A life lived in fear is not a happy life. Perhaps that seems obvious but if it’s so obvious why are so many of our actions motivated by irrational fears?

If we were really rational, most of us would not worry too much because, frankly, most the time we don’t have much to worry about. Sure the odd time in our lives we all go through crises. I accept that but crisis is not normally the dominant situation.

So for the rest of the time, how can we avoid living in fear? The answer is to train the mind in present moment awareness.

If we are gripped by fear and we bring the mind into the present moment, we can realize immediately whether or not that fear is irrational. Secondly we can overcome that fear — even if it is rational — by continuing to bring the mind back to the present moment.

This works in two ways. First, it prevents the fear from clouding our judgement because we don’t allow the mind to reside there. Secondly, in the present moment, we gain access instead to wisdom about the right course of action or whether no action would be better.

If we train in mindfulness we can see that we don’t have to live in constant fear. Our actions can be motivated instead by wisdom and that makes for a much happier life.

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(1) Understand the Pain, D. Overcoming Pain, Uncategorized