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Smiling At Fear With Pema

August 4, 2010

Carolyn Gimian and Pema Chodron

Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery by Chögyam Trungpa begins with this quote:

“When you are frightened by something, you have to relate with fear,
explore why you are frightened, and develop
some sense of conviction. You can actually look at fear. Then
fear ceases to be the dominant situation that is going to defeat
you. Fear can be conquered. You can be free from fear, if you realize
that fear is not the ogre. You can step on fear, and therefore
you can attain what is known as fearlessness. But that requires
that, when you see fear, you smile.”

Last year,  Smile at Fear was published by Shambhala, and it has resonated with a great number of readers. The idea that we could disarm our fear by smiling at it is a rather outrageous proposal, yet one that seems intriguing. Fear seems to be a topic for our time. Each of us is afraid of something: Afraid of losing our job, afraid our relationships won't last, afraid of dying, afraid of living—afraid of ourselves altogether. What can we do about it? That's the thing!

Chögyam Trungpa spoke and wrote a great deal about fear and fearlessness as well as about working with hope and fear. Pema Chödrön, the popular teacher, author, and Buddhist nun who studied closely with Trungpa Rinpoche, has also given great consideration to these topics.  When the book was in the final stages of editing, she concurred with me (I was the book's editor) that Smile at Fear would be a great title for this collection of teachings. She also volunteered to incorporate the material in the book into several forthcoming public programs, mixing it with her own understanding of this topic. She invited me to join her as the meditation teacher for these programs, and this collaboration has been great for the book and for both of us, I think.

Pema's second and final program is scheduled to take place October 15-17 in the Bay Area. The weekend will be held at the Craneway Pavilion overlooking San Francisco Bay in the Marina District of Richmond. With its beautiful waterfront views, the pavilion will provide a great environment for this urban retreat.

You can read more about the program and register for it at SmileatFear.com.

The weekend is almost sold out, but Shambhala Publications and the Northern California Shambhala Center want you to have a chance to be there. They’re giving away one ticket for all 3 days to one lucky reader of this blog. You have to get yourself there—they aren't covering travel expenses—but this is still a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the teachings from this book.

How do you enter? Simply share your answer to this question with us: What do you think it means to smile at fear? Leave a comment below telling us and be entered to win a free ticket to this rare weekend retreat with Pema Chödrön’s. Travel expenses, again, are not included.

The winner will be selected by random draw on Monday August, 9.

Congratulations to entrant #501!

I hope to see many of you there. Pema has so much to offer us, and this  dynamic combination of her radiant and incisive teachings with those of the grand master of fear and fearlessness, Chögyam Trungpa, promises to be a powerful experience for all. When you bring a community of people together who share the willingness to open deeply to themselves and one another, the atmosphere and the effect are unpredictable but undoubtedly worthwhile. I look forward to smiling with you.

Note:  If your comment does not appear right away, please do not re-post. Your entry will appear shortly.


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834 Responses to Smiling At Fear With Pema

  • Gale McCray says:

    To see the fear as a thought and use it for finding the truth.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 11:55 am

  • Arnold Zeman says:

    To smile at fear means to be able to see through the fear for what it is, something within that needs recognition and acceptance as part of the range of emotions; it grows to demand submission only when it is denied and avoided.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 12:04 pm

  • Don Benson says:

    When I recognize that fear has come into my awareness again, I notice the familiar feeling. With familiarity is the memory of how I have worked with fear in the past, and my capability to engage with the dynamics of life. I then smile, at recognizing all that is, and how I can let go of some more of my expectations, and enjoy what is.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 12:05 pm

  • Jessica Graham says:

    Looking into the eyes of someone who is suffering and accepting them fully. Not trying to change where they are to feel more comfortable with myself. Doing this for myself as well. Experiencing the fear, the insecurity, the discomfort-with open curiosity. With total acceptance.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 12:05 pm

  • Maria says:

    To smile at fear means to know and recognize it's emptiness.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 12:06 pm

  • Imre Berty says:

    What does it mean to smile at fear? To me, it means to have worked with my mind sufficiently to recognize fear as an old friend (or at least a tolerable acquaintance). Its about accepting fear and whatever arises in my mind as just more thoughts. My fear or my sadness or my whatever is OK, maybe even wonderful. I can most definitely work with it, sometimes I can even dance with it.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 12:07 pm

  • Debbie says:

    I am responding to the : What do you think it means to smile at fear? Leave a comment below telling us and be entered to win a free ticket to this rare weekend retreat with Pema Chödrön’s.

    To be cliché, I think it is, to feel the fear and do it anyway, but with awareness. It is not bracing, forcing, or avoiding, it is moving forward with grace, trust, and opening to the lessons hidden within the fear. I am currently working on getting up in a hand stand in yoga mostly because being upside down terrifies me! The minute my legs get up in the air, my heart starts the race, my body goes rigid, and the strength I know is there, crumbles. A yoga teacher assisting me said, I can’t compete with that amount of rigidity (fear). On my cushion, I reflect on the fear – what is underneath and being gently with myself I keep trying. I don't force my attempts with harsh words such as, you a must. I keep trying, and bracing, but with each attempt the panic begins to shift. I am not there yet, but can say the fear is dissipating. I am smiling at fear!

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 12:07 pm

  • Michelle Traver says:

    Smiling at fear is recognizing it as a friend.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 12:07 pm

  • Carlos A Rodriguez says:

    To smile at fear is to realize the truth of emptiness.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 12:09 pm

  • cesar says:

    dealing with our fears we normally tend to think and be instructed that there is a need to conquer our fear. but this is really a much gentler approach. for me, it means cultivating an open heart.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 12:10 pm

  • Randy Pratt says:

    Smiling at Fear means acknowledging fear's presence but allowing it spaciousness to dissipate. With that acknowledgement and space, fear becomes a positive part of your experience as a human being which, in turn, prompts a smile.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 12:12 pm

  • Jody Berger says:

    Smiling, for me, is an expression of joy and gratitude.

    And fear comes up in relation to something or someone that I care deeply about. Smiling at fear, then, is a way to acknowledge the gratitude that I feel. It's like saying to the fear, 'Thanks for reminding me that this matters deeply and that I have great capacity to care. I hear what you're here to tell me, now move along, I gotta get on with my life."

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 12:12 pm

  • Jan says:

    If I am smiling at fear, I am in full recognition of it—its call, how it feels in my body, and what it may be pulling me towards. I can recognize it, name it, and let it go. Or, allow it to take me deeper into my own process of detangling what this fear is all about. Smiling, to me, says that I can see it for what it is, and that I am no longer fooled by whatever guise it is wearing in that moment.

    Blessings upon us all!

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 12:13 pm

  • Nora Shaw says:

    To smile at fear means, to me, to recognize it, love it for its opportunity for growth, and release it with gratitude.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 12:14 pm

  • Paula T. Dimeck says:

    Aah! quakey feeling in my belly, liquid legs.
    There you are again, old familiar feeling,
    sending me signals of fear and threat.
    What is it this time, old friend ?
    What do I need to pay attention to ?
    What needs compassion and care ?

    My wobbley smile reminds me to hold steady.
    This is the feeling of being human.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 12:14 pm

  • Eugene says:

    For me smiling at fear suggests that I have the power to turn my normal thought process upside down and inside out. So many fears are deeply ingrained and finding a way to rid myself of them would truly be a form of en-lighten-ment, a way of lightening my mental "load".
    Who would consider smiling at fear? Only the person who understands - even on a superficial level - that fear is merely a mentally constructed "paper tiger".

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 12:17 pm

  • Kit Wilson says:

    Smiling at a fear marks the victory that follows getting acquainted with it 'nose to nose', then realizing that it is fabricated, projected. It disregards reality. With the realization, "This fear is an illusion conjured by my worries' trying to protect me," I can dissolve it. Then comes the smile and with it the ability to create a positive vision rather than a nightmare.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 12:19 pm

  • Michele Ruppert says:

    To smile at fear softens the fear that you think you are going to face. Smiling helps you going beyond your self-created boundary. Reminds you that everything will be okay and that what you experience is all apart of the journey you are on in life.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 12:19 pm

  • Julianne Warner says:

    Being able to smile at fear involves the wisdom that is emptiness, that is non duality. With wisdom and compassion together one can smile with bodhicitta.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 12:19 pm

  • Wanda Evans says:

    To smile at fear is to acknowledge your basic humanity and send love out regardless of the emotional state. It's staying and wrapping your arm around the thing that usually makes you run away.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 12:23 pm

  • Irene Woodard says:

    Turn my frown upside down
    I just have to remember to do it...

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 12:25 pm

  • Donna says:

    To welcome the fear with a sense of hospitality, acceptance, compassion. In doing so, the fear reveals it truth.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 12:27 pm

  • Barry Marks says:

    To smile at fear is to validate its no-thingness, as a child would challenge a feared apparition under his/her bed; to have the courage of surrender to accept the moment as part of the free-fall of life: Nothing more, nothing less.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 12:32 pm

  • George Danellis says:

    Lean into the unpleasant sensations associated with the fear, and look. What's there?

