May 4, 2023

Fear | Ajahn Brahm

Fear | Ajahn Brahm

Fear can create sickness and death. Fear creates a narrow state of awareness and can create the world you think exists. Focusing on the bad bricks in the wall instead of the good bricks can lead to irrational thoughts and behaviors. Our minds can cre...

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Fear can create sickness and death. Fear creates a narrow state of awareness and can create the world you think exists. Focusing on the bad bricks in the wall instead of the good bricks can lead to irrational thoughts and behaviors. Our minds can create sickness, death, and fear. Fear can be dangerous. To overcome fear, we need to focus on the good, the positive, and the rational. When you're afraid, that's what happens. The same technique to children who are doing exams is to look at it as a game. When you put fun and happiness into what you're doing, it brings up energy, which helps you do well. Fear exaggerates reality, cramps our mind, and makes us achieve what we're afraid of. So the first step in overcoming fear is recognising that fearful thoughts is all that is happening. And the second step is knowing how to breathe and relax so that fear doesn't have the control. So that we can be free from fear.

How to be free from fear begins with paying attention.When we pay attention, when we become aware, we see what's really happening. And then we can respond in a way which isn't based on fear. Breathing and relaxation is one way to do that. When we breathe and relax, we release the fear. We also release the thoughts which are based on fear. And as we release the thoughts, we also release the feelings which are based on fear. And as we release the feelings, we also release the energy which is based on fear.So the more we pay attention to what's happening, to our breaths and our relaxations, the more we can release the fear and the more we can be free.


You can find the text transcription and other related information on the Ajahn Brahm Podcast website.

This dhamma talk was originally recorded using a low quality MP3 to save on file size (because internet connections were slow back then - remember dialup?) on 4th April 2003. It has now been remastered and published by the Everyday Dhamma Network, and will be of interest to his many fans. If you like the Ajahn Brahm Podcast, you may also like the Treasure Mountain Podcast and / or the Forest Path Podcast which are also produced by the Everyday Dhamma Network.

These talks by Ajahn Brahm have been recorded and made available for free distribution by the Buddhist Society of Western Australia. You can support the Buddhist Society of Western Australia by pledging your support via their Patreon page.


AI Generated Transcription

Okay this evening for the Dharma talk. Because I've just come back from Singapore this afternoon and I'm very glad that people aren't wearing masks in front of in front of me. Because over Singapore people are going crazy with 1s fear. Fear of a virus or fear of war or fear so many things. I thought this evening I'd talk about fear. What is it and how to overcome it. 2s Because fear is something which creates so many problems and difficulties in our lives. It stops as being happy. It stops us being free. We become prisoners, as many people were in Singapore and sometimes other places. Refusing to go out, staying in their home just in case. 1s But you're doing the best thing coming to a center like this, listening to Dharma even in the crowd. Because when you listen to good things, when you get happy, even if you hear one of Ajam Brahm's terrible jokes, you laugh. And with that laughter that releases endorphins in the bloodstream, increases your immune system. It's like being inoculated. So this is the antiviral virus for all life's ills. There you go. You've just been knock related. 1s So you don't need to wear a mask, but you need to wear a smile. 1s It's true. So why is it that people don't wear a smile? And what happens with fear? And what's the danger of fear? 3s I remember I was just saying this to somebody just a few moments ago before I came in here. I remember many occasions as a young monk in northeast Thailand in the jungles meditating. And I think you can all probably relate to this experience, even if you haven't actually meditated in a jungle. So often you'll be sitting out there, nice, peaceful, nice, quiet, and suddenly you'll hear a noise of an animal approaching you. 1s Now, I was very rational. I was very mindful. I was very careful. But I also knew in those jungles there were tigers and elephants and bears, 1s and they regarded monks as tasty. 3s So when I was meditating, you'd always hear the jungle animals, and sometimes you'd realize that that wasn't just a small jungle animal, not just a squirrel or a jungle civic cat, because the sound was just too loud for a small animal. And they'd approach the place where you were sitting, and as they approached, you'd, listen very carefully just to try and figure out what that animal was. And. And you'd listen. And it soon became very clear to you you weren't exaggerating. You're being very mindful. That was a big one. 2s That must at least be a tiger or even an elephant, because you could hear it very clearly with your ears. And sometimes I got so afraid, I opened my eyes. When opened my eyes, I saw this tidy mouse. 1s It couldn't be more than two or three inches long. And I thought, what happened there? I was mindful, I was clear. It would have been okay if it was at least a big mouse, but it was only a small one. What had happened there? That in my mind, that tidy mouse had become a big, monkey eating jungle lion. Well, not lions, but tigers or elephants or bears. I'm sure you've all had that experience from time to time. A little sound seems so huge when fear comes up. Fear is that which exaggerates reality. And the point is that you can't tell that difference in reality, because with fear, that's actually what you hear hear. You actually hear a big jungle animal when you're afraid. 