Skip to main content


There are times in life when intrusive, fear based thoughts latch hold of us, filling the mind with swarming, buzzing thoughts, distracting us during interactions with others, muting the sensory richness of each moment—the sounds, body sens
ations, aromas, feelings and on. Such dire visitors—generally based on past resentments or speculative fears—can easily bait and hook us, threatening us with annihilation, repeating constantly; given how constant the messages can be, releasing such thoughts can feel like ignoring ‘the world is going to end’ new flashes on CNN or city sirens announcing impending hurricanes. The mind can really play tricks that make it all to easy to abandon the present, which is, of course, the only place of true safety and utility.

When we find the mind latching onto these narratives, images or moods, and we can’t reassure, reason with or let go, sometimes the only solution is to give up the battle and actually write down what our fears are trying to tell us. If we’ve tried to replace the fears with reflections of gratitude and meet little success, the next step is to write—or type—out whatever the dread and foreboding wants us to know. In such an exercise its essential to not edit or resist, but give full permission to the fear, allowing it to express every last negative prediction in its article. Indeed, when the fear narratives begin to dry out, ask them: “And then what?”

Once we’ve finished writing it out, take a series of long, smooth rewarding breaths, relax the body, move to a different location to flood the mind with new sensations and impressions.

Its worthwhile to give our fears, cravings and depressions names to greet them with each time they arise: the Buddha called his inner demons, his desire to quit the path, “Mara.” I’ve greeted my demons with many names over the years, but I never give my fears negative or condescending titles; the point of greeting each visitor is to avoid identifying or believing fear, anger, sadness, etc to be ours; in naming these impulses we give them permission to arise without resistance or clinging.

If, after we’ve journaled, a fear returns with some energy in persistence, remind it that we’ve given it time to vent, now its our turn to enjoy life for a little while, until our next journal session.

After a few days pass its worthwhile rereading our fear (or anger or sadness) writings from a fresh perspective. A little removed from the thoughts, we quickly see how unlikely or overblown most fears are in retrospect. Generally, our fears are where that ‘inner child’ resides for, like the very young, fears believe that every new change or challenge in life will lead to abandonment and disaster. While we’ve grown up to be adults, our fears still view the world from the perspective of a frightened infant, seeing annihilation around every corner.

This is where Metta practice comes in handy; if we can feel the presence of this frightened inner experience—perhaps as a tightness in the abdomen, or an unsettled quality of mind—we can send it thoughts of good will: “I love you, keep going, I care about you, I’ll take care of you.” Eventually we learn to reparent these feelings of vulnerability. It’s a lovely practice that helps us move through life with far greater inner resources.


  1. This is the perfect blog for anyone who wants to know about this topic. The article is nice and its pleasant to read.

    Lydia Supremacy


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Is There Life on Earth?

Our ancestors knew that physical proximity, being seen in the eye of others via direct, face-to-face contact was, and is, the core foundation of mental and physical health. Without the emotional co-regulation that community provides, our sympathetic nervous systems never switch off, we’re forever on guard. 
Remember: The human species survived and thrived because we lived in tribes where individuals labored not just for themselves, but the benefit of others; we didn't survive by outrunning predators, for we are without wings, shells or claws; we survive because we are pack animals, wired to connect, our primary means to survive threats and heal our wounds; without connection chronic stress is the inevitable result.
     Loneliness is not a spiritual state to seek, it’s a health risk: the bonds of community, emotional mirroring, acceptance heal our wounds, help us grow, produce states of ease and confidence. People in communities live significantly longer, healthier lives.

Integrating the Head with the Heart

Integrating The Head With The Heart
Summary of Insights Winter 2016 - Josh Korda


I’m an empowered Buddhist dharma teacher, which means I spend a lot of time addressing groups of students, in the course of annual retreats and two or three weekly classes around Manhattan and Brooklyn; however, the focal point of my life’s work involves providing one-on-one spiritual and psychological mentoring to individuals. What’s of central importance to my interpersonal work is emotion integration, by which I mean the practice of bringing one’s underlying, spontaneous, instinctive feeling states into ongoing conscious attention and decision making. Now, you may well wonder, why would anyone need help perceiving or assimilating emotions? Aren’t they readily apparent? However, I’ve found, over the course of working in depth with hundreds of individuals, that many of us live at estranged distances from our authentic feelings, depending on strategies of denial, numbing, and other repressive tools to main…

Imagination And Creativity as Spiritual Practice

It’s worth noting how few of childhoods’ freewheeling exercises—the entertainments that were once synonymous with youthful delight—journey through to adult life. To a great degree, we’ve moved, en masse, toward consuming entertainment via television, video games and social media rather than creating our entertainment: drawing, making pottery, dancing, singing, and other inventive endeavors. Those same kindergartners who sing, draw, dance, and engage in all kinds of play, will, in only a few years’ time, be streaming their content via iPad screens, which requires less imagination and effort. 
Consider the mind’s two dominant cognitive networks: the first is the default mode network (DMN), a mental state wherein we can visualize possibilities or solve problems, but where we often wind up speculating about unknowable future outcomes or ruminating about interpersonal conflicts. DMN is largely activated by subregions associated with inductive reasoning centers of the brain (the dorsal and m…