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 12:39 pm

  • George Danellis says:

    Leaning in to the unpleasant sensations associated with the fear. Looking to see what's behind them. Hmmmm, perhaps nothing but the inventions of my mind.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 12:44 pm

  • Thom Heil says:

    To smile at fear means to use a soft hand when dealing with problems, instead of using a fighting hand. Do not directly oppose the things that are troubling you, but invite them into your life and get to know them better. Fighting sustains the fear and anger, while smiling helps them melt away.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 12:45 pm

  • Elinore Shelby says:

    Smile at fear.... = accept it as a houseguest, enjoy it's company. Don't leave just because it arrived. Sit down for a cup of tea together.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 12:47 pm

  • Sharon H says:

    To smile at fear is to know nothing.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 12:58 pm

  • Jo says:

    Whatever the situation, don't take it personally. Honor, respect and appreciate the energy of fear that animates our being.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 1:01 pm

  • Barb Parker, says:

    Fear----another door to open, to embrace and learn from, as we travel our humble road to enlightenment. Welcome it as you would welcome a friend---because indeed that is what it is-- the secret is what shall we choose to do with it/

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 1:06 pm

  • Laura Secor says:

    Someone said that fear is excitement without breathing. Smile, take a breath, and the fear transmutes.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 1:18 pm

  • judy howard says:

    to smile at fear is to take back your power and not let fear dominate your thoughts and actions

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 1:29 pm

  • Claude Zachary says:

    Smiling at fear means to gently make a relationship with fear and create an opportunity to work with it.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 1:30 pm

  • Paula Marie says:

    to accept fear when it comes as my fear. it is part of me and wants my attention. it it trying to tell me something and is using that form because i'm so good @ ignoring & distracting myself. it is not separate, not other, not bad. it is me.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 1:48 pm

  • Helga O says:

    My smiling at fear arises from being aware of my reptilian brain wanting to run the show. I am smiling at being present in the moment and fully alive!

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 1:54 pm

  • Ricardo Ramirez says:

    Smile at Fear perfectly reflects fearlessness. For me, Smiling at Fear relates with the process of becoming friends with ourselves, which includes relating with the fear that we may experience, and doing so in a friendly and healthy way. Smiling at Fear is in many ways contrary to the popular Western saying, "The only thing to fear is fear itself." That is, fearing fear implies perceiving and relating with fear as if it were an enemy, someone with whom we happen to stumble upon within "our" territory, and an unfamiliar intruder who needs to be expelled. Smiling at Fear, rather, is a warm greeting, an expression of a relationship with someone with whom we have become thoroughly familiar with, ourselves and our fear, and so we walk toward it and fully embrace it. Once that happens, we can begin experiencing fearlessness.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 2:03 pm

  • Martin says:

    To understand it's inherent nature ( of which I
    haven't a clue ).

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 2:06 pm

  • jean says:

    My smile is the same one I give to an old friend, fear is so recognizable, and a good teacher.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 2:10 pm

  • Janis says:

    ... welcoming whoever/whatever shows up at the door regardless (loosely from one of Rumi's poem)

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 2:15 pm

  • Dori says:

    To smile at fear is to face whatever arises with a sense of "what's next?" I think there might actually be some delight involved. "Both pain and pleasure alike have become ornaments which it is pleasant to wear"

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 2:18 pm

  • Ziji Goren says:

    Hmmmm. What does it mean to smile at fear? Some years ago,
    I had the opportunity to live in the rainforest of West Papua, New Guinea with tribal hunter-gatherers steeped in a history of head-hunting. I decided I would carry a trade item with me, in case any menacing situations came about. So, I carried an x-ray of my skull.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 2:32 pm

  • Victoria says:

    I understand the phrase "to smile at fear" to mean one can recognize the feeling of fear and welcome the experience -- not be aversive to it. Experiencing fear without judgment or opposition allows one to be present enough to see how to act with wisdom.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 2:37 pm

  • Valerie Morvan says:

    Cut the thought, feel the shiver, the ice,the heat, stare at the demon fear until it makes you smile.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 2:43 pm

  • Julia Seymour says:

    Paraphrased, perhaps...whatever comes first, smile at it.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 3:31 pm

  • Carl says:

    To smile at fear is to remain open to your life and to people around you.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 3:44 pm

  • olive00 says:

    To smile at fear means to be gentle and curious about it-having compassion for oneself in a time of crisis takes the sting out of it.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 3:47 pm

  • A Gift of Dharma for 8.4.10 « Rev. Danny Fisher says:

    [...] Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche (1939-1987), whom I first quoted and wrote a little bio for here. This is it: When you are frightened by something, you have to relate with fear, explore why you are [...]

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 3:50 pm

  • Mary SpiersWilliams says:

    When we smile, we are making a choice. We are chosing something beautiful rather than follow our habits, ways.

    We have been given the gift of smile as a physical representation of the real smile in our heart - the smile is trigger for our spiritual heart to become stronger, for our heart consciousness to become more dominant. When we do that we choose unconditional love, peace, joy and wisdom; we let bodhicitta flow. That flow is our connection with the Love in the existence and dissolves our separation, and along with it the symptoms of that separation: fears, burdens, negative thoughts, physical illness, etc (we're very clever we have lots of ideas how to separate ourselves!). And when our heart is dominant, radiating love and light, then our smile radiates that too, then we can share the love without effort or limitation, and help others hearts to become stronger too. Love light to all beings.

    Very grateful to our Source for the wonderful gift of Pema Chodron. Very grateful for you too Carolyn for your beautiful practice of sharing.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 3:51 pm

  • Paul Sakol says:

    Feel the fear, don't run from it. Work with and thru the fear. Feel the fear, and unless you can't work thru it at all.Try doing what you are afraid of.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 4:06 pm

  • Althea Hukari says:

    Billie Holiday may have said it best:

    Good Morning, Heart-ache, sit down.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 4:08 pm

  • Louise Wright says:

    Smiling at fear is acknowledging that you are scared, but can sit with the shaky,terrifying,annoying,or breathless feeling of fear. Can I sit with this fearful energy?

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 4:10 pm

  • one’s own path to dissolve separation « mez in the desert says:

    [...] buddhist texts) have recently published a collection of teaching from Chögyam Trungpa called … Smiling at Fear [...]

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 4:14 pm

  • Phylliss says:

    Smiling at fear suggests softening and opening to fear, rather than hardening and resisting. When we are willing to approach our fear, with compassion, our fearfulness and vulnerability can, rather than being an obstacle, become a part of our path to bravery.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 4:56 pm

  • Margaret Neaves says:

    What does it mean to smile at fear?
    First recognize it and hold it gently with respect. Enjoy the fact that nothing is permanent. As painful as it is, the feeling of fear will eventually become less and less toxic to the mind-set. You can smile knowing that fear does not have to be a fixed condition.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 5:11 pm

  • leo teehankee says:

    to smile at fear is to have no fear; and it's the same as to have no hope. it's to be imperturbable, immovable, unshakeable when faced with buddhas or demons, because one is full of love and empty of self at the same time

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 5:30 pm

  • Mairin Wilson says:

    To smile at fear is that moment when I recognize that I am putting on my armor to protect my tender heart from pain I think I can't handle. Instead, I can relax and smile.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 5:51 pm

  • Donna says:

    Fear comes at me with punches and to destroy me. But, I remember to 1) laugh at it 2) take some breaths and then 3 ( the hardest part - just walk away. How hard is this I ask myself??? Really, really hard,because in the midst of all the eruption and upheaval - it is always difficult to do the above three steps. I am human, but I stumble along and keep working on it and trying to find joy and doing it differently, so that I don't fall down the same hole of nothingness.
    Respectfully submitted,
    Donna

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 6:04 pm

  • Qayyum Johnson says:

    Smiling at fear
    the river collapses
    a wagon of debt overturns
    another hailstorm takes the crop.
    Changing ones face
    from rigor mortis
    to calendula blossom.
    The earth quivers & shakes
    undone again
    this too is part of it.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 6:24 pm

  • Eriall says:

    Smiling at fear is the paralyzing of paralysis. It's the settling of the ice in your blood ablaze, which magically warms and dries the cold sweat on your skin. It means reacknowledging basic goodness. And letting love lead, though you don't know where to. Smiling at fear is inviting the best people into your life. Smiling at fear means loving fear into love. It means you're getting stronger. Smiling at fear means you're human.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 7:54 pm

  • Devi says:

    What is it to smile at fear?

    To smile at fear is to meet it, greet it, make friends with it. Embracing it and getting to know it intimately and joining with the way things actually are in a particular inner or outer situation of life showing up in all its fierceness. Beyond all of the what if’s and awfulizing, letting go into the totally not knowing, joining with that not knowing, saying, yes, I don’t know and coming into union with that. And joining with that not knowing is the grace, the truth that sets you free. Opening intimately to fear in this way is like dying before you die. And you discover a great freedom in that, in the very midst of life’s fierceness, that is very profound.