1s And this is the problem with fear. It amplifies, it exaggerates, and it bends our perceptions to hear what's not truly there, to fear what's not really worth fearing. Just small stuff, that's all. And too often in our life, we make fear exaggerate the reality of our lives. And so that's the first lesson in fear. It bends the truth. And we don't really know what we're afraid of. And the second thing with fear, it means that it cramps our mind. So we don't properly don't really know how to respond to what's going on. It cramps us because we tighten up. 1s As I tell people when they learn meditation for the first time, do you remember the time when you first rode a bicycle? When a person first rides a bicycle, they're so afraid of falling off. How can you remain vertical on just two wheels? Please give me a third one or a fourth one. But because you're afraid, because of fear, what happens? You tighten up, you cramp. And you hold those handlebars so tightly your knuckles go white. And because you're so stiff, cramped up, afraid, what happens? You fall off again and again. The more you're afraid of falling off, the tighter you become and the more likely it is that you do fall off. I don't know about you, I did that many times until I learned just to relax. Don't be afraid of falling off. And then you never did fall off, at least very rarely, when it wasn't your fault. So these are examples of what happens when we cramp up. When we cramp up, when afraid of making mistakes, that's when mistakes happen. The fear amplifies and the fear makes us cramp. And the fear makes us actually achieve what we're afraid of doing. 2s I think many of you may remember the story I've told here about when I used to watch the television. That was over 30 years ago. But when I mentioned this story actually, many people know this story because they're also as old as me, some even older. For those of you who haven't watched this series called Kung Fu it was a brilliant series about monks in the tie in China. A long time ago, Xiaolin monks used to do martial arts. And this little series starred well, it showed some of the training of this small little novice who was called Little Grasshopper. Do you remember that series? Yes. And one of the best episodes of that series was when Little Grasshopper was taken into the back room, the temple, by his blind master. And he was taken into a room which is usually kept locked. It was a dark, secret room and many rumors were around amongst the little novices of what went on in that terrible room. 1s The master took him into this darkly lit room. And in that room there was a big what looked like to us an indoor swimming pool. But the master said, be careful. Don't go close, little Grasshopper, because in that pool is not water. In that pool is acid. Strong, concentrated, burning acid. And he told Little Grasshopper to the very edge of that pool and said grasshopper, what do you see? Little grasshopper said, I see bones, master. I see many human bones. Yes, said the master, those bones belong to little nov like you, who fell in. Be careful. 1s When I saw those bones too and heard about the acid even though I was just in London watching the telly, I was scared too. 2s And then Little Grasshopper was told about a plank which was stretching from one side of the tank to the other, one side of the pool to the other. And the master said, in seven days time, you will have to walk across this plank to test your mindfulness, to test your balance. S and I don't want your bones to join the other bones in the pool of acid. And he could see that portable Grasshopper was very afraid. And so the master took him out of that terrible room into the bright courtyard where there was another plank exactly the same length and width, but this time on two bricks raised above the ground. And the man has said, Little Grasshopper, you have seven days to practice on this plank until you can balance, until you know your mindfulness. Because in seven days time, you will be tested the real thing over the pool of strong concentrated acid and. I love telling this story because it gives me a chance to sort of really get into it. 1s And so for seven days, Little Grasshopper was practicing. He could do it so easily. It wasn't it wasn't difficult at all to balance on his plank. Wasn't that long that that that narrow. But when the real test came after seven days, little Grasshopper had to do the real thing. Even though he was very confident outside, when he got into that dark foreboding room, you could see he was nervous. And when the master told him to get on the plank, he looked around, even though he never said anything, he would read from his eyes. He said, Please, master, no. Master said get on. He looked around round again, and master said, Walk. So poor Little Grasshopper had to try walking. Now, there's one thing you should know, and this is about fear. 1s That when a plank of the same size is stretched over a pool of acid, it becomes much narrower and much longer. 1s That's what I mean about the exaggeration. And also it becomes very fearful. 1s And so little Grasshopper started to walk. You could see he was nervous. You could see him start to shape with those nerves. And that shaking got more and more the further he got out over the pool of acid. First he started to wobble, and then his wobble got more and more. He started to sway, and he was starting to sway so much, it looked like he was going to fall in. When they had the commercial break 3s and I had to wait a couple of minutes, these stupid ads 1s to wait. What happened to Poor Little Grasshopper over the pool of acid? So we were back in the pool over the in the dark room again. And as that always happens on the television, you always go a couple of seconds back from when you ended for the commercials and you saw him, he was always being nervous. He's already shaking, he was already wobbling. He was swaying and. 3s He fell in. And when he fell in, the master started laughing. He started splashing. It was only water. They'd thrown the bones in there for special effects. 