As I write this post I sense the “fear of the unknown” getting to me due to the growing pandemic. I feel as if I have stepped into some “unknown territory” where I can lose everything in the very next moment – There is “uncertainty” everywhere. I know I have to live through this however off late I have been thinking a lot about How To Overcome The Fear Of Unknown so that it doesn’t paralyze me.
Are you experiencing something similar? Is “fear” gaining control over your life?
In this post, I shall share a few things that I learned through my readings and also talk about an online course “Embracing The Unknown” that I came across during my research.
What is The Fear of Unknown (Exactly)
To understand the fear of the unknown you need to know how our brain functions. Our ‘brain’ does not like change and is hard wired towards safety and seeks comfort with the “known” or familiar territory. Its priority is to keep us safe from all possible threats and protect us all the time.
Fear of the unknown stems from ‘uncertainty that you foresee in the near future. It is this uncertainty that makes us uncomfortable and stops us from trying new things. So whether it is starting a new business or taking up a new project at work, what you really fear is not the unknown but it is the fear of uncertainty, loss, failures, rejections, embarrassment, or shame.
How Fear of Unknown Can Unleash Your Hidden Potential
Have you tried speaking in public?
Did you know that every single person in this world is scared of speaking in public? Yes, I am not kidding…even the best of the orators were scared when they first faced the audience. There are people who prefer to die as compared to being on a stage and speak in front of an audience. Public speaking is definitely one hidden skill that can be developed, honed, and mastered over time.
Ask any successful person – Did he know the exact steps to become successful?
The answer would be “NO”. You can do all the planning, set realistic goals, have a roadmap, hire the best coaches but the TRUTH is you still won’t be able to figure out everything to the tee. Having a certain degree of uncertainty or fear is actually a good thing as it provides you an opportunity to experiment with new things and grow.
As a matter of fact, you should learn to become comfortable with some degree of fear, risk, and anxiety in life. Perhaps this is the only way you can quickly adapt to change. Like for instance, in the ongoing covid pandemic, no one would have ever imagined that the whole world come to standstill because of this crisis. The impact is so huge that it has created all kinds of fear, uncertainty, risk, grief, loss, and anxiety – Now how do you deal with this?
You can either use the fear, uncertainty to learn new life skills and grow as an individual or simply perish.
Practical Advice From Buddha To Deal With Fear
Buddha says fear is always there within us. The fear of getting old, getting sick, dying, or being abandoned by our loved ones. It is human to be fearful and to worry about it.
Buddha advises not to suppress these fears, instead recognize them and smile at them. Every time you do this your fear loses some of its strength. He says you can do this practice by reciting a chant that is practiced daily in Buddhist monasteries, it goes like this:
“Breathing in & out, I know I am of the nature to die; I cannot escape death. I am of the nature to grow old; I cannot escape old age. I am of the nature to get sick because I have a body, I cannot avoid sickness. Everything I cherish, treasure, and cling to today, I will have to abandon one day. The only thing I can carry with me is the fruit of my own action”
If you can recognize this reality and smile at it then facing your fears will be easy.
How To Embrace The Unknown (Learn From The Expert)
When it comes to embracing the unknown I want you to learn the art of stepping into the unknown and embrace it fully from one of the most famous western Buddhist teachers Pema Chodron.
She created a four-part online course on Letting Go & Welcoming Change to embrace the unknown with an open & curious heart. I shall talk about the course in a moment but before I proceed further, a few words on your teacher.
Pema Chodron is an American-born Buddhist nun and the author of many modern-day spiritual classics. She has inspired millions of people around the world with her books and online teachings.
She is often referred to as a “bodhisattva warrior” and currently serves as a resident teacher at Gampo Abbey Monastery in Nova Scotia. Life was not easy for her, as she went through two failed marriages at a very young age and had to cope with a lot of emotional trauma and fears.
You can learn more about her popular online courses Living With Vulnerability & Freedom To Love. Also, find the Pema Chodron Collection that has three of her most liberating audio programs. Watch the 2-minute video wherein you can see Pema discussing with Oprah Winfrey the nature of fear.
