We all have our fears: loss of health, wealth or loved ones. To deal with such fears, we arrange for insurances, security systems or self-defense skills.
These practical measures, even though essential, don’t address the root cause of fear.
That root cause is the absence of God, our notion that he doesn’t exist or doesn’t care or doesn’t have control. We are on our own; if we can’t control things, we will perish. But so much that matters to us is beyond our control. Our simultaneous need to control and inability to control cause an existential angst that lies at the root of our fears.
Addressing this angst, Gita wisdom assures us that above whatever goes wrong is the one reality that always stays right – God is in control and is our well-wisher. The Bhagavad-gita (16.01) states that fearlessness is the first characteristic of the godly. They stay aware of God’s presence and benevolence, and that awareness reassures them amidst their fears.
How do we become aware of God’s presence? By practicing bhakti-yoga, which tunes our awareness to his universal presence. As he is the supreme spiritual reality, when we become aware of his presence, our consciousness becomes spiritualized. We understand the primacy of that eternal reality beyond the mundane reality that is the source of our fears. Further, we understand that we belong to that level of reality, for we are indestructible spiritual beings who are eternal parts of God.
By contemplating our immortal identity and our inalienable relationship with God, we access a sublime security that decreases the threat potential of our various worldly fears. The resulting calmness helps us see things clearly and address our specific fears appropriately.
When we thus learn to live in God’s presence, fear may still come, but it won’t overcome us.