Fear seems to underlie our habitual world. Fear is covered over by habitual roles and behavior patterns. The slightest interruption of these habitual patterns brings an immediate response of fear. Our habits can be pleasant like romantic fantasies, or unpleasant, filled with anger. These habits reflect memories of happiness, or hurt over and over again.
By maintaining our habits we are deadening ourselves to the world. An honest examination of these habits (the way we hold our body—tensing the body against the threat of the world; the way we speak—loud and fast, or softly, slurring words; the way we react to emotions—always angry and resentful; the way we think—rigid belief systems) is the way out. By becoming intimate with our fear we discover fearlessness.
Through meditation practice we learn to recognize and experience our fear more directly. Meditation here is about coming to know fear more and more intimately. How do we do that? We honestly take a look at what lies underneath the story of fear. During meditation practice we may discover how our thoughts continuously create fear. By labeling our thoughts and coming back to the breath we momentarily dissolve fear. This shows us how we constantly create and dismantle fear. We learn to experience fear in a gentle loving way and that helps us to open up more and more to life.