    So rather than pushing fear away, opening to it and joining with it in this way, fear is my doorway to freedom, to liberation. So I smile at fear and welcome her, my unexpected guest and friend, my long-awaited liberatrice.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 9:12 pm

  • Michael says:

    To smile at fear is to
    not taking it for granted

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 10:53 pm

  • Diana Blok says:

    To smile at fear is to take it by the hand as you would your beloved.

    Posted on August 4, 2010 at 11:08 pm

  • Dar McNally says:

    To smile at fear is to smile at myself.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:16 am

  • Mary West says:

    Fear is a great teacher, and so one smiles at it in welcome. Fear is a projection on that great big movie screen in our mind: "I am the great and powerful Oz!" We smile at the little man behind the curtain.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:18 am

  • Nanda says:

    Be with it.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:18 am

  • kathy Donahue says:

    to smile at fear is to choose wide open space

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:23 am

  • Sylvain MARTEL says:

    Sourire à la peur...!
    C'est lui permettre de se dissoudre.
    C'est l'embrasser pour la surmonter.
    C'est placer une marque d'affection entre la source de cette peur et ce qui a peur...!

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:23 am

  • Susan Brown says:

    Smiling at fear, to mean, means to first recognize that it is fear and to not turn away. To step forward into it, and in the stepping, smile in deepest gratitude for the vision to see the fear, for the courage to enter the fear, for the discerning wisdom to take action, and for the gift of the unknown which is beyond, through, beneath the fear. Many Blessings.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:25 am

  • Anne Pope says:

    Smiling at fear means to look at your own shortcomings
    (in this case fear) with the same compassion and curiosity as we require to survive with joy in all situations. We must face our fear, look it in the eye and say: hello fear, you are my friend and I am learning again today from your existence. What will the subject be today?
    Thank you fear, a good idea for discussion today.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:25 am

  • ed maestro says:

    to be the experience 'fear'

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:26 am

  • Craig Corp says:

    When fear begins to arise I catch it, I study it with curiosity. Why am I afraid? What deep truth about myself can this fear teach me? How can I make this fear my friend and teacher. Once I see this fear as a potential guide on the path, I can smile at it and be at peace...

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:26 am

  • Sylvain MARTEL says:

    Smiling at fear ?
    Is like filling a space between it's source and what is affected by it. It might be tHe best weapon ever...!

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:27 am

  • Maureen Quigley says:

    Saying no to ego & yes to love!

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:27 am

  • Katie says:

    Smiling at fear is showing your original face.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:28 am

  • Ted Williamson says:

    Fear is just a thought, no different than my excuse for why I'm late. See it clearly and say, "I know you."

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:29 am

  • Jon Butler says:

    :)

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:30 am

  • paula gardner says:

    Rumi expressed it better than I when he wrote This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they're a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

    This is fear...an unexpected, even unwelcome guest, but one who will (i want to believe) open my heart to some deeper understanding. So, I welcome and smiling and laughing invite fear in.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:30 am

  • Sonya says:

    Smile and nod, smile and nod...
    Smiling at fear is giving it a wee "nod", allowing it to come and go. Without getting captured by fear, smiling allows me to observe and learn from it.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:31 am

  • Jonathan Weber says:

    Smiling at fear my feet keep walking through it all, my heart stays open and my mind remains spacious and free.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:31 am

  • Diane Burke says:

    Smiling at fear is to befriend it. To be with it not in opposition to it. To acknowledge it, not to hide it in shame.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:32 am

  • Theresa Kiefer-Taylor says:

    A smile is an embrace. To embrace your fear is to accept it and nurture it.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:33 am

  • arthur starr says:

    It is the center of my spiritual practice. It is the hardest thing for me to do but the most meaningful when i am able to do so

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:33 am

  • Kelli says:

    I think that to smile at fear is to recognize it as part of the human condition - and as a connecting point with others, something we all share and have in common. Even the physical act of smiling can help bring a sense of peace and connection. Courage, or having heart, flows from this.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:33 am

  • Emilia Smith says:

    to smile at fear is to have the wisdom to know that it is as transient as everything else in the phenomenal world

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:34 am

  • Irene Spears says:

    Smiling at fear would be a totally conscious effort. In order to smile when you are afraid is not a natural response, therefore you would have to step back from the fear to be able to order the muscles of your face to make a smile. This in itself would soften your response to the fear and bring you into a better position to deal with it.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:34 am

  • todd says:

    I don't know. But I want to find out.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:34 am

  • ChrisBrown says:

    to smile at fear is to recognize it as an old companion who doesn't need to be overwhelming.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:34 am

  • Edward says:

    Smiling at fear means to chuckle with the gods. A smile dispenses simple contentment and joy to the smiler and those around him/her.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:34 am

  • judy armstrong says:

    in my life smiling at fear is recognizing something more
    important, something valuable can be had right after that smile...

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:36 am

  • Karen Kernan says:

    To smile at fear is not so easy. The first step is to go inside and find your smiling peace. Then you can open your eyes - and discover the external source of your fear has disappeared. Easy to say, not so easy to do.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:36 am

  • Jennifer C says:

    To smile means to let your guard down, accept the fear for what it is, and learn from it.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:36 am

  • Teru says:

    If you know horses, or have spent any time around them, you know what it means to "smile at fear." That is precisely what we ask of our domestic steeds all the time when we ask them to work for us and become vulnerable to all of those demands we have of them that frighten them at their core being prey animals. We ask them to do what we must do: to trust, to let go of the unknown and what "might" happen, to become familiar with the unfamiliar, and to turn around...face and walk through the scary rock gardens and caves of life anyway...knowing that who we really are is ultimately safe...that is to smile at fear.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:37 am

  • Camille Hill says:

    Fear is our call to recognize the hidden or shadow parts of ourselves. Fear is a great teacher. When we drop resistance to fear - we are then free to recognize that which needs to have 'light' brought to it.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:40 am

  • Ted Harrison says:

    To smile at fear suggests that you've seen through the illusion.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:40 am

  • Laura Jane Landis says:

    Opening to fear,
    Sitting with what arises,
    Being present now!

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:41 am

  • Ani says:

    To smile at fear is to be brave enough to look at our neurosis and discover that fear is not outside of us, but that it depends on our own misunderstandings, it is about our own clinging to things, our own clinging to people, our own clinging to situations, our own clinging to ways of thinking.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:42 am

  • sandra gallo says:

    it is to embrace it. it is a feeling to be felt nothing more. allow it to pass and rest within its' outcome.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:43 am

  • Amy says:

    Welcome. I have been expecting you.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:43 am

  • Linda V. Lewis says:

    To smile at fear means to make friends with it,to acknowledge it and even to see it as an opportunity or at least as a worthy challenge to go forward through it. The smile is the vanguard of fearlessness. When we smile at fear, we are not denying it, but instead we are bringing it into the realm of meditation and post-meditation. And interestingly enough, when we smile at fear, that friendly mindfulness-awareness of it wakes us up further.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:43 am

  • Heather Malobisky says:

    To smile at fear is to take heart and realize fear is just an emotion, not something controlling your being.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:43 am

  • Christine says:

    Smiling at fear is taking refuge in the buddhadharma.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:44 am

  • Sampat says:

    To smile at fear is to to be curious about the fear, to look it over in wonder and befriend it. Fear to me is a friendly teacher.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:44 am

  • Ed Rice says:

    To smile at fear is to willingly accept a dark side of our existence.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:45 am

  • Elspeth says:

    To smile at fear is to embrace the essence of humanity in yourself and others.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:49 am

  • Barbara Erb says:

    To smile at fear is to allow it to be. It is, for one moment, to drop the story of the fear and to feel the sensation in your body. It is to give it so much space and invite it in. When we do this, we accept it, even embrace it. It no longer becomes the enemy. We transcend and include all, even fear. Our heart--the One Heart is so big it includes everything.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:50 am

  • Julia says:

    Smiling at fear, wow! To be albe to do that would mean. I truly Love and Get who I am.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:52 am

  • Chris Dunham says:

    I think that smiling at fear means that we have stepped out from behind our defenses and are solidly in our truth. When we are in our truth, we are grounded in our inner power----fear can not cause us to shrink, wind can not blow us over. I hope to experience more smiling at fear and relax gently into this way of being.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:52 am

  • Paul says:

    To me personally; ‘to smile at fear’ means acknowledging and welcoming the energy ~ embracing it with an open heart. A true opportunity to develop a deeper understanding and compassion towards the ebb and flow my emotional attachments. Be Well

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:53 am

  • Susan Geyer says:

    To smile at Fear is to know that Fear is always with us at any given point in time. Running from it doesn't work as Fear will always cut you off at the pass anyway. Turn and walk towards Fear and It will retreat against your fearlessness of it. Tell Fear where to go and that while you may feel afraid, it is not going to win out over you.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:53 am

  • amy says:

    to smile at fear means to make contact, acknowledge it with a bow, allow it to either envelope you or brush you gently (whichever occurs), to allow it entrance as you breathe it in, and then offering it a sweet smile and soft welcome. this will bring freedom.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:54 am

  • SUM says:

    To be.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:55 am

  • Pammy says:

    To smile at fear is to allow ourselves to connect with faith, compassion, and love.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:56 am

  • Kathy Hassett says:

    Smiling at fear means we recognize fear as a part of us - a part of our delusional view of who we are. Then we can begin to move past "it," connecting with infinity.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:58 am

  • Terri Strandberg says:

    To smile at fear is to welcome it into your life; accept it as another part of yourself. It's all good.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:58 am

  • anita hoffer says:

    To "Smile at Fear" is to welcome an old friend. Everyone experiences fear along the path of life. If there is no fear, there is no life. Never to experience fear is to lead a protected, heartless and challenge-free life. I think of fear as a "guest" to The Guest House, a beautiful poem by Rumi. The words to tha poem are appended below:

    The Guest House
    This being human is a guest house.
    Every morning a new arrival.