What You Will Learn In This Course
There are four major sessions in this course. A total of nine hours of audio and video training. As you go through these sessions you will learn everyday practices for befriending change and get answers to deal with some of the biggest fears of your life. Let me provide you a quick overview of all four sessions:
First Session: Stepping Into Groundlessness
Pema says life inevitably pushes everyone off the cliff sooner or later and when that happens all of sudden you lose that solid ground and find yourself in a free fall, completely shaken, panicked, and lost – This is a state of groundlessness.
You experience groundlessness in situations – When you suddenly lose your loved ones (it can be parents, spouse, siblings, or children) or your marriage falls apart or you lose your job or you met with an accident and find yourself incapacitated.
Pema says it is only by welcoming groundlessness you can manage such situations skillfully. In this session, she introduces you to The Tibetan Book of the Dead and the concept of bardo that helps you step into groundlessness and find deeper insights as you go through painful experiences in life.
Second Session: Living With Uncertainty
In this session, Pema talks about the time between life and death and also about the time between death and rebirth. She explains resisting your emotions makes them more powerful, they start to take control over you. Learning to feel emotions surrounding uncertainty and letting them go will help you connect with every moment of your life.
As you practice letting go you would notice it is easier to befriend your fears, uncertainties, and insecurities. You will no longer be afraid of the unknown and instead, look at it as a part of an adventure.
Third Session: Finding Peace In The Critical Moments of Transition
In the session, we look at moments where you are neither “here” nor “there”. These are ground-shaking moments wherein there is chaos, anxiety, and confusion. Like the ongoing pandemic that has left the whole world with a host of challenges and no one knows how all this is going to end.
You will learn through this session how to navigate such critical moments in life and discover how to cultivate peace and natural ease as we transition the phase. You will understand the “nature of mind” where both freedom and fearlessness reside & respond to life with love & courage.
Fouth Session: Identify Seeds For Your Future
In the final session, you will learn “Samatha Meditation Practice” which leads you to gain insight & wisdom. As you continue your practice you would identify seeds of spiritual fulfillment that are contained in every unwanted experience.
As the session comes to an end you would have the knowledge and the foundation to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. You would know the techniques, everyday practices that would prepare you for the inevitable and befriend with the unknown.
BONUS Programs (Limited Period Only)
As I write this post there are Two Bonus Programs that are offered with this course to complement your journey.
#1: Liberation Upon Hearing In The Between
In this audio program, Robert Thurman the distinguished Tibetan Buddhist scholar illuminates the classic text The Tibetan Book of the Dead with up-to-date insights for modern audiences.
Professor Thurman simplifies the specialized knowledge and reveals the Tibetan view of dying: it is not an ending to be feared, but an astonishing and liberating culmination of our life’s journey, potentially opening into glorious new beginnings.
#2: Walking The Walk
In this audio program, Pema Chodron offers four sessions of fundamental wisdom for living an authentic spiritual life. The teachings in these sessions are not about perfection or unrealistic standards.
No matter the situation you find yourself in, this is a program for remaining true to the values we seek to live by, and staying open to the kindness and love that is always available to support us.
How Much Does This Course Cost
As I write this post this course is offered at a special offer. The actual price of this course is $227 however it is offered now at a one-time price of $97. You can take advantage of this promotional offer have access to one of the best teachings available right now on this subject.
This course is backed with a 100% Money Back Guarantee wherein if you are not satisfied for any reason, you can return the course and claim a complete refund within 1 year from the date of purchase. So go ahead and try this course with completely zero risks.
It’s natural to be afraid during uncertain times however the onus is on YOU to cultivate the courage necessary to face change head-on. There is no one better than Pema Chodron who can guide you on this journey. She will not only teach you how to prepare for the inevitable but also show you how to let go by honoring difficult emotions such as fear, sadness, and grief.
Please note I receive compensation if you click on any links mentioned in this post to purchase a product or service from the third-party website. Also, purchasing a product or service from the above links does not increase your purchase price, however, it is a great way to thank me if you enjoy my content and find my suggestions useful. I only recommend products and services that I have personally used or thoroughly researched.
This Post Has 12 Comments
I feel meditation and mindfulness are seriously underrated. I have witnessed first hand how meditation can help with anger, stress, mental health issues and coping with day to day, I have also seen how it gives a new appreciation of things in your life, like gratitude.