3s Little Grasshopper was splashing around as a master shouted out to him, little Grasshopper, why did you fall in? Fear pushed you in, Little Grasshopper only fear. It was a demonstration to Grasshopper as a demonstration to me and our demonstration to you of the power of fear. How it can push us in when we're afraid of falling, how it can even create sickness when we're afraid of sickness, how it can make us fail when we just can't fail. We don't want to fail. This is a problem with fear. It actually goes against what it's trying to do. It tries to stop us making mistakes, getting sick. But actually it gets the opposite. We actually do, do get sick. And the reason is because our mind is so powerful. As the Buddha said, the mind is a forerunner of all things. The mind can actually make you sick. 1s Out of fear. 1s I know the power of the mind. Even when I was a layperson, when I was a student I remember once when I was studying for my teacher's degree after Cambridge I was studying at Durham University in the north of England. I just moved into a house with some other students and I got a terrible cold. So I missed the lectures that day. I wasn't lazy. I was really ill and I was lying in bed with all the other students out at the university campus and my nose was always have to be blown. My eyes were running, I had a fever. You felt terrible, you know, when you got a very bad cold or flu. I felt like death. And as I was lying there, just counting the minutes, there was a knock on our door over the house. The students had rented a very loud knock, persistent. So I dragged myself out of my bed, I went to the door. It was a delivery truck. They were delivering my hi fi system. The. It. I'd sent it from town. It took so long and now it arrived. So I took delivery quite gladly, and I took it upstairs and I connected it all together and I put my first record on. I think it was Jimmy Hendrix. And I liked Jimmy Hendrix. Amazing. The power of Jimmy Hendrix. Because as soon as I put that first record on, I noticed my eyes had stopped streaming me. The nose had gone tranquil. It wasn't sneezing anymore. I had no fever. The cold had gone. It had gone in just three or four minutes. It's called hi fi therapy. 5s And that really surprised me. I mean, it was a real cold. I was really ill and it suddenly disappeared. The power of the mind. If you enjoy it, you're having fun. It's very hard to get sick, isn't it? 2s In order to actually to show just how you can actually create sickness through fear. 2s I went a little bit further and brought up in Singapore some of the stories of actually how you can create death through fear, how you can be so afraid you die. 1s I told a story, this is well documented. You can actually look this up in psychology or psychiatry manuals because it was done over hundred years ago in Bristol jail when there was a man who was about to be executed, hung to death for some crime he committed. You didn't have to do much of a crime in those days to get hung. But the two psychologists and the prison governor, superintendent, whatever you called him, went to that man's cell the night before and said, the law has been changed. You will not hang. You will have your throat cut the following morning. Wouldn't that be a lovely way to actually to go to sleep? You couldn't sleep. 1s Because he knew this was his last night on earth and he would die this terrible way of having your throat cut. When they came of him in the morning, the prison officers tied his hands tightly behind his back. They put a hood over his head and led him to the place of execution. 1s When they got to that place of execution, a priest asked for his last words, gave him some advice, and then came the time for him to die. Someone drew the knife across his throat. He heard the sound of blood coming out. He fell to the ground and died. 1s That's what he thought. What actually happened was he was taken to the prison washrooms. 1s Someone got out the old fashioned razors which people used to shave some 2030 years ago and drew the blunt edge of the knife across his throat, which didn't even scratch him, let alone produce any blood. And it was one of the psychologists who turned on the tap in one of the wash basins. 2s That was enough for him. Who'd thought about his imminent death. Afraid, probably. Terrified with so much fear that when he felt cold steel against his throat and heard the sound of some liquid running 2s his mind, his belief, his fear killed him. And that's not the only many times this has happened. There's another occasion, more recently in a truck company in the US. Where a person was stuck in the back of his truck, a refrigerated truck, as he was cleaning on Friday afternoon. A wind slammed the door shut and he couldn't get out. He was the last truck out of the yard he hanged on the walls. He shouted for his friends, but they were all gone. 1s He knew he'd be stuck there on the weekend. But he also knew that no one can withstand subzero temperatures of that degree for so long. 1s He knew he would die. 1s And we know this because that's what he wrote on pieces of paper as he was dying. He said his last words, made his peace with his family. And then he wrote that to make his death not in vain, that he would describe the sensations of someone freezing to death so that maybe medical science could have more information, maybe to help people in the future. He didn't know why, but he thought it was of use to record for posterity every symptom of somebody freezing to death. And indeed, on Monday morning, when they found the truck and they opened it from the outside, they found him dead inside the truck. And they had all the notes. There were classic symptoms of freezing to death. Doctors already had those symptoms all worked out just as you would expect. The only anomaly, the only strange thing was the refrigeration unit wasn't turned on. 2s It was normal temperatures, nothing different, because he thought and believed it was cold. It was cold for him, and he froze to death. 