. The mice which became fearless were easy prey to the cat. So fear is some sort of intelligence that protect us from harm. However what Krishnamurti points out repeatedly is the psychological fear that we carry around with us which is the fear that we live without. Psychological fear prevents our full functioning and limits our actions.
Then post lunch we saw a video from the Krishnamurti archives where he spoke of the various causes that lead to psychological fears. Any movement away from what is causes fear; any comparison with an ideal or with others causes fears, time – past and future thinking leads to fear; and the deep insight that the pursuit of pleasure is always accompanied by fear – these were some of the themes that he spoke of.
A key observation is that fear cannot be simply dealt with by using the power of will. You cannot simply decide to be not afraid of something. The only way to deal with it is to not name it but to be with the observation and not analyze the experience. When there is no observer, no analyzer, then there is observation and watching without any center and where there is no center, fear cannot exercise its debilitating power.
Kishoreji added a couple of more points that were relevant in the discussion following the video. He said that when you are aware of the right thing to do and you do not do it, then there is fear. Also, when you are aware of the true nature of things and people as they are, there is no cause of fear.
As I see it, a certain situation prompts a certain reaction in us, expressed in the form of thoughts, emotions and instincts. If we name it as fear, then we do not experience it fully. Because then then naming of that as fear becomes another stimulus that further causes ingrained springs to get activated. However, if we allow the experience to happen and pass, we simply move on and surprisingly, we do not feel afraid in the situation. We simply act and do what we are supposed to do.