Saturday, 9 March 2013

The Fearless Practicioner

transitory - passing - fleeting - temporary - momentary

Selfishness and anxiety can arguably be rooted in fear. Fear is rooted in attachments. For example, one can be bound to attachments rooted to objects and mental formations that have existed in the past, exist in present, and are expected to exist in the future. This is driven from the ego and its attempt at self preservation.

One can have a present awareness without being attached to what is going on in the present. For example, one can value one’s livelihood, prepare for it for many years, and nurture it for many years, without becoming attached to it. In this way, we do not introduce fear into how earn our rice for the day.

You can treat the wonderful people you  have encountered along your journey through the wilderness with loving kindness without being necessarily attached to them. The journey, the people, and the wilderness are all transient. When we remove the fear we make room for compassionate expression.

This may be a reasonable explanation as to why many Buddhist activists have been applauded through the ages for being fearless when fighting oppression, even if it means sacrificing their lives.

It is also a reasonable explanation as to why people are often confounded when the impulses of the practitioner do not align with the impulses of those that surround the practitioner. Sometimes a non impulsive behavior is interpreted as a lack of awareness, a lack of interest etc. However, practitioners have many "gut instincts" that they bring up for vetting because they are aware that many of these instincts are a by product of the ego.

Human beings project their fears and impulses on others. In a way, the projectors witness traces of their own ego in others because they are projecting their fears and impulses and confirming their own delusion.

“Turn the other cheek” is a confounding methodology because it goes against our impulses for the self preservation of the ego. The ego is often in denial about the transient nature of objects, beliefs and other mental formations because of the ego's own transient nature and its attachment to itself.

When we are truly present and aware, we are not bound by such attachments that the ego uses to deny its transient nature and we leave room for compassionate expression.  

With Trust,


  1. The sometimes spectacularly great, sometimes weird and disappointing Ken Wilber wrote a bit and talks a bit about being The Witness -- which I think relates to what you write, here, Sean. I'd be curious what you think.

    Here words of Wilber:

    A steady, calm Witnessing in the midst of turmoil keeps one directly related to Spirit, as Spirit, and anchors one in what really matters and what is ultimately Real. That way, the surface phenomena can continue to simply come and go as they will, but you remain anchored in the unchanging Source and Ground and real Self of it all.

    Do whatever you can to help with the surface phenomena, but remain anchored in their Witness, so that day-to-day realities “hurt you more, but bother you less.” “Hurt more,” because you are more sensitive, more aware of them and let them all in, you don’t turn away or hide from them. But “bother you less” because you have ceased to identify with them, remaining “neti, neti,” or “not this, not that” but the impartial Witness of them all.

    More Wilber on The Witness:

    “The Witness is a huge step forward, and it is a necessary and important step in meditation, but it is not ultimate. When the Witness or the soul is finally undone, then the Witness dissolves into everything that is witnessed. The subject/object duality collapses and there is only pure nondual awareness, which is very simple, very obvious.”

  2. Yes. Thanks for sharing. I do identify with the spirit of words of the author. It is important to stress, which I may not have, that being fearless does not mean being cut off from experience. I myself am weird and disappointing at times. Some things are hard to articulate because we are limited by language and concepts. Best, Sean.

  3. SFlanigan, Oop. I shouldn't have tagged Ken Wilber as "weird and disappointing" though after his many times defending sexually aggressive gurus, I now always begin by looking askance at his words whereas I used accept what he wrote, easily.

  4. Fear never comes alone, usually comes with attachment and ego ilussions.

    first time in this blog, simply love it!!

    regards from Mexico.