Sometimes I think that my main motivation for practice is fear. Is this also alright?

Lama Ole’s answer:

In your case, I would simply think, “OK, the fear is my horse!” As soon as fear comes up, you think, “Today my fear is particularly strong, so I will meditate a great deal!” I would let it run and use it again and again as a motor for the meditation. One day you will look around and all the veils will be gone. So use it!

One can learn to use the energy of a disturbing feeling, be it fear, jealousy, or any other. If one learns to use this power, the possibilities are huge.

What can one do against fears that keep coming back?

Lama Ole’s answer:

The best way to fight fear is in the long term. Working with the mind is like working with the body. If we do a lot of pull-ups today, we will not be strong today but rather tomorrow. Today, the arms hurt.

Meditation works exactly like this. If we have a problem today, we cannot remove it through meditating today. If, however, we meditated yesterday, the problem will not come today. And if it still comes, we can just wipe it off the table. We simply do not plant and harvest on the same day.

However, there are also methods for working on something like this quickly. Imagine you are in the process of conquering your mind, and then suddenly some problem shows up: fear, anger, clumsiness, or something like that. You can deal with it in two ways. Either you attack the problem or the disturbing emotion directly, sending in two battalions and saying, “Stop! That is not okay!” If you have enough capital in the form of good impressions in mind, then this will succeed. But if you notice that you don’t yet have enough knights in shining armor to get through this way—that is, the necessary motivation, power, or confidence—then you conquer the surrounding land instead. You just go on and do not think about the problem. Don’t identify with it; don’t feed it. Then when you look for the problem later on, it’s nowhere to be found.

Another option is to confront one’s fear by meeting it head on—no matter how bad it feels at first. This way one breaks its neck and it will never come back again. I remember one example from my own life when I was a child. I was visiting my uncle in Jutland and there was a thick electric cable in his basement. I had been told that this cable turned into a snake at night. One morning, my parents came down into the basement and saw me—I was probably three or four years old—with the cable in one hand and a club in the other. I had stood there all night, waiting for it to turn into a snake so I could smash it up. This is one way to deal with fear. But one can also go the way of wisdom and discover that there is no snake at all. This is easier of course.

How can one quickly dissolve fear?

Lama Ole’s answer:

Look around and think, “Who might want to buy this fear?” Then think, “She won’t buy it, he won’t either, and she over there is also not interested!” So you notice, “Well, maybe this fear is useless!” and then simply throw it away.

Fear is also often connected to the breath. One breathes in a wrong and irregular way in a fearful situation. So one technique is to force oneself to breathe more slowly and deeply. Breathe in to a point just below the navel. Hold the breath for a moment in the belly as if in a vase—but not to the point of dizziness—then breathe out again. If you breathe deeply like this a couple of times, the fear will gradually go away.

The best way to deal with all fears and difficulties is to think, “All beings are my friends and will benefit if I’m doing well. So I will simply give my best in doing whatever is in front of my nose.” Then one does just that. This is also good if one gets scared before exams. Then think, “This is actually a complete conspiracy. The examiner wants me to pass; the teacher wants me to pass. It’s all in my favor.” And then go into the exam, sit down with your friends, explain to them everything they didn’t understand, and give it your best in the exam. Make your environment so friendly that you can only win.

How does fear appear?

Answer of Lama Ole Nydahl:

Fear is not a primary or secondary feeling, but a tertiary one. The primary, basic disturbing feeling is ignorance; from this, others arise such as confusion, pride, and anger. Out of these then fear arises.

Fear originates from old anger and resentment which come up again and which one cannot stand having in one’s own mind. If one has these disturbing feelings inside oneself, and one’s mind looks at its own content, then it will see things it does not like and experience fear.

The outer world is a projection of our mind. If we look through rose-colored glasses, the world is beautiful. If we look through black glasses, it is horrible. We will have fear if the anger, resentment, and disturbances inside us have not been worked out. The best way to get rid of fear is to very consciously wish all beings everything good every day, as often and deeply as possible. There is no fear that will not disappear then; the blockages that one cannot bear will fall away. Good wishes for others are the strongest antidote.

In the case of anger and fear, it is also very good to do one million repetitions of the mantra om mani peme hung. This mantra is like an all-purpose cleaner. Om removes pride, ma dissolves jealousy, ni removes attachment, pe cuts through confusion, me eliminates avarice and greed, and hung destroys anger. Whenever we say om mani peme hung, we clean the inner mirror of our mind. This is very effective!