Topic:   Yoga
Author: Swami Sitaramananda   DATE: Sep 6, 2016   Comments: 0

Articles by Swami Sitaramananda

Transforming Fear into Faith

We must learn to clear away the impurities of the mind, the clouds of fear that obscure the light of the sun. We must have faith to seek out the sun when the mind experiences darkness. Whether we are dealing with specific fear or general anxiety, we need to cultivate the courage to face our illusions and be who we really are. We need to have the courage to remove our wrong beliefs and identifications and our thinking that we are a certain thing. All those beliefs and identifications are simply attachments and not who we really are, which is the eternal Atman.

To shift consciousness from the past to the present we practice meditation. We engage the intellect and channel the emotions with the courage to face our illusions.

Here are guidelines for transforming fear into faith:

What not to do:

1) Avoid negative company with those who believe in the wrong things. This is the surest way to kill your faith and increase your fear. Therefore, avoid negative people. This includes media as negative company, as well as internet gossip sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter).

2) Following the Yamas: Do not be angry or violent. Do not lie. Do not steal. Do not put your faith in the senses. Live a simple life; the more one depends on material objects the more fear one will have.

What to do:

1) Have faith in one’s Self. The Higher Mind (higher faculties) has the power to work its way through our problems; we must have faith that God only gives us challenges we can handle. We also have faith in the capacity to realize the Self. Faith to move beyond the fear of shining in our own true light.

2) Faith in a teacher and the practices he or she prescribes. The teacher must be an embodiment of the teaching; one who says, “do what I say, not what I do” is not an effective teacher. We have to know that we do not know. Move beyond our pre-conceived ideas of ourselves, teacher and teachings. Then, just practice.

3) Faith in the scriptures, where we get the observances of the Niyamas, exhorting us to practice purity, contentment, austerity and self-surrender. The practice of austerities (Tapas) disciplines the mind. Self-surrender means accepting what is; letting go and letting God’s will prevail. Let it be. Even if we are behaving rightly, we still have to bear the consequences of past actions, and have faith that eventually everything will pass. We must also practice  endurance and know that the journey is not going to happen overnight. The challenge of enduring past karma is learning not to react or retaliate. Forgive and forget. 

4) Finally, Self-reliance, which may be the same as faith in one’s Self, means we must rely on God dwelling within us as opposed to relying on an ego self.

What we must keep in mind is that any kind of faith will make us feel strong, evenwhen we have faith in the wrong thing. The opposite of faith is doubt. Doubt will make us feel weak. When we lose our faith, doubt in the underlying order of the universe or nature arises. When something happens that fails to meet our expectation, we lose faith in God, the universal laws and ourselves.

By Swami Sitaramananda

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