Beyond, Under, and Into

Trungpa speaks directly of this kind of True Fearlessness, which is not “the reduction” of fear, but it means actually “going beyond fear” (1998, p. 48). With true fearlessness we charge like warriors into observing our anxiety and our concern with tenderness.   We are truly examining our deep-seated fear, our powerful emotional experiences, and our true selves. I also see a connection to Beck’s explanation of knowing what suffering means- to be totally under from the latin sub– under and ferre to bear- and how to deal with it in all parts of life- “not opposing it but absorbing it and being it” (p. 106-108).  In the face of true suffering where life has no guarantees, we bear it and simply be with it. These two approaches come at the constant cycling and changing of reality in very powerful and direct ways. They go to the heart of what is- the fear and the suffering.  And here one can begin to practice in meditation giving him or her the space to be able to go beyond fear and bear under whatever suffering is going on, to be what is now.

This week I hit a tremendous breakthrough. The past ten years I have been suffering from migraines. While they have been my worst enemies, they have been my best teachers. Yesterday after a long day of playing at a Frisbee tournament in the Colorado sunshine I was hit with all of the first signs and symptoms of one of the past hellish headaches. Finally returning home I laid down in bed with icepacks on my head and upperback. Here in relaxation I brought my focus to my breath, to what was true for here and now. Each inhale I infused with positivity, and each exhale I released the constriction and pressure. When I let my mind wander, continuing in negative cycles, my forehead would begin to pulse and throb harder, but when I focused on my breath, space opened. Every action stayed with the moment- I lay present, listening, and in tune. Intuitively I opened my You Can Heal Your Life book and read that headaches came from the negative thought pattern of self criticism. I recognized I had been pressuring myself to be perfect for the fear of not being good enough. Many people have similar stories with whatever problem is going on in his or her life. In Beck’s words, “we are chasing ideals of perfection rather than acknowledging our imperfection” (113). Instead of accepting and loving myself and where I was, I was stuck in habitual thought patterns of how I should act and should be. However this instance of meditation practice of let me return to the natural state of goodness, where I could rememeber that I possess the positive basic qualities of openness, intelligence, and warmth (Trungpa, 2005, p. 8).

I believe this is a huge part of life- learning. Learning that our bodies have an immense intelligence, that our mind is powerful, and that our problems are our opportunities on one’s own personal journey. Trungpa states that “egolessness” means that you can let go of your habitual patterns and then when you let go, you genuinely let go… having the trust to not rebuild again at a all and experiencing the psychological healthiness and freshness that goes with not rebuilding” (2005, 10). In this sense, I moved through the old habitual pattern of migraine by way of meditative awareness and practicing the cultivation of wholeness. I went straight into my fear of not being perfect, of not being accepted. I looked directly into the face of severe pain, felt the intensity and negativity, and let the listening of the present moment bring me to a state of pure vulnerability and love. In the Buddhist sense of impermanence and transitoriness of life, it gives us all hope and realization that anything is possible, the freshiness and aliveness of life is ours, and that our ground state of health exists within. Therefore we at the origin we are good, not sin (Trungpa, 2005, p.12). We are not mistakes, and we are not being punished. Life is simply coming and going.

I am an everchanging energy field. You are an everchanging energy field. The world is beautiful flux of constant change.

Beyond fear, under suffering, into life.





Beck, Charlotte Joko. (1989). Everyday Zen. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.

Chondron, Pema. (2001). The Places that Scare You. Boston, MA: Shambala


Mipham, Sakyong. (2003). Turning the Mind into an Ally. New York, NY: Penguin


Trungpa, Chogyam. (1988). Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior. Boston, MA:

Shambhala Publications.

Trungpa, Chogyam. (2005). The Sanity we are Born With: A Buddhist Approach to

Psychology. Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications.


  1. “Complete openness, complete vulnerability to life, is the only satisfactory way of living our life.” Beck, p. 108
  2. “We become habituated to reaching for something to ease the edginess of the moment. What begins as a slight shift of energy…. Escalates into addiction… we remained stuck in the repetititious habit of escalating our dissatisfaction.” Chondron, p. 22
  3. “Broader context of health: one begins to let go of clinging to one’s neuroses and to step beyond obsession and identification with them…. Whole process of working with others be genuine and generous and free-form…. We need to point them toward the experience of the fundamental ground of health which exists in them.” Chongyam, 2005, p. 10-11

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