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Thread: Zen, fear, and apprehension

  1. #1

    Zen, fear, and apprehension

    Hello,

    Recently I have accepted a job in my field that is a challenge. It is an opportunity for me to grow and get out of my box a little. Still, I feel a wave of apprehension and fear bearing down on me. Its more of a nervous excitement mixed with other feelings. :?

    What I am wondering is, what does zen tell us about how to deal with these feelings? I personally feel that I am holding back these emotions from taking full control of me. I would imagine that we are really suppose to accept that these feelings are natural and temporary. Is it that we are better off to let them wash over us but not control us or try to force them back to the depths from which they have come? This would seem logical but its easier said then done of course. Does anyone have knowledge they could share? :mrgreen:


    Gassho,
    Dave

  2. #2

    Re: Zen, fear, and apprehension

    Dave, changing jobs / careers was always a very stressful time for me so I understand where you are. Sorry you have to go thru that. Will keep you in my metta prayers.
    /Rich

  3. #3

    Re: Zen, fear, and apprehension

    Thanks Rich!

    Gassho,
    Dave

  4. #4

    Re: Zen, fear, and apprehension

    Quote Originally Posted by dumm
    Hello,

    Recently I have accepted a job in my field that is a challenge. It is an opportunity for me to grow and get out of my box a little. Still, I feel a wave of apprehension and fear bearing down on me. Its more of a nervous excitement mixed with other feelings. :?

    What I am wondering is, what does zen tell us about how to deal with these feelings? I personally feel that I am holding back these emotions from taking full control of me. I would imagine that we are really suppose to accept that these feelings are natural and temporary. Is it that we are better off to let them wash over us but not control us or try to force them back to the depths from which they have come? This would seem logical but its easier said then done of course. Does anyone have knowledge they could share? :mrgreen:


    Gassho,
    Dave
    Well, first off ... Just Sit, dropping all thought of what life may do or might do, should do or you fear will do. Just Sit ... letting life flow ...

    Just sit with life in this way, on and off the cushion.

    Also, try to recall at other times (when off the cushion), when fear arises, that much of it is your "mind theatre" making a show. Practice mindful awareness of the mind's tricks. Try to recall, when feeling fear, that This panic is just a passing thought and emotion created by the mind, just the story I now write for myself, the dream I choose to dream. I know it does not have to be that way, and the world can be experienced from countless different perspectives. I can change how I think, I can drop so many of those ideas as self-created fantasies. Some of the fear may be justified, but much is just "what ifs" and "worst case scenarious" you are running around in your head.

    If you want to know about "worst case scenarious" ... remember these recent research studies ...

    In recent years, cognitive scientists have turned in increasing numbers to the study of human happiness, and one of their central findings is that we are not very good at predicting how happy or unhappy something will make us. Given time, survivors of tragedies and traumas report themselves nearly as happy as they were before, and people who win the lottery or achieve lifelong dreams don't see any long-term increase in happiness. ... They compared the self-reported happiness levels of lottery winners, paralyzed accident victims (both paraplegics and quadriplegics), and people who were neither. What they found was that lottery winners didn't report themselves appreciably happier than the control group, and while the paralyzed did report themselves less happy than the controls, the difference was not as dramatic as the researchers had expected. More recent and rigorous studies have yielded results broadly similar.
    http://www.biopsychiatry.com/happiness/ ... sured.html

    Thich Nhat Hahn, and really all Buddhist teachers, advise that we understand ... in order to get some mastery over ... the mind theatre. Thus, we have the Thich Nhat Hahn inspired "Nurturing Seeds" Practice here ...

    viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1730

    However, it -is- natural to have some fear, it is hard wired into the brain in the most primal parts. No amount of reasoning about it will make it go away. You are changing jobs, and that is stressful and scary. Furthermore, not even Zazen will keep all the fear away (at least, not until we all become perfect Buddhas). So our way (at least, in this corner of Buddhism) is not to be thoroughly without panic, fears, moments of emotional imbalance. It is to stop fighting it ... and then, though the fear might still be present to some degree, it loses its fire.

    Being afraid is one thing ... being 'afraid of being afraid' and resisting being afraid is another, and pours fuel on the fire!

    Often our Zazen will even let us "just sit" with the fear. And just sitting with that .... dropping resistance to the fear as well as to everything else ... can usually (not always) help that fear and anxiety lose some of its fire (because sitting resisting the fear has the effect of pouring more fuel on the fear, while sitting while not resisting the fear turns the fear into something much smaller!)