1s That is how powerful the mind can be. We all know in Australia, the Aboriginal community, these the old ones pointing to bone, because they believed if you had the bone pointed to you as the penalty for some terrible crime against their cultural laws, that you would die. You would always die. Now, what I'm saying here is the power of belief and also the power of fear, and how fear can actually kill us and how fear can make us sick. I recall an English novelist called Poe. He wrote horror stories, which is why I liked reading them as a young man. Why is it we always like horror stories or something, which is which is terrifying. Some of us like fear. And I put my hand up. I like that as well. But sometimes I used to laugh. 2s In one of his novels, which I recall. It was called the Mask of the Red Death. It was a novel set in Europe in the time of the Great Plagues, where whole villages were wiped out, where the population of Europe, I think, was halved or quartered over the space of a hundred years. There was plague, black death, and this was a novel about the Red Death. 1s At the end of the novel, 2s he described some angels of death. This is how he personified how death happens. Grim reapers. It's amazing how those grim reapers in European mythology are all dressed like monks with hoods over their heads. It but anyway, they came together in a forest to compare notes, saying, how many did you kill in that city? How many did you kill in that town? How many did you cause to die? 1s And one of them said, and this is the line which I always remembered, one of them said, I only killed 20, and fear killed 200. 2s And that was very poignant, very meaningful. Because how much did fear kill people? Much more than you can imagine. The mind, being the forerun of all things, can actually create 1s illness, sickness, death. And also the mind can stop this. All this is why fear can be so terrifying, why the only thing you should really be afraid of is fear itself. Caution is fine, but fear cramps you up, makes you tense, reduces your immune system and actually makes you ill. 2s So fear is dangerous. The virus of fear is the one causing the problems. 2s In many parts of the world. And so how do we overcome this once we know it's a problem? How can we live without fear? 1s First of all, the way we live without fear is actually just noticing what is going on. We're exaggerating the future, we're exaggerating what might happen to us. We're exaggerating all the very worst which might happen. 2s When I was in Singapore this morning telling people how many people actually got this virus SARS, I think about 120 have been admitted to hospital or something. And I said, well, that means there's 3,800,262 people who haven't got SARS. But I never see that figure put in the newspapers. 1s And what happens is, when we focus 1s on the people who are ill, we don't focus on the people who are healthy. When we focus on the things which go wrong, and we never focus on what goes right. When we focus on the negative and never on the positive, that's when our mind becomes exaggerated. Exaggerating the truth to the point where we get afraid, we get upset, we get depressed, we get angry. Too much of our emotion s are irrational. They're irrational because we don't see the whole truth. You all know that's. Similar to the brick wall, which I keep bringing up, I've told it so many times that you all recognize that the two bad bricks in the wall why was it I always went to those two bad bricks? That's all I saw. I couldn't see the good bricks in the wall. Why is it that one person tells a lie and we think they're a liar? Why is it that a person commits a crime once in their life and they become a criminal even though they do so many other kind and good things in their life? Isn't that irrational? 1s Year or two ago in Malaysia a question I was asked was, my husband has lied to me. I can't trust him. Should I get divorced? 2s And that might be a question which is relevant to you. So I asked the person, what do you do? And they were a math teacher in the university. And I said, okay. How long you've been married to that man? They said, three years. 1s That it's? Roughly speaking, 1000 days. Because they were math teacher. Just an approximation. 1000 days. Let's assume that maybe he says there may be 20 things to you a day. 20 statements which could be true or false. 1s So that's about 20,000 things he's said to you since you've been married. And now he's lied to you for the first time. Now, being a mathematician, you should know statistics and probability theory, what you can actually rationally say from that experience. The next time he says anything to you, it's a 20,000 to one chance he's telling the truth, which in my book, is very trustworthy worthy. 3s And isn't that true? When I put it that way, you see? Oh, it is true. You can understand that. That makes sense. But why is it in real life, when somebody lies to us, we say, I can't trust them anymore? 1s Because we only focus on what goes wrong. We only focus on the mistake. And we're blind to everything else. When you hear how new people have got diseases, you are blind to all those people who haven't got those diseases. 