What is fear? What is it, in its essence? After all we can all give a zillion examples of fears – this fear and that fear, fear of something etc. But what is the thing itself, fear?
If I don’t want to walk out in front of that bus, is that fear. or is it simply intelligence, horse-sense? Are animals actually afraid (such as a horse of a snake) or are they just intelligent? Do animals worry about what will happen next? Do they hold grudges?
We modern humans fear in the psychological sense. We bring in the thought of time. We say, “If this, then that.” We programme ourselves to respond to future events and we bear the burdens of the past events. We set a program, an anxiety, an alertness, not to real and present danger but to future and imagined danger. We are so damned unhealthy and neurotic in this regard.
The problem seems to be that we live in time. Psychological time is the product of thought. We spend our days regretting or trying to repeat or undo the past, the pleasures and the pain and then there is the fear and expectation of the future. It seems to us that we are caught in a non-existing present, between the threats posed by the past and by the future. We have become lost in time. Is psychological time the cause of all fear?
But the present, the eternal moment, is actually all we have, all we have ever had. That is the fact of it.
Time is a great illusion, not chronological time, which is the sun going round the Earth and all that, but the idea that there are three great spheres of existence, the past, the present and the future. This is indeed an illusion. There is only the present and only ever was and only ever will be so. Nothing ever happened in the past. It always only happened in the present.
The ending of fear is the ending of time, in the psychological sense. To be entirely present in the present is to be free of time.