Your Worst Fear

“What is needed, rather than running away or controlling or suppressing or any other resistance, is understanding fear; that means, watch it, learn about it, come directly into contact with it. We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it.”
Jiddu Krishnamurti

Recently, a woman’s purse was stolen and a friend said, “Having my purse stolen is my worst fear!” It occurred to us that losing any personal possession would not be among our worst fears. Several other worst-case scenarios came to mind, however: Severe chronic pain, disfigurement, paralysis, loss of a family member, nuclear holocaust, and disruption of the planetary weather system were some of the top contenders for our worst fears.

Most likely, we all have a list of worst fears that come to mind from time to time. They are probably hanging around the back room of our consciousness, maybe not getting our full attention, but draining energy nevertheless. Life is stressful enough without worry over things that will probably never happen.

Why not look at your fears, evaluate them, and seek to respond appropriately to them? If your fears are irrational, you can discount them. If they have some basis in reality, perhaps you can address them and reduce their draining effect on your emotions.

Say to yourself, “I fear…” or “I am afraid that…” or “My worst fear is…” and see what comes up for you. You might want to do this on paper.

Then ask yourself if these are reasonable fears to have.

If the answer is “Yes.” What might you chose to do about the fear? Is there any way to reduce the risk or the consequences? Do you need to take out a life insurance policy, save more for retirement, wear a hat in the sun, stop risky behavior, or work for social change? Can you form a clear intention of what you want to do? Will you then do it?

If your answer is “No, this is not a reasonable fear” how can you let go of it?

For instance, maybe you have a fear of a life of poverty, but there is no rational reason to believe that that is what’s in store for you. What would you be able to tell yourself to reassure yourself that this fear is probably a phantom that should be dispensed with?

Perhaps you can affirm to yourself the condition that you would like to occur. Replace your mental image of catastrophe with an image that reassures you and perhaps helps to create the conditions you do want. For instance, if poverty is your fear, you might visualize yourself having the lifestyle you want to have, and repeat in your mind an affirmative statement, such as “I am prosperous. Wealth flows to me. I am secure in my financial future.” Create your affirmations using an “I” statement. State them in the present tense, as if they already existed, and repeat them often until they feel true to you.

In addition to dispelling your false fear with more positive mental imagery and affirmations, what can you do in the world of cause and effect to counter your fear? Again using the example of a fear of poverty, are there things you can do to secure your financial future, such as seeking a better job or learning more about investments?

Your worst fear list can tell you about yourself and where you have been. It may tell you about your family and the fears of your parents. Knowing your fears, you can make choices about them. You can reduce their drag on your future.

To the Meditation Archive Menu

To the current Meditation of the Week


© 2001 Tom Barrett