In her book, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, Pema Chodron tells this story about Buddhist meditation master Trungpa Rinpoche:
He told a story about traveling with his attendants to a monastery he’d never seen before. As they neared the gates, he saw a large guard dog with huge teeth and red eyes. It was growling ferociously and struggling to get free from the chain that held it. The dog seemed desperate to attack them. As Rinpoche got closer, he could see its bluish tongue and spittle spraying from its mouth. They walked past the dog, keeping their distance, and entered the gate. Suddenly the chain broke and the dog rushed at them. The attendants screamed and froze in terror. Rinpoche turned and ran as fast as he could—straight at the dog. The dog was so surprised that he put his tail between his legs and ran away.
Rinpoche had the right idea: Face your fears head on, no matter how terrifying they appear. Turn away in fear from a challenge that must be faced and it only grows more formidable, swallowing up more of your emotional energy with each passing day.
Courage is being scared to death . . . and saddling up anyway.
As the details of your evasion sink to the bottom of your memory, your fear gradually softens into vague feelings of uneasiness and regret that block you from bringing more peace into your life.
Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on.
Fear can only be conquered if it is seized and wrestled to the ground. Shrink away from it and fear becomes your master.
Look into your fears, dare them to do their worst and cut them down when they try. If you don’t, they’ll clone themselves, mushroom till they surround you, choke the road to the life you want. Every turn you fear is empty air, dressed to look like jagged hell.
ABOUT PHIL BOLSTA
Phil is the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent people he interviewed, including Joan Borysenko, Deepak Chopra, geneticist Dr. Francis Collins, acclaimed sportswriter Frank Deford, Dr. Larry Dossey, Wayne Dyer, Dan Millman, Caroline Myss, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, Dr. Bernie Siegel, James Van Praagh, singer Billy Vera, Doreen Virtue, Neale Donald Walsch, and bassist Victor Wooten.
Reading this book is like spending a few minutes face to face with each of the contributors and listening to their personal stories. Click here to read unsolicited testimonials from readers. Learn more by visiting the official Sixty Seconds website.
Sixty Seconds was one of three finalists in the General Interest/How-To category at the 12th annual Visionary Awards presented by COVR (Coalition of Visionary Resources) in Denver on June 27, 2009.