1s When you focus on all the people who failed, you forget all the people who succeeded. 2s This is exaggeration of the mind, the warping of reality out of many times, out of fear. So to overcome fear of the future, we have to be careful not to think just of all the things which might go wrong, but to include all the things which might go right as well. 2s Another favorite story of mine was from one of the greatest philosophers and spiritual guides of our age called Winnie the Pooh, 2s who's been immortalized on the silver screen. And once in one of the books, he was walking with little Piglet through the forest. And those of you who know the characters Winnie the Pooh and Little Piglet, winnie the who is this very soft, cuddly bear who has never gone to university or even school? He calls himself a bear of little brain and that's why he's so wise. He doesn't think, but he sees and he knows. He's lovable. 1s Just like a monk, I hope. 1s And little Piglet, because of his tiny size, he's just riddled with fear. He's a paranoid pig. 2s That's why it's called piglet. 1s Read the books. It's true. And so little Piglet and Winnie the Pooh had gone for their best of friends and they've gone for a nice walk together in a forest. And as they're walking home, the wind starts to pick up. A storm is coming and they're still many, many minutes from home. 1s Storms in a forest are very dangerous. I heard that while I was away in Singapore, there's a great storm in Perth and there was lots of lightning and floods and even electricity went out. Look, I only go away for a few days and what happens? I'm only joking. But when there's a strong storm, it's very dangerous as sometimes actually hold trees, fall down and crush cars and crush people. And that's what little Piglet was afraid of. And. 1s They hadn't reached safety yet. And they were walking in the open territory when these trees were swaying precariously around them, when not just twigs, but whole branches were being ripped off the trees and crashing to the ground around them. And even trees they could hear in the distance were uprooted by the power of the storm. This was dangerous time s and little Piglets was very, very scared. So scared that he grabbed little he grabbed Winnie the Pooh's paw, squeezed it tightly and said, I can't go on. I'm scared. I'm terrified. What would happen if a tree fell when we were underneath it? It'll kill us. And that was a real possibility that could happen. He wasn't imagining this. That had a chance to actually occur. What would happen if a tree fell when we were underneath it? For one moment, only one moment, winnie the Pooh was afraid. 1s But then his Buddhist wisdom I'm sure he was a Buddhist, I claimed him. 2s His Buddhist wisdom or his truth came to the fore. And know how he overcame that fear of being crushed by a tree. What would happen if a tree fell when we were underneath it? He said, but what would happen if it didn't fall on us when we're underneath it? What would happen if it didn't? And with that, all the fear passed and they walked home safely. All fear is what would happen if something awful happened. And the antidote to fear is what would happen if it didn't. 2s When people came to my talks in Singapore, instead of thinking, what would happen if somebody in there has got this terrible disease, it what would happen if Hacham Brahm brought this terrible disease back to Perth. And you're all in range? 4s Yes. Gad, come on. 1s What would happen if it didn't? 2s And there's more likelihood it didn't than it did. Now. That's how we overcome fear 1s to change up a session around. Instead of looking at what will go wrong, 1s we also include what will go right. 1s What will happen if my relationship doesn't work out again? 1s What would happen if I have to go through the same terrible pain again? What would happen if you think like that? Fear, you tense up. You don't relax. You're not yourself. You can't enjoy your partner. You don't have fun, so they're not enjoying you. They think you're weird, they go off to somebody else. You've actually feared yourself into breaking your relationship again. How often does that happen? 1s Instead of thinking of what would happen if he doesn't like what happened, if it got why didn't you think, what would happen if he does lie at me? What would happen if it really works out okay? What would happen if we're just happy for the rest of our lives, think like that? That's a real possibility too. 2s I'm not quite sure, but I think I remember from reading about the divorce rate of people. Even the divorce rate is high. Still, the majority of people actually stay together when they're married. Is that correct? 1s Still, the majority actually make it. So why not? When you get married, not saying, oh, I'm going to get divorced. I'm not going to get divorced. Everyone else gets divorced. My friend got divorced. Oh, my goodness. Then you will get divorced. And so all you actually see, you see the reality. You see the reality and then seeing the whole picture, then you don't focus on the negativity of the future. Focusing on negativity in the future is the root meaning of the word fear. Being afraid of what will go wrong. So you kids doing your exams, you people going to interviews for jobs, whatever you are, whoever you are, don't ever think what might go wrong. Otherwise, it will go wrong. You tense up. You can see how it works. You see how you actually bring those things into reality through fear, even sickness, you can see how you can bring that reality because of tightness, tenseness fear, decreased immune system system. That's why you get ill. But. So you can see what needs to be done. Now, the next thing with fear is actually to bring, like, mindfulness to what you're going on, so you can always remember what's happening. You always remember 1s that fear is a big problem and fear is delusion. You're just seeing one half of the problem. And fear exaggerates the odds against you. It exaggerates the odds that I have to get this disease or I have to fail. Just like it exaggerated little mice I heard in the forest. With that mindfulness, you can get wisdom. As you've heard me say before, mindfulness is not just seeing one door to go through, but many doors. It sees the big picture. 