    A funny thing that can result is an experience of feeling fear ... while being totally free of any fear ... ALL AT ONCE. Fear and fearlessness, as one. Most folks who have been on this Zen road for awhile will have an understanding of what I mean by that.

    I came across an old sit-a-long talk today on this, if you want to look at it.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-s ... 2&limit=20

    Gassho, Jundo

  5. #5
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Zen, fear, and apprehension

    What I am wondering is, what does zen tell us about how to deal with these feelings? I personally feel that I am holding back these emotions from taking full control of me. I would imagine that we are really suppose to accept that these feelings are natural and temporary. Is it that we are better off to let them wash over us but not control us or try to force them back to the depths from which they have come? This would seem logical but its easier said then done of course. Does anyone have knowledge they could share?
    How about this? How different would your life look if you were not approaching it from a 'damage control' perspective? That is, what if you are not supposed to 'deal with' the feelings at all?

    Instead of setting up this against that - enter the feeling-as-part-of-everything with absolutely no resistance. Scratch that, even enter the resistance with no resistance.

    Just this. Just this. Just this. No attempt for things to be different - just a genuine curiosity about what is actually there.

    Are there problems? Yes, there are problems - but it is not a problem. Do you understand?

    Chet

  6. #6

    Re: Zen, fear, and apprehension

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    What I am wondering is, what does zen tell us about how to deal with these feelings? I personally feel that I am holding back these emotions from taking full control of me. I would imagine that we are really suppose to accept that these feelings are natural and temporary. Is it that we are better off to let them wash over us but not control us or try to force them back to the depths from which they have come? This would seem logical but its easier said then done of course. Does anyone have knowledge they could share?
    How about this? How different would your life look if you were not approaching it from a 'damage control' perspective? That is, what if you are not supposed to 'deal with' the feelings at all?

    Instead of setting up this against that - enter the feeling-as-part-of-everything with absolutely no resistance. Scratch that, even enter the resistance with no resistance.

    Just this. Just this. Just this. No attempt for things to be different - just a genuine curiosity about what is actually there.

    Are there problems? Yes, there are problems - but it is not a problem. Do you understand?

    Chet
    Yes, understood!

  7. #7

    Re: Zen, fear, and apprehension

    I find that when I do zazen, it helps me just notice the feelings much more then I thought it would. I think I see that in creating a resistance to the feeling I am having maybe I am creating a duality in my life and mind. Dropping resistance...hmmmm. Funny enough, the feelings of fear and apprehension have been unfounded thus far as things seem to be going swimmingly with the job. Its not me against my mind or myself or some emotions. Its all one and part of the ride. Hopefully that makes sense Thank you so much for every ones input.


    Gassho,
    Dave

  8. #8
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Zen, fear, and apprehension

    Quote Originally Posted by dumm
    I find that when I do zazen, it helps me just notice the feelings much more then I thought it would. I think I see that in creating a resistance to the feeling I am having maybe I am creating a duality in my life and mind. Dropping resistance...hmmmm. Funny enough, the feelings of fear and apprehension have been unfounded thus far as things seem to be going swimmingly with the job. Its not me against my mind or myself or some emotions. Its all one and part of the ride. Hopefully that makes sense Thank you so much for every ones input.


    Gassho,
    Dave
    The problem is that sometimes we try to make things one or drop resistance as a sort of tactic - which means we haven't really dropped anything. We try to psych ourselves into utilizing dropping as a backdoor tool towards getting what we want....which, of course, doesn't work.

    Chet

  9. #9

    Re: Zen, fear, and apprehension

    very interesting man. I am going to think about that some more.


    Gassho,
    Dave

  10. #10
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Zen, fear, and apprehension

    It is my personal experience (and countless others that I have worked with) that those things that are difficult end up being the most meaningful. For this reason I always recommend leaning into that fear of difficulty. There is no need to dive in to the deep end of the pool, although that is often what it feels like. When you fear the water is cold or hot in the shower/bath, you test it, right? Test the new job's difficulty before you fear it too much. Often what we fear is not nearly as scary as we thought; cognition (delusion) is often worse than reality. In all cases, regardless of the level of fear encountered, easing yourself into it is the way to go. By doing so it begins and ends with that zen awareness we talk about, but only you can experience in this new situation. And once you get through it you find the deeper meaning of the journey, because it was never about the destination.

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