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Lions Roar : March 2011
SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2011 49 through it and stumbled upon an article on fear. it said that scien- tific tests have proved that people are more afraid of uncertainty than they are of physical pain. wow, i thought, that gets right to what i’ve being saying about the basic queasiness that leads us to all kinds of self-destructive and other-destructive habits; about the whole chain of events that emerges from our fear of uncertainty, of not knowing what in the world is happening or what is going to happen. all this emerges from wanting to get it safe and secure and comfortable. i’ve done a lot of observing of myself, my friends, and other peo- ple, trying to see how this nervousness about uncertainty happens to us and what it leads to. it’s interesting to explore what happens with our bodies, our speech, and our mind. i’ve come up with a very nice, little, secure, comfortable answer. i figured it all out and now i don’t have to be scared any more. that’s not how it works, of course. noticing is not necessarily about finding security. what i’ve noticed is that there are two main ways that fear of uncertainty affects us, at least initially. one is that we speed up and the other is that we get very lazy. Through her powerful teachings, bestselling books, and retreats attended by thousands, Pema ChödRön has become today’s most important american-born teacher of Buddhism. in the wisdom of no escape, the places that scare you, and other popular books, she has helped us discover how difficulty and uncertainty can become opportunities for awakening. Recently, she has given teachings based on the book smile at Fear: awakening the true heart of Bravery, by her late root guru, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. This article is adapted from her talks to some 3,000 people in the Bay area from October 15 to 17, with another 2,000 viewing the teachings online. The basis of fear is not trusting yourself, not loving yourself. In a nutshell, you feel bad about who you are.