1s It gives you more information, wider opportunities. And so with mindfulness, you see there's other ways of dealing with this wisdom. And also telling my nose, shut up, don't be stupid. And also bringing a sense of happiness. Happiness, and this is an important point, is mental energy and. 1s You need mental energy to be mindfulness. To be mindful. You need happiness to be clear. 1s For example, that when you wake up in the morning and you're very, very dull, are you happy? 1s I don't want to get up in the morning. Another Monday, another Friday. I have to go and give a talk this evening at Dumb Alike. Oh, my God. I don't if you think like that, 2s you've got no energy, you're depressed. And also you're not mindful and clear. Which is why I teach my monks in Bodhignana Monastery. I teach this to myself and I'm teaching this to you now. Tomorrow morning, when you first wake up, jump out of the bed, Sippity doodle. Another a day. It's Saturday. We 4s are not crazy. 2s I'm just happy, that's all. 1s When you put energy, the first thing in the morning, you get mindfulness, you're alert, you're awake, 1s which means you don't make mistakes, which means you can overcome fear, which means you can protect yourself from sicknesses. Everybody knows that happiness is mental energy. Mental energy goes into the body as increasing your immune system. You don't get diseases. I never saw that movie. But apparently a few years ago we had did a fundraiser. Everyone went to see Patch Adams. Apparently was actually a real person. Used to make people sort of healthy just by making them laugh. That's for me. When I tell my jokes, it usually makes them sick. Oh, that's a terrible pud. 2s But really, even puds, we people like to laugh at it. So you see 1s that when 2s we put energy into our life. It's mindfulness, it's awareness alertness. You're alive when you're happy. 1s When you're depressed, you got no mental energy. Depression is also sadness and suffering. If you have a big tragedy in your life, it might be like a loved one has suddenly died or you just got sacked or whatever else it is. And then you feel, I'm so depressed. This is what has happened to me. You got no happiness, but you also got no energy. Please notice the connection between mental energy and happiness and how you can put mental energy into things with positive seeing the whole picture. And that way you don't get fear. 2s Anxiety. Exactly. Anxiety attacks often comes to people who don't know how to have fun, people who don't know happiness, people who don't put joy into their life. That's why they get anxious. And I know this because I was told once that the most fearful thing to do is to give talks in public, to be a public speaker, to. And this is my job now. I have to do it all the time. And even people say that even if you've been a public speaker for a long time, sometimes after two or three years, it might just come up. You're just very afraid. What might I say? 2s But that never happens to me. Sometimes, when I was in Singapore, two and a half thousand people will come into my talks over there in a big stage. Sometimes you go on television and it's dangerous going on television these days. You know why? Because now they've got these television series, I've been told, where if you make a terrible mistake, you do something really stupid. It's recorded and shown all over the world. 1s In the old days, they just edit it out and do it again. Not now. So imagine you were being interviewed on TV alive and you knew if you picked your nose, 1s that would be what was shot on these movies. Or if you fell off the chair where he said some stupid thing. 1s Isn't that fearful? 2s It isn't that terrifying that you are being shown all over Australia. Maybe the world and all your friends will see it and they'll tell you about it. After ze I saw you last night. 3s So I actually got this amazing trick. I don't know if it was taught to me or where I learned it from, but it certainly works. If you are ever have to give a talk in public, you have to present yourself to others. If you ever interviewed on TV, then the only thing to do is to have fun, to enjoy yourself, to relax and just make it a big jest and joke have fun. Because when you have fun, you cannot be afraid. It's an ante don't to fear. 1s That's actually what I do. When I came in this evening, just like every evening, I haven't got a clue what I'm going to say. When I go for the two and a half thousand people, I don't know what I'm going to say. You go on TV, you don't know what's going to come out your mouth next. 1s But you have fun doing it. When you have fun, you relax. When you relax, your mind gets clear. It has energy, mindfulness, and then all the right things come out. That's how we overcome fear. 2s So when people were telling me in Singapore, no, you'd just been with all these crowds, all these people, hundreds, thousand, probably thousands of people I was with, when you get back to Australia, they're going to probably quarantine you. And I thought, oh, wonderful, please do that. I can have two weeks retreat, I can have another holiday. Isn't it wonderful? Don't have to go to any meetings, don't have to give any talks, no counseling, no problems for anyone. Wouldn't it be great being counseling? So when I'm not afraid of it, then nothing happens? Maybe I should be afraid of it, then it might happen. 