    A joy, a depression, a meanness,
    some momentary awareness comes
    as an unexpected visitor.

    Welcome and entertain them all!
    Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
    who violently sweep your house
    empty of its furniture,
    still, treat each guest honorably.
    He may be clearing you out
    for some new delight.

    The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
    meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

    Be grateful for whatever comes.
    because each has been sent
    as a guide from beyond.

    Rumi - 13th century Persian poet and theologian

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:58 am

  • Barbara says:

    To smile at fear is to overcome the clinging of ego centered reaiity and to embrace all manifestations as Mind.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:00 am

  • Linda says:

    To Smile at fear takes the power of fear away...I feel fear when I am concerned about tomorrow or thinking of yesterday...I am learning that the present moment is all there is and when I am in the present moment fear can not take me...I am more powerful than my fears as I have refuge in the budda.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:00 am

  • Bob Jihi Merrill says:

    To smile at fear is an acknowledgement that fear is present, but not "real". Like all things experienced in this life, fear is transient. We cannot pretend that it does not exist; for that will only give it strength. We feel fear, just like we feel distractions during meditation, then move on from it...back to the present moment. By smiling at fear, we appreciate it as another opportunity to be present in the here and now. Fear is not an enemy. It is a teacher and guide along the path.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:03 am

  • jane anderson says:

    By smiling at fear we accept the situation provided to us by the universe to learn whatever lessons we may need to for some spiritual growth. Smiling at fear may help us to gain some levity and strength in dealing with what is facing us. Smiling at fear is not a usual response and I would imagine take some practice for it to become a meaningful tool in our lives. I am definitely game in giving it a try. Thank you

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:04 am

  • Phil says:

    Smiling at fear is having the courage to be with your fear and let it touch your heart. It is then when you can realize what it means to be human and reach fearlessness.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:04 am

  • Mona Flynn says:

    To smile at fear is to surrender to God and trust that there is truly a reason and a lesson in all paths set before us - it is very difficult to look beyond the fear and wonder at it as an opportunity for growth. Part of the trust is a realization that we have within ourselves what it takes to overcome the hurdle before us. As our emotions come full circle we can hopefully find a sense of reassurance that we are stronger than we think and find a way to include some focus on appreciation for a that we do have within us to deal with getting over the hurdle of fear - gratitude is the mother of all virtues.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:04 am

  • MARY ELLEN MERRYMAN says:

    When I encounter fear, I try to remember to smile and ask, "What do you have to teach me?" And then I listen.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:08 am

  • Brian Buckley says:

    To 'smile' at fear is to acknownledge it's presence and wisdom, and yet choose to not be bound by it's chains.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:08 am

  • Schantell Taylor says:

    To smile at fear is to understand the workings of our minds. There is nothing to be said about the initial feelings of fear. What comes after that is where humans can eleviate suffering. To smile at fear is to have an intimate relationship with ourselves, honoring and being gentle with our emotions of fear.With loving kindess we take a look at it and being brave enough having the courage to press deeper into our emotions and what may be uncompfortable. To smile at fear to me is: To be as gentle as we are as gazing upon our newborn for the fist time. With loving eyes and a smile that penetrates the heart. To be vulnerable enough, to let in a smile that is born out of compassion, trust, understanding, courage and love..that is the smile unto fear.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:09 am

  • nessa says:

    Fear is an instinctual contraction, and an ally. It is the red flag arising that calls our attention. We can lose ourselves in it; like getting pulled into a dream. Or it can be the bell sounding, calling us back to practice. Fear informs us of opportunity rising. Pay attention. Something else co-arises with our fear. It is a choice point. When we smile at fear we choose awakening.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:10 am

  • Maria says:

    For me, to smile at fear would be to welcome it and say "yes I see you". I can accept this and live my life. I don't have to run away and judge that I am fearful at that moment. Truly acknowledging this experience and facing it would mean to smile at fear.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:10 am

  • Jewel says:

    "smiling at fear".. very similar to hearing a good joke that everyone can relate to!

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:10 am

  • Leslie says:

    To smile at fear is to say to Life: Bring it on!

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:10 am

  • JB says:

    Smiling at fear is to trust that there is a way through whatever the presenting fear is. Breathing and relaxing into the moment will give you the calm and sense of mind that will allow you to conquer the un-calm and disquiet before you at that moment.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:13 am

  • JoAnn says:

    To smile at fear means to approach life with lightness and a sense of humor. My friend told me when her daughter was young she was afraid of her shadow when she saw it for the first time on the sidewalk. It just kept following her and she didn't understand! Ah what is this dark thing! Likewise, as we get older, fear follows us like shadow. We can accept that it will sometimes be there but it doesn't have to stop us from taking the next step forward. In fact we can laugh at it.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:13 am

  • Greenjeans says:

    Let go of self/other.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:14 am

  • carol keck says:

    Smiling at fear is acknowledging and befriending her, letting fear know that you are willing to be with and work kindly with her. To even go places with her.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:14 am

  • Sandy says:

    Smiling at fear is acknowledging it's presence, respecting it's power and asking for it's friendship.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:15 am

  • Linda Bean says:

    To smile at fear is to feel it, look directly at it and be open to experiencing it.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:17 am

  • carol keck says:

    Smiling at fear is to acknowledge and befriend her...to become a part of your life to work and play with, to learn from and grow with.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:18 am

  • Jon says:

    equanimity

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:21 am

  • mia says:

    to smile at an old and well known companion with the wisdom compassion of knowing my fear as my teacher; as my practice; as the yoke of all humans; as partner to every little bit of pleasure; having; and accomplishing.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:22 am

  • Romaine Reeves says:

    I think it is very simple in that when a person aknowleges fear they are giving themselves an opportunity to test themselves. By looking directly into the face of fear and confronting whatever it is you will come away with an increased understanding of yourself.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:24 am

  • Martha Jones says:

    Smiling at fear to me means that I welcome it with a hug and remind myself that love, compassion, and kindness will help us face the fear and love ourselves and others as we work through the process.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:24 am

  • Lamar White says:

    To smile at fear is to be present with fear. To be present with fear is to allow the possibility of looking at it and maybe even working with it. To smile is to relax the resistance and begin a different relationship with it.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:25 am

  • Danielle says:

    To smile at fear means to welcome and not resist that emotion, to know that fear is not an enemy, but an energy that contains within it a path to connection-- with the true self.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:27 am

  • Michael Speraw says:

    Looking directly at the fearful mind,
    where is the fear?
    Looking directly at the mind that is looking
    and then letting go is the smile at fear.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:29 am

  • mark deshazo says:

    To smile at fear is to be free up front.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:29 am

  • Julie Simiskey says:

    I think to smile at fear is to confront it head on - not to let my mind run away with made up scenarios or outcomes or pretend it doesn't exist, but to know there is an opportunity for growth in acknowledging it and walking through it deliberately. Maybe (-;

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:29 am

  • Catherine Cole says:

    Smiling at fear could be that after RECOGNIZING the fear, replacing that reactionary impulse with one of acceptance and even with a friendly heart!

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:30 am

  • Dolby says:

    Acceptance

    Namaste, Dolby

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:30 am

  • Zelda Casparis says:

    To smile at fear is to accept fully who you are with all of your strengths, weaknesses, and insecurities. It's the challenge of accepting that where you are in your life and what life experiences you are having are fully yours at that moment. To smile at fear is to recognize that anyone can grow out of fearful situations. I work in a bank and we undergo financial audits quite often. The CEO made a comment to me during a very stressful audit last year that was fear based in it's execution that the auditors could say what they wanted and he would listen but when he got up in the morning he would know that the auditors could not change who he was and he would not lose sleep over their findings. That comment stuck with me. Fear is about control and smiling is about love and trust and happiness and gratitude. When we truly smile we honor those qualities in ourselves.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:30 am

  • Sima Hashemifar says:

    To smile at fear is to have radical acceptance for what life offers you. It can be pain, loss, joy, gain, fame,or blame.

