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.