1s You now, you often notice that what you're afraid of, that's what happens. So I also teach this, the same technique to children who are doing exams. 1s Because you know, when you have an exam, it can be terrifying. Mostly because the parents psych them up and the teachers, this is important, this is vitally important. You must do well. And poor children, they get terrified of the exam and that's why they stuff up. They get so tense, they don't do well. I tell children, what sport do you play? Do you play footy or do play tennis? When you play tennis, do you tense up? Do you hate playing the tennis match? Do you lose sleep the night before about playing tennis? No, it's just a tennis match, that's all. It's a game, it's a competition, just like an exam. So how about looking at exams as sport, as a competition you're having? It's just a game you're playing, which you try to do your best. But it's fun. 2s Even when I was a school teacher, I had for one year I had to set the maths exam. I must have had these intuitions, this wisdom from the past somewhere, because I set a maths exam. Do you remember your your maths exam when you were at school? I put a joke in my math exam. 1s I remember that did 1s it was like a geometry 2s I started the question off two teachers sid still and be quiet were standing at a distance of 100 meters, an angle of I started that way sid still and be quiet. Because that's what teachers always tell the kids. And I wrote it down. Now I really expected the headmaster to sort of scratch it out and tell me off. But he encouraged me. 2s It. He was actually a good friend. He came to Nullamar actually a few years ago to see me and when I actually had his kids in the big hall in these desks with this exam paper at all these children half of them were in my class, half them within other class. I felt so sad and compassionate for them going into this exam all nervous and tense. No one was smiling. You know what? Remember this bike exams? And I felt so sad about sad for them and they all sat down and you were the invigilator had to tell them now is the time, put your pens down, don't turn over the exam paper. They're all nervous and this was not usual when the kids at school with all this energy they're all really suppressed now turn over the examination paper, you got an hour and a half. And I watched the kids face as they read my exam paper. They read the questions first of all when they came to the joke 1s I saw their faces sort of what's this? And then look at me and see my big smile and then they relaxed and then they did well I was so proud of that joke in exam papers wouldn't you like a joke in your exam papers? Wouldn't that be wonderful? Just to relax you and make you do well? 1s Kids again they thought I was crazy but they liked it so much they thanked me for taking the pressure of fear and. Off life. 1s So when you put fun and happiness into what you're doing, whatever it is, it brings up energy. It brings up sort of mental energy, physical energy. Great for the immune system, great for mindfulness, great for clarity. And you do well. No problem. 1s So this is how we deal with fear and how we overcome fear. It the other way. We overcome fear is what's going to happen anyway. And a big so what, we're walking through a forest, and so what if a tree falls on us and kills us? Quick way of dying. We still don't have to go to hospital. People are afraid of flying because sometimes there's an airline crash. If you're going to die, if you die in an air line, crash is one of the best ways of dying. It is. You know why? Number one, it's instantaneous. And number two, even if you haven't got any insurance, you get a big payout for your family. 2s It isn't that compassion. And you don't have to pay for the cremation because it happens automatically. It's all 5s on the same bill. Isn't a wonderful way to go 2s now you see, you're laughing and then you're not afraid of flying anymore. You just go in there. And if it does happen, isn't it wonderful? It doesn't happen. Isn't it wonderful? 1s That's how I felt when the previous Abbott ajan jaco and he disroped and I was left literally holding the baby, having to sort of look after the Buddhist aside, look after the monastery. And I reconciled. I wasn't afraid of the responsibility. I thought, what would happen if I fail, 2s if I'm no good as a teacher and the monks just really have no faith in me and they don't do what I ask them and they think my talks are really boring and I'm really stupid. What if I come in here and I give talks and all the people go, give me raspberries and say, that's really stupid. They walk out the door and they throw tomatoes or whatever. 2s And I thought, That'll be great, and I could be a hermit. I can just spend all the time and no one bother me anymore, have all the time to myself. That'd be marvelous, that'd be great. So I thought, if I fail, that'd be wonderful. Then I thought, what if I succeeded and the monastery went well and got lots of people coming to the center over here? That'd be wonderful. That'd be great. Because I can joy helping people. 2s And so it became I turned everything into win win situations. And that's how I overcame fear. 1s Because why could you be afraid when you can always make something out of whatever happens to you? Whatever happens? Even if you get sick, even if you don't get sick, if you die or you don't die, you win both ways. Then you don't get afraid. It so tell children doing exams. 1s If you pass the exam, that's great. 2s You feel good about yourself, and your parents will probably give you a few gifts and then get on further in life. But if you don't pass the exam, that's great. You don't have to do any more. 2s It's true. Because the only way to stop doing AMS is to fail one. And then you're finished. You're free. 5s So either way, you win. That way, you're not afraid anymore. 