    It's the courage to face What IS. Look at the fear in the eyes and the fear starts to dissolve. Being curious and keeping the inquisitive mind to dissect the fear. It loses its hold and grip on the fearful.

    To smile at gear is to be naked in front of the Universe willing to lose what the ego needs and accept the impermanency of all there is to life. Afer all fear and insecurity are from the same nature.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:32 am

  • Pat R says:

    By facing fear, we grow, become stronger and widen our perspectives. Fear may "think" it is frightening, but it really is a gnome, wiggling its nose at us, making us smile at the opportunity given to us.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:33 am

  • Yvonne Butterworth says:

    To smile at fear means that when you get knocked down, you may crawl for a long, long way on your belly but then you stand gain. You just stand! Leap and the net will appear!!!

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:33 am

  • Patricia Gradler says:

    To smile at fear is to let go of what your idea of fear is, and to see a situation without judgement. Smile because you are here and now and that you can smile.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:34 am

  • Jennifer Leslie says:

    When I think of fear, I think of someone who is facing something unknown to them. When I picture someone smiling at fear I see someone who knows the only way to walk in to the light is by walking through the dark first. The smiling person looks forward to walking into the dark Because they also know they have light within and therefore they bring light to the darkness. The person smiling and carrying around light in there heart embraces the darkness, welcomes the unknown because they know fear is only an illusion.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:35 am

  • Kate Reeves says:

    I think "smiing at fear" is to realize that when you feel fear - it is showing you that something is important to you - and that this is an opportunity to get to know yourself in a new and intense way. To 'smile' is to welcome this opportunity.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:35 am

  • Paula Martel says:

    To smile at fear means to me accepting it. It is part of me I have created it through my life experiences for protection. It can't hurt me if I'm aware where it comes from. I know I can control it and face it so I must smile.

    namaste

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:37 am

  • Robin Kennedy says:

    Fear is a cunning baffling emotion that consistently throws me off balance. It is only when I quiet my mind, pay attention to my breath and go soft-belly that I am able to recognize my mind's overgeneralizations and categorizations of circumstances. Circumstances that a quiet mind can recognize as opportunities that inspire compassion for myself as well as others.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:38 am

  • Wilson High says:

    To smile at fear means to look at my cancer and understand that it is simply part of my existance. I look beyond the fear and realize my life is beautiful.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:39 am

  • Elizabeth Giufre says:

    To smile at fear is to let loose the tiger chasing from within us. To leap forward with purpose and gain a deeper understanding from whatever experience has brought on the fear in the first place.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:39 am

  • Quiana Grace Frost says:

    I am wondering if I have ever smiled at fear. I suspect it will be a welcome option next time I experience fear! To smile at fear to me means that I am first, acknowledging it is present, that it is NOT me or has not taken over me. It means that I recognize its power and mine as well. We have met. I have accepted the challenge! I step forward in a wise knowing that I have been in this dance before and welcome it. The smile implies to me either a wild eyed insanity, "what the heck?!... here we go!" (think Thelma and Louise) attitude or a wizened stance, realizing this is a rematch with a familiar wily opponent who has dared to challenge me again. I can see that the illusion of the "other" is what can dissolve with this smile. The illusion of the power over oneself that fear can hold at times. I see a smile as a universal sign of familiar greeting, of warmth and honor... saying "you are seen and I see myself in you with my heart".

    These are my words.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:40 am

  • Debra Jaques says:

    For me it was first acknowledging that fear drives much of how I responded to the world. I believe it means that whatever is happening in your life, no matter how traumatic or chaotic, there is a purpose that is divine and good. A learning actually for your soul's development. The trick is to bring this knowledge to your heart so that you can smile at everything that happens in your life. An inner knowing, peace and connection with what exists within me. It is a work in progress!!!!

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:41 am

  • greyskies says:

    To smile at fear
    Is an attempt to glimpse the visage of the primitive. It’s not a friend or opponent; there is no such thing . It can be familiar to those who dare. To smile at fear is to dance on a knife’s edge

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:42 am

  • Debbie Holexa says:

    We fear what we do not understand or can not see. To "Smile at Fear" is to turn a light towards our ignorance, misperceptions and blind spots. Through illumination true essence emerges, oneness recognized, a smile appears and fear dissolves.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:42 am

  • elle drury says:

    To smile at fear is knowing at a deeper level of consciousness that I am loved and the challenges on my everyday path are beneficial for my growth as a human being. Thank You for this moment.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:42 am

  • Tina Ramus says:

    Smiling at fear means living life with an open heart and mind, in all circumstances.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:43 am

  • judy mishcon says:

    assume an uplifted posture, and surrender.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:44 am

  • Greg Jones says:

    Smiling at Fear. I would seem to me that for one to deal with such a stong and intense emotion (and the associated physical reactions to a fearful event) one must have a clear mind. Allowing oneself to fully integrate the experience with the space one can have through meditative practice one has the ability to look at the event (both as it causes reactions in the body as well as one's mind) and not only potentially react to it in some positive manner (possibly diffusing the situation through a compasionate response) but come to a realization that the "fear" one may percieve is just that "a perception". A perception created by one's own habitual patterns of reaction to an particular kind of event rather than a logical or open interpretation of what truly is occurring. In approaching fear in such a way one may find that what was once a fearful "stressor" is actually a creation of perception one has developed over one's life experiences that has been quickly (an often subconsiously) siezed upon. In otherwords siezing upon our perception of "realitive reality" rather than "ultimate reality". Through our practices we are all striving to be more awake to "ultimate reality".

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:45 am

  • Ellen says:

    Perhaps to smile at fear is to sit down with it as if it were a friend, have a cup of tea with it. We certainly spend enough time with it. Doing this rather than constantly running from it and trying to get rid of it.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:45 am

  • Maryann Mayer says:

    I think "smiling at fear" means befriending it - smiling at it like you would a good friend. It does not mean smiling in a self-protective, "I'll win over you" way, but in an "I'll really listen to you, hear what you have to say, and get to know you" way.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:46 am

  • Linda says:

    To me, smiling at fear means acknowledging that which is making my heart pound and taking the time to unravel the knot in my stomach, strand by strand. It means understanding that I give myself that response (fear) and the response is optional if I truly understand all that I am bringing to the fear-inducing situation. I can overcome the fearful response if I truly know my mind, then I may smile at fear.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:46 am

  • Andrea Pucci says:

    "to smile at fear", to welcome the opportunity and what has arisen in one's mind/body as a friend who has come, who evokes a memory and then choose to clarify it into wisdom knowledge - by allowing it to be experienced in the light of open hearted spacious awareness - to smile at fear as the teacher, come to enlighten our being.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:47 am

  • Tom Golz says:

    To smile at fear is to take off your shoes.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:49 am

  • Alexis Schroeder says:

    To smile at fear is to give it a place at the table. To sit beside it, be considerate, not wish it away.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:49 am

  • anna vandam says:

    To small at fear is to know that my old foe has become my friend.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:51 am

  • Jean McManus says:

    To smile at fear is to be in equinimity.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:52 am

  • Jim Chaffee says:

    To me, fear is a basic response to what is most vulnerable and therefore most easily closed off inside ourselves. Since we tend to protect that and make it armored and hardened, when we look into the face of our fear, we have the chance to uncover a depth of authentic being that can bring us back to our deepest natural nature. Thus, when we smile at fear, we open to the possiblity of embracing that from which we have hidden and finding the emptiness that is the root of mind-being.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:52 am

  • Reme says:

    Smiling at fear is honoring fear and its roots with tenderness and compassion, freeing us from our self-induced despair.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:52 am

  • Earl McHugh says:

    To Smile at Fear sounds absurd, at first. But when we look at our inner nature, our natural Buddha mind, we can readily see that, like all states, fear is transitory. It is most unwelcome, but if we fight it or cringe at it, it simply stays with us longer. We can see, if we can relax with it, that fear is a threat only because of our conditioning to make it so. If we can truly look and relax, it will, like all states of mind simply go away.When it returns, as it will, we may be able to say to ourselves, " Aha, my old friend fear. " Just as the Buddha said to Mara. Then it loses its potency to disturb you.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:54 am

  • Michael Harkins says:

    Two things come to mind: smiling as a 'baring of teeth,' and the 'Litany against Fear' in in Frank Herbert's 'Dune.'
    Some anthropologists believe smiling originated in a greating to show that while we both have teeth, we need not use them, similar to the open hand as an offering of peace. Smiling at fear allows us to steel ourselves. The outward expression warns, while inwardly it imbues a body with confidence.
    Ever since reading 'Dune' in High School, I found the 'Litany against Fear' as one of the most striking passages:
    - I must not fear.
    - Fear is the mind-killer.
    - Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
    - I will face my fear.
    - I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
    - And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
    - Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
    - Only I will remain.
    Throughout the 'Dune' series religion plays a significant part in the stories. Which reminds of the concept of 'Homo Religisus' as expressed by Mircea Eliade and C.G. Jung. The idea is that humans, at their core, are religious in nature. It may have something to do with our acquition of language and it's metaphoric base (Mark Turner), or our moral core, which Robert Langs suggests is what governs our need for justice, and punishes and guilts us when we do wrong. Victims seek retribution and predators seek absolution.
    We fear things inwardly as well as outwardly, and both need to be faced with compassion, humility, and fearlessness.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:54 am

  • Jack Altman says:

    To smile at fear means, for me, to come back to observation of breathing and whatever else comes into awareness -- to surrender to mystery. Doing this allows peace without fear.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:54 am

  • Rich Frankfeldt says:

    Fear is actually based on an illusion because it's a future event or anticipated experience that has not yet occurred. So, it's projecting one's past into the future. If this is an observable process via meditation and we can actually see it...we can "Laugh At It".

