In stressful times many more people feel fear than in normal times. What this means is that an ability to be fearless becomes more essential than in normal times. How is that accomplished? Being fearful is a skill you can master. It doesn’t require any of the things society falls back on. You don’t have to be tougher, stronger, more of a man (if you happen to be a male) or call upon a strong man for help (if you happen to be female).
In reality you only have to be present, because in the present there is no fear. At first this sounds wrong, because when you experience worry and anxiety, the most common types of fear, they hit you here and now. But here and now isn’t the same as the Present. Here and now describes clock time. If you are waiting for a bus and it is five minutes late, once it arrives, it is here now. The present moment, however, has nothing to do with clock time. The present is a state of mind, and in fact is the most natural state of mind, the state your mind wants to be in.
One of the key concepts in my new book, Total Meditation, is that the mind will return to the present effortlessly if given a chance. Even though “living in the present” has become a popular phrase, most people still approach it as a kind of spiritual challenge that requires them to intensely focus to make sure they stay mindful and present. This is the mental equivalent of balancing a penny on the end of your finger. The penny naturally wants to topple over unless you exert an effort to keep it balanced.
The active mind can feel like that. When fear and anxiety are roaming the mind. Balance seems difficult. In reality it’s not. Fear, despite its unique power, is just another mental distraction. Distractions can also be pleasant, as we all know watching a movie, and the active mind finds them very useful, because when you are distracted, you get a vacation from the endless stream of thoughts and feelings that the active mind must deal with.