Going toward fear


Chintan experiences the range of emotions from fear, to anger, to love.

Chintan voila'

I was born into a fearful family at a time when Adolf Hitler was ahead on points in the war being fought amongst the “civilized” nations.

That was a time of great fear, I am told. Being newly post-embryonic, I was blissfully unaware. I stayed rooted in that family for 18 years, slowly becoming mindful that my father, who I initially experienced as a tyrannical, scary daddy, was in fact nothing but fear. My first act of rebellion was to renounce him and his fear. Embracing what I considered to be the opposite, I became known as one angry dude. I joined the US Army during the build-up to the Vietnam War, learned to fight, shoot, drink, curse, and walk with a swagger.

It felt to me at the time that I had conquered fear.

Enter Osho in my 33rd year to experientially awaken me to the fact that anger was nothing but fear acting out in order to cover up the less-than-acceptable-to-a-real-man emotion of fear. I dove wholeheartedly into the Osho world of deep meditation, which was intensified by outrageous Encounter groups, and so the layers were peeled away, revealing the reality that I was nothing more than my father’s son and just as fearful as he had ever been.

As I write, it’s late 2021, and all is fear (and its brother anger), and we are masked and vaxed, and awaiting the apocalypse. Some are refurbishing their fallout shelters. Some are camped in the woods, oiling their AK47s. Some are huddled in churches praying for the rapture. Osho’s people are spread all over the planet, connected at the heart chakra, as we keep the sangha alive.

In my early days of discipleship, one of Osho’s group leaders advised me to go toward my fear. Osho spoke of a time in his pre-enlightenment when he would lie still in an abandoned temple and allow snakes to crawl over his body. Following his lead, I allowed spiders to crawl over mine. They were daddy longlegs, but still, they were spiders.

Another group leader used the term FAPL (Fear Anger Pain Love) whenever the participants would use terms like “irritated” or “annoyed” or “tremulous,” or any other pseudo-term, to identify an emotion. The theory was that at any given moment, one of those four was in the dominant position in the tower of human emotions.

I am presently immersed in the Atisha meditations as taught by Osho. All four emotions are encountered therein. As the body breathes in and out, I watch and ask, “Am I fear, am I anger, am I pain, am I love?” What is the reality of this “I” in this moment?

Osho had access to all the emotions, but appeared to be free of any identification. There were no buttons to push. Fear, anger, and pain were there, but He was in charge. He was the Master.

My most memorable experience of fear was in the presence of the Master. It was October 25, 1985 at Rajneeshpuram, Oregon, USA. Our city was surrounded by terrorists from various factions of the Amerikan Empire. We were prepared for any and all possible attempts to destroy the city. We were advised to carry a comb, toothbrush, and pocket change when we left our housing, for if we were arrested, those items would not be supplied in jail. It was a time of heightened awareness, as our minds conjured up a thousand different fearful scenarios that could occur in the next moment.

Around 10 am that day, we were seated silently in the meditation hall, eyes and ears focused on Osho, as he spoke about Vincent van Gogh. Never in our four-year history had a jet flown over the city. When it happened on that day, I felt the contents of my stomach begin to rise. The jet roared over at low altitude, producing a terrifying sound. I, and the thousand others, remained frozen in place. I looked at Osho, who had paused mid-sentence, waiting for the sound to lessen, and then calmly, with laughing eyes, and a giggle in his voice said, “Don’t be afraid.”

The roar of nervous laughter that erupted rivaled the sound of the jet. He went on with His talk, and the jet returned for two more passes over the meditation hall. With each pass, my thought was, “It is a good day to die, and what a place to die… connected in heart, mind, and soul to the Master.”

A few days later, Osho was arrested, and our city began its decline. I experienced that decline with no fear, only pain and laughter and dance and celebration, and Dynamics and Kundalinis, and a whole lotta love.

No fear.

For a short time later, as I re-entered “normal” Amerikan life, there seemed to be an absence of fear. Eventually it was reunited with the other emotions, but it was okay; no big deal. I had lived, at least for a short time, in the absence of fear, and therefore knew how glorious it is to have love as the primary emotion.

Now, this is only my understanding. I’m no psychiatrist or scientist, but I feel and think that one of the main side-effects of meditation is the expansion of love, and in that growth, the other three FAPL emotions are gently moved to a lesser place in the hierarchy. That’s how it feels at this moment!

I’m not at that Osho pinnacle, where I contemplate diving into whirlpools or having snakes crawl over this body, but I do have an upcoming task that involves selecting rocks from a huge pile at the end of the forest. It is a favorite spot for the local snakes to congregate. Will I experience fear as I approach this task? Yes, I imagine it will be at the top of the four emotions. Will that fear cause me to tremble and run away? I think not. I will wear protective gear, and approach the task with as much care and awareness as possible, and if the snakes move suddenly, I’m sure my body will jump. I will take deep breaths, and assess the situation. I might even decide to close my eyes, and invite the fear… but only if the snakes are of the garden variety.

Previously published in the magazine, Viha Connection. www.oshoviha.org


Chintan (David Hill) is a writer, and author of Mastering Madness.

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