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:54 am

  • David Moore says:

    To smile at fear is to (pleasantly and gently) recognize the sources of our own self-cherishing storylines and the suffering that attachment causes.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:55 am

  • karen benke says:

    To smile at fear is to become friendly with yet another vast part of ourselves. To welcome home yet another piece of the whole and shed light in a corner that was once dark.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:56 am

  • BJ Honeycutt says:

    To smile at fear is - Becoming aware of my basic goodness and having enough compassion for myself to be with whatever arises.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:56 am

  • Wendy Walker says:

    Smiling at fear provides us with the most beautiful opportunity for immediate freedom from becoming a slave of fear. To embrace fear as a portal to awareness of our true self is very liberating. Fear in and of itself is truly blessing in disguise because fear gifts us with mirror of what we must face in order to become free of pain and suffering. The love and compassion that arises in our heart so readily becomes blocked and stagnant if fear arises. This fear is the residue of lifetimes of experiences and loss that has attributed to this pain and suffering. When we have the courage to smile at fear and face this fear head on we soon realize that this fear can do us no harm, infact the fear itself becomes an familiar acquaintance, not an enemy. When we are gentle with ourself we can then recognize why fear has created such a barrier instead of a vehicle for our growth.
    Fear has always been a constant companion of mine and I know all too well how incredibly debilitating fear can upset someone's inner peace. The ultimate fear must be of death, yet really there is no death so what do we truly have to be fearful of? Perhpas when we can truly smile at fear and accept the fear then we can walk past fear without becoming trapped in a straight jacket of fear's immobilizing power. Fear only has the power that we give it, so why not just smile at fear, and gently, lovingly embrace ourself and other's with loving kindness. Smile at fear and the fear shall disappear like sun burning away the fog... The sun is the smile of our heart.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:58 am

  • Sheri Wright says:

    Hello Fear,
    What are you here to teach me, reveal to me at this moment?
    Understanding, embracing and working with the challenges presented to me by my fear(s) allows me to lead a more whole life.
    To be able lead a fearless life is to experience a beautiful, bountiful existence. Fear allows recognition of ones' foibles, in essence creating joy at the fallacy of ones' beliefs. One need not cling to this or that, for that is what creates our suffering. When we understand the basis of our suffering, we then create the root for knowing and living happiness. Thank you, in Gratitude Pema, for all your delightful wisdom. I bow in humble reverence to you - Namaste' Sheri

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:58 am

  • Linda says:

    Smiling at fear means to welcome its presence and to end the struggle with it; to appreciate what it is telling us about our experience, and to use it to inform our decisions.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:59 am

  • Irene Fradet says:

    There are many lesson to be learned in this life.We judge the events in our lives as good or bad. Smiling at fear we realize that all the paths take us home to the source.Smiling at fear allows us to take any path...dangerous, rocky, lovely, slippery, wide and safe each path travelled with an open heart is a teacher. If we are open we can recieve each new lesson. If we are frozen in fear, trembling on the cliff edge we will not see the beauty around us or that we are never alone.Much fear are limitations taught by our families . Smiling at fear we can make peace with our past and say, "I see you there. You are afraid , take my hand and lets explore and see what is up ahead."

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:59 am

  • Jenn Nourse says:

    Smiling at fear is opening to what is actually happening, however uncomfortable or painful the situation. It is befriending the unknown, inviting it in. By smiling at fear, we acknowledge our lack of control, our selflessness, and the joy that comes with that recognition.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:00 am

  • Celia says:

    It means to accept that there are no certainties in life, that anything solid in our lives can be taken away at any time, but that we can still find great joy in any situation.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:00 am

  • Mary Hunter Leach says:

    Well, I am smiling at fear as I write this! It is a continual practice to choose a creative response when fear knocks (and sometimes it bangs) at the door. It really doesn't care at all whether we open the door--it will bang away. So I get curious, open the door and look at it right in the face--usually by then it shrinks into a little pipsqueak and scampers off, but sometimes it looms larger, heaves and globs all over me. But I realize now, thanks to Pema, Trungpa and my kind root lama, that whatever form fear takes on the outside, it is inseparbly linked to what is going on inside, a play of mind's nature. It might seem real, but it really isn't, and if I can just look at that--without TRYING to make it go away or change or transform or be resolved--but just look at it as it is--and this takes some patience and perserverance on my part--there is energy there that is useful. I just need to be kind to myself while this is going on, so that I don't react unkindly to others. When I remember to use curiousity to open the door, there is more room for breath, and I can see more clearly what right action needs to be.

    Gratitude does not begin to cover what I feel for Pema's hard-won teachings that go straight to my heart...

    Blessings to you, Carolyn, for working so closely with her to bring these teachings to all of us. I was present at Omega in May during her "non-meditation" moments and I would treasure a chance to sit with her more closely. Thank you for this chance--we'll see!

    Aloha,
    Mary Hunter Leach
    Leesburg, VA (formerly Kaua'i)

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:01 am

  • Daniel Kaplan says:

    Smiling at fear is hugging it, acting in spite of, seeing through the fear and seeing it is, itself the total manifestation of the whole.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:02 am

  • Holly Aloha Jaynes says:

    To smile at fear is to be open to a challenge that may frighten you at first, so you become determined and courageous and walk throuh it, transforming the fear one step at a time. You arrive content with peace in your heart.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:04 am

  • Suzanne says:

    to meet it with love...the root of courage is "cor", which means heart

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:05 am

  • Sue Campbell says:

    To smile at fear is to recognize that we are here on earth to learn, to grow and to enjoy. The phrase itself reminds us that if we take things too seriously, we can lose sight of the gift that is life: to remain open and embrace our fellow human beings; and to delight in how we are all responding to challenges and working to leave our mark on the world in the time we have. Many things can be scary, but it soothes to know that we're all in this together. When I experience fear, that thought always makes me smile.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:06 am

  • Wayne Morrow says:

    Q: What do you think it means to smile at fear?

    A: Responding to a fear with a smile, a forgiving, and yes even friendly smile - is remembering. Remembering in the face of that little mind killer - that every moment is a new opportunity to be kind, courageous and conscious.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:07 am

  • Mary Hunter Leach says:

    oops--perseverance

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:08 am

  • Marcianne Waters says:

    I think smiling at fear means to 1. recognizing this very human emotion, that serves a purpose in protecting our lifeforce, 2. accepting the emotion as positive and worthy of our attention, 3. calculating the outcome (worst case scenario) of a fear manifested, 4. reminding yourself that whatever the outcome, everything will be all right in the end, and 5. move forward, whether you've been able to let the fear go or not.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:08 am

  • Marya says:

    To smile at fear means to to stay open to the things that scare you instead of shutting down. And also to have a sense of humor about how seriously you might want to take life.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:08 am

  • DeEtte Waleed says:

    I have seen refugees in Africa smile at fear. One man, who was not able to swim himself, helped other refugees fleeing the civil war build rafts to get across a river. Then he finally made it across the river himself to cross the border and find his way to a refugee camp. There is still violence in the refugee camp, but many have joined together to learn conflict transformation and to teach it to others.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:09 am

  • Kathi Jackson says:

    To smile at fear means to tell our mind "Thanks for sharing," realizing that the fear is often a product of our mind spinning out a story, and us thinking we can control a situation and prevent something bad from happening if we worry enough.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:10 am

  • Graciela Damewood says:

    It means that now fear is a trigger for discovering the inner strength for responding to the new, the unknown, losses and challenging situations. It means I can befriend this helper and smile to it’s calling for consciousness and trust.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:12 am

  • Doug Henderson says:

    To smile at fear is to humbly and openly greet and aquaint myself with the shadow I sought to escape from for so many years through addiciton. Now when I smile at fear, the shadow is illuminated and its power is diminished.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:13 am

  • Peter Sorrentino says:

    Smiling at Fear is an action similar to brushing my hair, identifying with a movie hero or signing "I Love You" at the bottom of birthday cards: all are things I use to tell the story of me to self and other.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:13 am

  • Barbara Cash says:

    Gently relax and walk through your fear and then you will feel the smile...Peace...

