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o be a warrior means to live a life without pretense.

In simple terms, this requires an intimacy with reality that leaves no room for self-deception. Once, while giving a talk to a group of about thirty people, I asked the audience to list words and phrases that express fear. At first, people offered obvious synonyms such as ‘nervous’, ‘terrified’, ‘scared’, ‘afraid’, and so on. After that came hesitation, ambivalence, dread, paranoia, worry and panic.

As we explored further, a fascinating mural began to emerge. Voices piped in with subtler tones like coyness, apprehension, wishy-washiness, insecurity, anxiety, aloofness, concern, alarm, trepidation, fright, mistrust, shyness, angst, hyper vigilance, caution, foreboding, uneasiness, timidity, reluctance, and guardedness. Before long we had covered an entire blackboard and it still felt like we were just getting started...

A warrior’s dedication to wakefulness is not like going to an exercise class only to snack on potato chips on the way home. If we are really interested in authenticity we have to regard our path as serious business. Just as a good samurai sword is not a toy, dancing with fear is neither a hobby nor self-improvement project. When something has the power to expose the truth, it demands respect. Dancing with fear puts us on the spot, not on the defensive...

The Dance of Fear | Shambhala Times Community News Magazine

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