How to Overcome Fear of the Dark


I’m 19 years old. Since childhood I’ve been scared of ghosts, terrorists and darkness. It has reached a point where I can’t be in a room alone or meditate alone. How do I overcome this fear?

—NS, India


Dear Friend,

I am sorry to hear of your fears in this regard. Do not think you are alone in this. For the time being, avoid being in a room alone. If you must be alone (e.g. at night when sleeping), then be sure to turn on lights, open curtains (if daytime), and keep the door to other rooms open. Do not shut the door to the room you are in alone. What I am saying is this: for now, and as a start, confront your fears by doing what you need to do to feel safe. Do you, for example, sleep in a room alone? Is it possible to sleep in another room; the living room; or otherwise not alone? This is not a long-term solution or a permanent one but an interim suggestion.

Is your fear related to a particular room or house, or is this in general? Assuming this is in general (wherever you might go), then I offer to you the following suggestions to be followed for as long as needed (whether days, weeks, months, or even a year or more):

  1. Whenever you enter a room where you will be alone, chant aloud AUM TAT SAT! This is the Sanskrit equivalent of the Trinity: Spirit beyond creation; Spirit within creation; and Spirit as creation. If all is Brahma then you have nothing to fear.
  2. Next, and as often as you feel the need when in a room alone for a length of time (and are not lying down for sleep), stand straight and tall facing east (if possible) and chant continually once again AUM TAT SAT but this time do so with your arms straight out in front of you, palms together, and as you are chanting (3 to 9 times) move your arms apart so that they meet behind you with again palms touching and then back again to the front. Keep this motion going as you chant; end in Anjali mudra (prayer pose). This will clean and strengthen your aura from fear and harm.
  3. If you feel especially fearful chant aloud and repeatedly: AUM HREENG KLEENG KRISHNAYA NAMAHA.
  4. Before lying down to sleep, write the AUM symbol or letters on your pillow.
  5. Do you practice japa? Do you have a mantra or prayer that inspires and comforts you? I urge you to begin the daily practice of silent, inward chanting of God’s name or a bij mantra as you feel. “Aum guru!” “Aum Kali” “Come to me, mother!” “I am thine, be thou mine!” “Om namo Shivaya” etc etc
  6. Do you have a meditation practice? I would recommend meditating with others or in the presence of others, for now. Even with eyes open, chanting aloud; doing puja or arati; Do you have a meditate technique? (I recommend the Hong Sau technique taught at Ananda and given to us by Paramhansa Yogananda. There’s even a meditation app, Ananda Meditation app).

As Lahiri Mahasaya would say, “Banat, banat, ban jai!” (Doing, doing…..soon done!) Have the faith that this fear will dissipate. You are forever Divine Mother’s child and have nothing to fear.

Blessings to you!
Nayaswami Hriman