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:14 am

  • Terry says:

    To smile at fear is to welcome an old friend home.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:15 am

  • Die Wade says:

    Smiling at fear means that when fear comes knocking I open the door and say, "Oh! It is just fear. Come on in fear and tell me what brings you here."

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:16 am

  • Jesse Morrison says:

    To smile at fear......is to invite fear in. Take fears hand, look fear in the eye, relax. To feel that fear is just another beautiful moment in life, that we can only grow and learn so mucho from the sensation of fear. Smiling at fear is remaining present and aware of whats truly going on inside and out.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:16 am

  • Brenda Currin says:

    To smile at fear is to recognize fear as the trickster. "Here comes fear, to throw me off the trail again!" And, like we are amused by the antics and tantrums of little children, we can be amused by our fears, as they cleverly work to distract us. "Ah! You got me again, you tricky little scoundrel."

    We can also be amused by how easily we fall for it! "But you won't get me so easily next time! I'm on the alert for you now!"

    And when we succeed, and do outwit our fears, even for a moment, we can smile and laugh "Ah hah! You'll have to be sneakier than that to catch me off guard again!"

    Fear has become a playmate, a friend of sorts, our sparring partner. Unrelenting, and so always pushing us on.

    If we accept fear as our own Wily Coyote, and we realize that we, like Roadrunner, can always escape unscathed, then we can smile at fear with empathy and with humor. Poor Wily Coyote has a hard job!

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:19 am

  • Earle Baruch says:

    To smile at fear is to embrace the lion's roar while feeding him your heart.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:21 am

  • Janet Trentham says:

    Smiling at fear is a life changing event or at least it was for me. I was facing a huge challenge in my life that began in 2005 and finally had a conclusion in April of 2009. Through this whole time I had amazing friends who did not abandon me when they might have or should have, but did not. This wonderful group of friends not only went the course with me, but stepped it up and a notch and even vouched for my integrity at great personal expense. They saw me through that difficult time and and continued to go the road with me when I was diagnosed with breast cancer during in 2008. Now that those darkest of times are all behind me and I am on the other side, I see how these fabulous people helped me to smile in the face of tremendous fears, helped to keep me sane and are part of my happiness and part of what I can give back to the world.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:23 am

  • Anne Delling says:

    Freeing ourselves of fear opens the door to infinite possibilities.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:23 am

  • Olav Smith says:

    Fear, once it becomes the overriding emotion that is shaping us, distorts the true character of a person. To smile at fear is not to disregard the fear entirely, or to pretend it doesn't exist. It's there for a reason. We must learn to see the fear as a signal that calls for our attention and see it as an opportunity to survey the landscape before us. Then we can smile at the fear as a friend and not be overwhelmed, or distorted, by it. I think it was for similar reasons that Hemingway defined courage as "grace under pressure."

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:26 am

  • Jordan Jacobson says:

    Laughing at myself when I realize that it’s just fear, my fear (which makes it even funnier), in the way again. Fear is usually the hurdle not what I am in fear of. Fear is everywhere and relative to ones path. My fear is not more important then this person or that person. It’s just fear. We all have fear in one way or another. Then fear is no longer my mountain to climb just a field I play on with all of you. 

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:26 am

  • Tanya Stogre says:

    "To smile at fear"...for me, means to open oneself completely, to surrender in a loving and giving way to our fears. It means to treat fear like a friend, rather than something we want to run away from. Only in embracing and welcoming our fears will we be able to understand and learn from them...and in the end, not only overcome them, but become friends with them.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:27 am

  • Jaclyn Ley says:

    For me, smiling at fear meant accepting my fear, then going after it and not letting it hold me back anymore.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:29 am

  • Teresa Prevo says:

    Smiling at fear put simply to me means welcoming the moment for growth and facing it with courage knowing, all things change.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:29 am

  • Terri squires says:

    I believe what it means to smile at fear is to say to yourself Ah ha here is a wonderful opportunity to grow as a human being and become eager to learn about myself and others when we are scared, frightened and how to wade through it without running through it. To want to learn about myself and therefore others when I am scared they are scared and learn how to be gentle and kind to ourselves during these times and to empower ourselves and others through this time in hopes of having a positive outcome for humanity.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:31 am

  • Loretta says:

    I smile at Fear to gain its respect and to give me power to keep going inspite of it.

    thank you for this opportunity!

    Loretta

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:32 am

  • Nalini Chilkov says:

    Smiling at Fear means to take every moment as an opportunity for awakening, to not turn away from , but rather embrace what comes before us on our path...to open to it, to learn from it, to grow, to be surprised at the resources within ourselves that we can call upon to meet our life and all of its challenges.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:34 am

  • Jaclyn Ley says:

    Smiling at fear is to invite it in as if a friend and not a stranger, face the fear and it will disappear.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:34 am

  • Lorissa ArgoRay says:

    To smile at fear is to acknowledge our humanness at its most basic level. It means rising up to meet the reality of the moment with kindness.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:35 am

  • Jenny Flatberg says:

    Smiling at fear is like when I am afraid and yet I am also aware that I am afraid so I have some sense of choice to just relax into the fear. In other words,
    I am not fearful of fear, I am fear. But also, I am not only fear. I am also at the same moment joy and The Buddha and anger and perverted and everything else. But when fear is coming up, I do not need to ignore it or deem it bad or wrong. I actually appreciate it and have the sense to hear it. When I am afraid of fear, I have a tendency to avoid it which actually does not quell it so much as make it run rampant and control me. And there is wisdom in fear just like in all the ten thousand dharmas. I think smiling at fear is akin to letting oneself be afraid and letting that fear be part of everything else I am right now.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:35 am

  • Ro Hanus says:

    To Smile at Fear I try to relate to Fear as an old friend. This friend, always hanging around, requires a special relationship from me, one that requires trust and tolerance. I develop a connection to this "Fear friend" learning to
    meditate and acknowledging the many subtle places she/he/it shows up in my daily ramblings. This Fear friend will always be with me and I can develop a new relationship to it simply by smiling appreciatively at it's potential.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:36 am

  • Sean Sands says:

    Smiling at fear is the act of finding courage to see a different path at a time of adversity. It is the strength to consider a different response, and the wisdom to understand that "fear" doesn't HAVE to be fear, but that it can be something else entirely.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:38 am

  • Jay says:

    To smile at fear is to invite the fear to smile back.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:38 am

  • Dechen says:

    Smiling at Fear means is to regain an awareness. When Fear captures us, if we can develop the ability to recognize that we are enveloped with fear, then we are aware of fear and then we can "smile at fear".

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:38 am

  • Alex Ross says:

    To Smile at Fear means having the confident resolve to adapt or overcome any conclusion to any situation for the good of the self, the soul, all peoples and all Nature.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:39 am

  • Nicole M. Hinojosa says:

    When we smile at fear we are welcoming the experience at hand. It is through these experiences, difficult or frightening, that we are challenged, and grow. We change, transform and evolve into our authentic selves through growth cultivating experiences. I know personally that through the experiences in my life that have frightened me the most, and challenged me on many levels, I have evolved into the person I am today filled with so much insight, confidence and self-love. Just thinking about those experiences as difficult as they were at the time, I am smiling now. These wonderfully scary experiences have molded me forever. I believe that old adage to be true, "do something everyday that frightens you, and you will have truly lived." Namaste.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:39 am

  • Grace Gray says:

    To smile at fear is, for me, to smile with recognition. It is to accept the power of this emotion with curiosity. What is it? Why is it here? How can I get to know it really well? I smile at the wisdom of fear: Thank you for getting me out of the way of that truck! I smile at it to say, hello fear! I feel you. You are strong. You are only a feeling, not an action, not a truth. Therefore, I will go on to do whatever I need to do, whether that means tolerating your voice or listening to it.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:40 am

  • Linda Andrews says:

    Smile at fear means being afraid but going through it anyway.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:40 am

  • Kate says:

    I think it means to welcome the known in something unknown. To recognize the soft in something that is hard.

