Today, we will discuss non-duality and the cessation of fear. Fear is a phenomenon that relies entirely on the illusion of duality. It arises because of the belief in a separate “me” that can gain or lose, that is born and will eventually perish. Fear is essentially born out of this sense of separation, this illusion of duality. As I have emphasized before, all that exists is the self, the non-dual reality. From this understanding, there is nothing to fear. What is there to lose? There is no “other” to diminish or lose oneself to.

Living Fearlessly with Wisdom and Understanding

Living fearlessly, let’s say after enlightenment or awakening, occurs when the illusion of dwelling in duality is seen through. The “me” is no longer believed in, and with that realization, fear dissipates. Living fearlessly doesn’t mean becoming foolish or disregarding basic precautions. It’s not about throwing caution to the wind. For instance, when crossing the street, one should still look both ways. It’s not the fear of death that guides this action, but rather a wise understanding of the potential dangers present. Living without fear works perfectly fine as long as there is wisdom and understanding.

Fear as a Catalyst for Learning and Wisdom

Consider the example of young children. They are often fearless, except for loud noises and falling, which are inherent fears. Most of our fears are learned. Imagine a young child touching a hot coal or getting burned by fire. After such an experience, they develop a fear of fire. For those who have not gained understanding, fear serves as a defense mechanism, preventing them from repeating harmful experiences. However, it doesn’t have to end there.

Take, for example, firefighters or fire-eaters who perform daring acts involving fire. They don’t fear fire. Fearing fire would actually make their activities more dangerous. Instead, they possess a deep understanding of what they are working with. They respect it and know its potential consequences if mishandled. While they are not afraid, they exercise caution and act wisely.

Embracing the Illusory Nature of Fear

Similarly, after awakening, fear falls away. However, this doesn’t mean acting recklessly or thoughtlessly. It means realizing that there is nothing that can harm the essence of what you truly are. You cannot lose anything, just as you cannot truly gain anything. So, living without fear does not imply becoming unintelligent or ceasing all action. It simply means recognizing at a deep level that there is nothing to be harmed or lost, and acting in accordance with wisdom and understanding.

To draw an analogy, let’s consider playing a video game. Once you realize that it is just a game, you don’t need to fear losing in the game. However, this doesn’t mean you stop paying attention or act carelessly. You still navigate the game wisely, avoiding obstacles and seeking progress. Similarly, living fearlessly involves recognizing the illusory nature of fear and understanding that nothing can truly harm your essential being.

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