I work in a Men’s maximum security prison with Substance Misuse clients. Never have I seen something so simple change so much over a short period of time. I really enjoyed your article and I really hope you have many new clients because I genuinely believe it will change their life.
I am really keen to find out more about the Pema Chodron type of meditation. Thank you for taking the time to introduce me to a different type of meditation. Can I ask how long has this been a part of your life and is it something you do in the morning or in the evening?
Thanks for your comment and sharing your experience with meditation & mindfulness. In this program on “How to overcome the fear of unknown” Pema does not stress on meditation practice instead shares her insights that will help you befriend change and find answers to face some of the biggest fears of your life.
If you are looking for meditation training from Pema Chodron they have a look at her guide “How To Meditate”
I hope this helps, stay blessed 🙂
Nobody is born with all the knowledge they need to live a happy and meaningful life.Therefore, at first, everything is an unknown, yet are babies naturally scared? I don’t think so! They are just living in the moment.
I think there is a lot to learn by just living in the moment. This way, we are not projecting fear of “what might happen” in the future. We are just “being”.
A mentor is really useful to help us to forge our own path, and help us discover a more fearless life, and Pema Chodron’s course seems like a very useful resource.
Many thanks for sharing.
You are spot on – Babies truly display how to live in the moment. The fact remains that once upon time we were also babies. However as we grow into adulthood we get lost in the world around us and get shaped by experiences we face in life. With right training and a good mentor does help us to re-discover our innate qualities to live life without fears ~ Stay Blessed 🙂
It’s so true that we face the unknown every single day in our lives, and I feel like we all need to learn the nature of fear to be fearless, just like what Pema said in the video. I like the idea that she taught us to honor fear, sadness, and grief with courage instead of running away from them, leading us to move on and let go.
Another perk is that you can ask for a refund within one year if you think this isn’t going to work for you, so I will take serious consideration to purchase it and share this information with my friends.
Thanks for sharing today!
Yes I agree, the common reaction to fear is to either run away or avoid them. There are also a majority people who are completely unaware of dealing with fears. With right knowledge, training and practice one can find opportunities in fear to grow and discover a fearless way to lead life ~ Stay Blessed 🙂
Thanks for sharing this course at this time. It is very timely and I am sure would provide comfort and solace to any who take the plunge and follow it. Reading your post I am reminded of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It would be easy when we fear for our well-being to forget our spiritual needs and instead focus on rearranging our lives to avoid or reduce the risk of getting sick. But it is precisely at these times that we need to stay aware of our spiritual needs. Because it is our spiritual strength that can pull us through, as you say by embracing groundlessness. Because times will inevitably come in life when the ground disappears from under us. Thanks again, Andy
Very well said…it is indeed our spiritual knowledge that will comes to our rescue especially when we face through challenging phases of our life. This course prepares you to face such situations, it shows how to cultivate courage when you are completely shaken & feel lost. It teaches us to understand the nature of sadness, grief so that you can deal with love & patience ~ Stay Blessed 🙂
Sometimes fear comes from our experience in life. You end up thinking you will always get the same result, and fear creeps in. You either face it or run. There’s no better way than to face your fear with courage.
Yes – Welcome fear and march towards it boldly to fully experience it. If you do this you are bound to find deeper insights that will only shape your character for better things in life ~ Stay Blessed 🙂
Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts on this subject! My 8 year old son recently started asking me of I was going to get older as he continued to grow up. He said he did not want me to get old, but to “stay the same”.
It is hard to wrestle with these concepts and the things we have to deal with just from being humans. I told him that everything is born and everything dies, and that’s the natural way the world works. I found this article very helpful as I deal with thinking of these concepts and having to explain them to my children who seem to have more questions everyday as they grow up. This course sounds very helpful!
Indeed you are doing the right thing by helping your kids understand about the “nature of impermanence”. Nothing is permanent and everything around us will change. As human beings we always tend to cling on thoughts, experiences and condition our life around the same. However, when life pushes you into situations that you never expected, we succumb to the fear. Hence, it is important to learn the art of stepping into the unknown and embrace it fully ~ Stay Blessed 🙂