1s And even if you're meditating, so what? Good meditation, bad meditation? Either way, you win. 2s So that's how we overcome fear when we have 1s only one opportunity. We have to win. We have to get this. We have to do this. This has to work out. This way, when the other opportunity, the other possibility is rejected, can't happen. It mustn't happen. It shouldn't happen. Then we have fear. 2s When both possibilities are acceptable, whatever happens, we can deal with it. We can make something out of it. What you're afraid of? It's easy. 2s So a lot of times we have vested interest. This must happen. The other thing must not happen. I must not die. That would be terrible. I must live. I must not get sick. I must be healthy. I must pass the exam. I can't not pass the exam. I must win. I can't fail. 2s That's attachment, 2s that's thinking that you are controlling the universe, the big me. 1s When you let go of self 1s control, it must be this way. It can't be that way. That's what controlling is. It has to be my way. 1s When we let go of controlling again, no fear. Just nature unwinds its wonderful course. And I'm just a passenger on this journey. And whatever turn I get and whatever comes across is just life showing me, teaching me its uncertainty, its wonders, its little twists and turns of my life. And when you actually look at it that way, there's nothing to fear anymore. You're not attaching to controlling and steering this vehicle. You're not tensing up on the bike of your life. When you don't worry about what's coming your way, when you realize you can accept everything. No matter what happens to me, I can always do something with it. And. 1s Those of you who are afraid your relationship might deteriorate that your wife might leave you that you might lose your job that you might have no money great. Now I'm free to become a monk. 5s Or turn the gender around. Be a nun with Sister Wyoming's. Mom. See, they're great no matter what. So when you actually have that positive attitude when you have no vested interests when you let go of life and the future of control 2s of mine, then you have no fear anymore. Letting go is the ultimate end of fear. So I don't care if I get silent hours. I don't care if I die. When I don't care about these things you know what happens? You don't get them. We're not worried about life. That's when you live long. I'll finish off with one of my favorite quotes. The comedian George Burns when he was 96 years old on his birthday, he was interviewed by the press. And the reporter asked him, and this was actually printed. 1s He said, Aren't you worried about your lifestyle and its effect on your health? Because you smoke smoke many cigarettes every day. You drink alcohol, heaps of it. You stay out late at night with a terrible lifestyle. You have no exercise, you eat junk food. Aren't you afraid of dying? And his answer because he's a comedian. But most actually jokes who actually write down to the point of things. That's why they're so funny, because they're true. He said, I'm not worried. My wife, she was worried and she died 20 years ago, 3s so don't worry. Okay, thanks very much for listening. 1s You it. Any questions about the talk tonight? 2s Here. Go on. He's our president, by the way. I'm afraid of what he might ask. He knows too much. Go on. 3s Yeah. It is true that sometimes if there was a snake come into this room, a dangerous snake, you'd be very alert. But sometimes that's actually sometimes why people do extreme sports, because of fear. Gives them a heightened state of awareness, but it's a narrow state of awareness, not a wide state of awareness. So in a sense, it sort of wakes you up, but it doesn't give you the width of no fear because you're afraid of what might go wrong and you don't see what might go right. So that's a point here, which I was emphasizing, but you did a good point there as well, that fear actually does 1s give you, I suppose, a bit more alertness for a small wise, like a shot of caffeine. 2s Okay. Any other questions? S yeah, go on. One more question, then we'll 1s that's very good. False evidence appearing real fear. It's a nice one, isn't it? Remember false Evidence appearing real. Little mouse appearing like a tiger. 2s Sort of disease. I've got it. 2s Have you got a little feeling in your throat right now? Are you breathing normally? Really? Are you feeling a bit hot? Is that a fever? See what I mean? It's easy to psych people up. And to psych yourself up, 1s leave a little bit of fear in the body. Can you feel that bit of tightness in your breast? It is that a bit of a cancer coming? See, it's so easy to get afraid because in that way, actually, we create things. We create tightness intention and illness and sickness. So be careful of that. That's not a joke. 1s When you said about that mask of the red deaths, I killed only 20 people. Fear killed 200. I wouldn't be surprised if many of the cases actually in hospital diagnosed when they can actually see the virus is actually fear created. 1s The mind is a forerunner of all things. It is more powerful than you expect. It does create the world. Even things 2s you know that under hypnosis. A fellow who was actually touched by a piece of metal at room temperature. But it was hypnotized 1s to believe it was red hot. When it touched his skin, not only did he scream in pain, but a blister came up. It was room temperature, unhypnosis. Because the power of belief is actually in the hands of the hypnotist. He can actually tell you what to believe. A cold piece of metal creates actually the blister. 2s The mind interferes with the body that much. 1s That's why we have faith healing. That's why those of you have faith in me. You're all cured. 4s Okay? So you're all cured now. So hope you all go away happy and well.