Fear is unpleasant. It creates strong emotional trauma in us and make us do crazy things. We might be paralysed or do and say things that we would never have done in our saner state.
I think fear arises in reaction to a threat of losing something or a threat of getting something.
Threat of losing something
We fear losing our cherished material possession (including people, if we wrongly believe that people are part of our possession) – Attachment
We fear losing a relationship. We fear losing the love, respect and praises of others.
We fear losing an experience in life. For example, we fear losing our life and our senses. or we fear losing our environment to global warming.
I think it all boils down to attachment to something and we are afraid of losing them.
Threat of getting something
The opposite of the above would be a fear of being stuck with something we hate or are adverse to.
Is fear useful?
Some people state that fear can be useful because it makes us do the right things. For example, when we are fearful of global warming and man made catastrophe, we become more environmental friendly. A man afraid of losing his freedom and being imprisoned will refrain from evil. Fear of karmic effect will encourage people to do good and refrain from evil.
I think fear is an unhealthy emotional state and should not be spread; unless absolutely critical. I believe that man can be educated to do good by teaching him compassion and kindness.
I think fear is a toxic emotional state that will generally kill off the good vibes in any place. Since we do not enjoy fear, therefore we should not instil fear in others.
Unfortunately some “religious” or self-righteous people who are so full of themselves and ignorant, enjoy spreading fear to others; believing that they are doing it for the greater good. In a way, they are actually engaging in emotional terrorism and creating evil in the name of religion.
Dealing with Fear
I think one of the best way to deal with fear is an unshakeable faith that things with turn out for the best. (Aka HOPE)
In Buddhism, that can be achieved when we recognise the precious qualities of the Triple Gems (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha) and take refuge in them.
By faithfully and strongly believing that even at death, things will work out right because of the Triple Gems; we can settle our mind to peacefulness.
It doesn’t mean we do not deal with the threat at hand.
Instead we deal with threats with a compose and tranquil mind. I think that is a miracle of true refuge. For people who have faith in Guanyin, or Amitabha Buddha or Green Tara, etc that kind of faith help them live life with little fear.
Understanding the Buddha’s teaching can also help reduce the fear in our mind. For example, if we understand that this life is transient; like a dream or a movie, we face threats without fear too.
Hardcore spiritual practitioners who are successful in enlightening their perceptions will no longer have any ground to have fear. That is a state of total relaxation. GREAT CHILL OUT.