How to Deal with Fear

Question

I feel fearful about many things...about losing family members, job. Yogananda said fear comes from attachment.. can you give me a concrete solution to fix this... I pray, medidate... offer all. my activities to the ONE but circumstances happens such that i end up losing faith in him over and over. I can only trust what happens to me and cannot unconditionally keep trusting him.

—Tanya, India

Answer

Dear Tanya,

Thank you for your honesty. This is something that many people feel, but few express. I will offer several thoughts.

First, it seems that your faith in God depends on whether He/She always gives you what you want. That is not true faith. In addition, it assumes that you know what is best for you and for others. Isn’t it possible that God has much better plans than you now imagine, bigger and better and happier plans than satisfying your desires? Yes, it can be hard to think that way when life brings pain — as it always will, just as it will also bring happiness — but might it nevertheless be true? The saints all say that it’s true, so it is worth considering.

Paramhansa Yogananda often quoted the poem, “The Hound of Heaven,” by Francis Thompson. It portrays man (all of us) as running in fear from a terrible hound, when in fact that hound is God, wanting only to give us what is best for us, what will bring us the greatest happiness. It’s just that we don’t realize that it’s the best for us; often it seems instead to be disaster. You can find the poem on the web, but here I will quote briefly from it, when God speaks to the man who is running from Him:

All which I took from thee I did but take,
Not for thy harms.
But just that thou might’st seek it in my arms.
All which thy child’s mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home;
Rise, clasp My hand, and come!”

Paramhansa Yogananda gave us many practices that can help us overcome fear. They might take some time to work fully, because fear can be anchored very deep in the heart, but with persistence on your part, they will work. I share several of these in this brief video. Do not be deceived by their simplicity, for they are effective.

Also, I recommend this book of Yogananda’s teachings: How to Have Courage, Calmness, and Confidence. It will help you very much.

Keep trying, Tanya. You will build your faith — and your happiness — on a much firmer foundation.

Blessings,
Nayaswami Gyandev