The Futility of Fear

“Physical pain is a nervous response, but psychological pain arises when I hold on to things that give me satisfaction, for then I am afraid of anyone or anything that may take them away from me.”

I Am Afraid

My inquiry now is how to be free from the fear of the known, which is the fear of losing my family, my reputation, my character, my bank account, my appetites and so on. You may say that fear arises from conscience; but your conscience is formed by your conditioning, so conscience is still the result of the known. What do I know? Knowledge is having ideas, having opinions about things, having a sense of continuity as in relation to the known, and no more.There is fear of pain. Physical pain is a nervous response, but psychological pain arises when I hold on to things that give me satisfaction, for then I am afraid of anyone or anything that may take them away from me. The psychological accumulations prevent psychological pain as long as they are undisturbed; that is, I am a bundle of accumulations, experiences, which prevent any serious form of disturbance -and I do not want to be disturbed. Therefore, I am afraid of anyone who disturbs them. Thus my fear is of the known, I am afraid of the accumulations, physical or psychological, that I have gathered as a means of warding off pain or preventing sorrow. Knowledge also helps to prevent pain. As medical knowledge helps to prevent physical pain, so beliefs help to prevent psychological pain, and that is why I am afraid of losing my beliefs, though I have no perfect knowledge or concrete proof of the reality of such beliefs.

Fear of Death

Why are you afraid of death? Is it perhaps because you do not know how to live? If you knew how to live fully, would you be afraid of death? If you loved the trees, the sunset, the birds, the falling leaf; if you were aware of men and women in tears, of poor people, and really felt love in your heart, would you be afraid of death? Would you? Don’t be persuaded by me. Let us think about it together. You do not live with joy, you are not happy, you are not vitally sensitive to things; and is that why you ask what is going to happen when you die? Life for you is sorrow, and so you are much more interested in death. You feel that perhaps there will be happiness after death. But that is a tremendous problem, and I do not know if you want to go into it. After all, fear is at the bottom of all this -fear of dying, fear of living, fear of suffering. If you cannot understand what it is that causes fear and be free of it, then it does not matter very much whether you are living or dead.

— Krishnamurti, J. Krishnamurti, The Book of Life

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