Sticky Notes of Thoughts

…because some thoughts are worth remembering

On Fear


Apparently there are only 2 innate fears:

  1. Fear of falling
  2. Fear of loud noises

The rest is learned, for better or worse.

It’s good news in that if you have any irrational fears that are holding you back, it’s not some genetic programming you don’t undo.

I’ve heard the word fear as an acronym:

F     False

E     Evidence

A     Appearing

R     Real

Obviously, that’s untrue for the 2 innate fears, because if it weren’t for the fear of falling, as beings who dwelled in the trees to be away from predators, we would have died before we can procreate, and presumably loud noises back then meant trouble most of the time.

While the acronym doesn’t address the complex fears we develop, it does point to a lesson about how we should separate “pain” and “suffering”. In this case, pain is what happens in life that hurts you, and the suffering is our reactions, including the narratives that develop to explain it, assigning blame, and victimizing ourselves. It’s much like the metaphor of the second arrow.

Acknowledging that most fears are learned vs. innate, may be able to help us separate pain from suffering, thereby reducing our tendencies to throw second arrows to ourselves.







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This entry was posted on April 5, 2015 by in Buddhism and tagged .
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