    My marriage is ending today -- and I am trying to smile at the new path in front of me an my daughter. Mindful of the thing that I am afraid of most -- the "sad heart" Most of us develop at some deeply tragic point in our lives and that we then inevitably carry in some way always and can access, for positive things like strength and compassion, not just as a painful reminder of deep pain. Today and for a long time to come I will be caring for and from the sad heart. My daughter has hers too though with a child feisty shield over it that is much more brittle than it may appear.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:41 am

  • Elizabeth E. Hoglund says:

    To smile at fear is to have the confidence to face the fear without being consumed by it.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:46 am

  • Miriam Goodman says:

    Fear is like your small child in distress who you tenderly pick up and cradle in your arms, look at with full awareness and acceptance and smile at with an inner depth of love and knowing before you set her down to run off and be free.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:47 am

  • Jay Westbrook says:

    Fear & hope are opposite sides of the same coin,and that coin is "the future." Fear is always about the future, but life occurs only right here, right now - in the present. Smiling at fear is what occurs as I become conscious of being absent, and gently return to the moment.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:48 am

  • Ann Penuel says:

    For me, smiling at fear means turning toward the fear and befriending the fear, making room for it in my heart. It requires gentleness and calm to greet this fear and invite the fear to reveal itself. Fear is just another part of our human experience. It actually is useful to warn us when there is real danger present. So, we have to pay attention to the fear and examine what it is trying to tell us.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:48 am

  • Dave Pearson says:

    To me, smiling at fear helps get me past the fear of fear.
    For much of my life I have been afraid of feeling any emotions, let alone expressing them. Smiling at fear helps me relax and remember that my feelings come and go like clouds in the sky, and that resisting fear only gives it more power.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:48 am

  • Patricia Delair says:

    What does it mean to smile at fear?
    Being diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer, losing your livelihood and insurance, and within months of that losing your 10 week old grandbaby to SIDS. Then within a few months after that being at Starbucks staring into the strung out face of your only child who in his grief turned to heroin and be at peace with your life knowing that everything is the way that it is supposed to be right now.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:49 am

  • Holly Gardenier says:

    It is interesting that the title is "smiling at fear" not smiling together with fear or smiling despite fear. Using "at" implies that the fear is not me, it is separate from me. Fear may be in me, it may be my response to situations or people, yet it is not to be dealt with as if I need to be "with" it. Fear does not own me yet it has access to me (and I to it) continually. The pain of fear is my fear of it - my resistance to it. If I smile at fear I can begin to not be fearful of my fear.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:50 am

  • D. Wallace says:

    To smile at fear means you are surrendering the need to control and allowing yourself to embrace the opportunity to learn; to grow more into the essence of who you really are.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:53 am

  • Kym J Kennedy says:

    Smiling at fear means to welcome it as a teacher. It is saying "OK, sit down for a moment and let me get to know you and where you were born and where you have been."

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:53 am

  • Barry says:

    To smile at fear is to stop the overwhelming emotion and tightness that descends with fear. To smile in the face of face allows the spaciousness to see all the possibilities that lead you and others out of fear's grasp.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:54 am

  • Justine says:

    To me, smiling at fear means standing with the emotion, understanding its root and not allowing it to rock my balance or send me running. To smile at fear means taking the opportunity to realize that fear is an emotion that does make one truly awake...there is hardly any other thought in the moment of fear aside from the fear...it is one of the greatest moments of understanding what mindfulness is all about. To look at the fear, to understand it, to unroot it and take the power from being a "negative" and seeing it for what it is...just another human reaction to a situation and going forward with it next to you. That is what smiling at fear is to me.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:54 am

  • carron baxter says:

    To smile at fear is to recognize that I am human in my fear and to accept it as normal. Then I feel my fear fully in my human way and feel my connection with the rest of humanity that is suffering in the same fearful way. We are connected and I can smile at that.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:55 am

  • Desdra Dawning says:

    To turn and face the demons my mind has created? And then to bring a smile to my face as I greet them? To Lighten Up in the midst of that which frightens me? Now THAT would be/is sheer freedom!

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:55 am

  • jamey says:

    to smile at fear is to love all of yourself fully with your own heart.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:56 am

  • Sr. Patti McClellan, OMC says:

    Smiling at fear means recognizing that it is
    False
    Evidence
    Appearing
    Real
    Smiling at fear removes its power.
    Sr. Patti

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:56 am

  • angela says:

    I have learned a lot about smiling at fear from the people i work with. over the last six years i have been doing HIV/AIDS social work, each day i am inspired by how people face adversity and fear about the unknowns in their lives. one man i worked with has incredible perspective on life from his near death experiences with AIDS, cancer, a brain tumor, 2 strokes and countless infections. he approached his situation with such humor and courage, even though he lost mobility of one side of his body, he was determined to walk and talk properly again-to be able to walk his dog and cook dinner for his famuly. he never doubted himself, he smile dinthe face of fear! he did not know how things would turn out but he didn't wait time worrying about it, he was not stuck in a sad place, he just kept going. he kept everone laughing cracking jokes, using sarcasm about his pain, finding things to laugh at at the nursing home as he was much younger then his fellow patients. he approached life with zeal, and passion for family and friends and food. i have been inspired by his life, even through the end of his life, he was teaching those around him about what is important. i know that his energy and beautiful persective and love will live on.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:57 am

  • jamey says:

    to smile at fear is to love all of ourselves fully with our own hearts.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:57 am

  • colleen gilgenbach says:

    Smiling at fear is doing whatever it is you are afraid of despite the fear.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:58 am

  • Anne Pedersen says:

    I've come to believe in recent years that fear is the close-to-universal substrate of modern life, as often covert as overt: present in irritation, avoidance, impatience, controlling behavior, to name just a few examples.
    To smile at fear is to not judge it, but hold it close and see what it teaches. Often, closely observed and accepted in that way, it turns into something else.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:02 am

  • dante stewart says:

    smiling at fear for me is the realization that fear is an old friend come to bring me news of a new level of unknown

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:02 am

  • Jennifer says:

    For me, smiling at fear is to have Courage.
    Bravery may be defined as "fear-less", absence of fear.
    Courage is recognizing my fear towards a situation, owning the fear and moving through the situation.... anyways.
    Smiling at fear, I smile.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:03 am

  • Leo says:

    smiling at fear simply means to let go.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:04 am

  • Al says:

    the warrior makes friends with fear...

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:05 am

  • Nina Thorne says:

    Smiling at fear means knowing that you need not recoil from this unwanted feeling, but that you can explore it and rest within it until it dissolves.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:05 am

  • Steve Self says:

    To smile at fear is to OPEN to whatever is arising, without trying to change or control anything, and without collapsing. And in that same moment, move with whatever is happening, respect the ki, and then lead everything in the spirit of nondisension with the arising truth.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:06 am

  • Nyss Carney says:

    Smiling a fear means to being to make friends with fear, which is the way to get to know it, accept it, and not fight against feeling it.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:07 am

  • DJ says:

    Smiling at my fear allows me to let it in. Like a stranger at my door deserves assistance, so too does my fear need attention. Not opening the door means it will keep knocking. Sometimes I'm caught off guard and I'll speak to it through the key hole, but smiling at it reminds me it's intentions are good.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:07 am

  • Gretchen Groth says:

    Smiling at fear is befriending an "enemy", welcoming the opposite, merging the duality.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:08 am

  • Krista Wissing says:

    To smile at fear is to greet, meet, acknowledge, recognize, and engage an aspect of our human experience with kindness, courage, and intention. To smile at fear means that our most core self doesn't run, fight, bargain, deny, or disintegrate, even when our other parts readily identify with these feelings. Our core, however, stays present, curious, and observant. It holds everything else - all parts, all states - with compassion and astute awareness. To smile at fear is what helps us grow with and from life's challenges.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:09 am

  • nancy mccann says:

    To be at peace with your being.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:12 am

  • Mary Ellinger says:

    I picked up my copy of Smile at Fear and a big black spider crawled out from under the cover and ran up my arm. I flicked it off but I had to smile.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:12 am

  • kim passaro says:

    Smiling at fear mens making friends with your fear and trepidation. Fear can become your greatest teacher, your ally, if you work with it.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:12 am

  • Jesse Gilliam says:

    To smile at fear to me seems to to have the quality of recognition of a familiar.... like the thing that made the big shadow at night in your room as a child that triggered your imagination to create fearful possibilities.
    Now ,when remembered, that same thing triggers almost a silly grin at oneself in the knowingness of the object,what it is and isn't and the transition of what it seemed to be to understanding it's true nature.
    When I smile at fear I am really smiling at me........

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:14 am

  • Rachel Gately says:

    When I smile at fear, it is usually when I am questioning my choices and decide to keep my commitments, even though doing so might bring up some self-doubt. To truly be fully present in any situation, especially in the face of fear, I continually return to my breath and trust my previously-made commitment to reside in the present moment.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:15 am

  • Linda Osterberg says:

    The ability to smile at fear is one that is cultivated through steady practice of self knowledge, a recogniton of the pulse of seeming opposites in manifestaion and a trust in your inner strength and support of your community.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:16 am

  • Claire says:

    I think it means that you are able to resist being engulfed by the negative emotions that normally accompany fear and meet it with a smile of genuine welcome and acceptance.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:16 am

  • Michelle says:

    Smiling brings happiness into your body. Joy reaches out of the constriction of fear. This brings balance.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:17 am

  • Joanne says:

    Smiling at fear is to turn away from your spiritual adversary with benign neglect and walk away. The smile reminds your body to relax and your heart to breathe.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:18 am

  • chris says:

    Metta to all; I'm finding it hard to write my response after reading through these insightful, touching previous postings.
    To smile at fear is to accept the mystery without judgement. May all sentient beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:18 am

  • Laura says:

    Smiling at fear means to see and feel fear with a calm mind and a soft, open heart, welcoming it as an opportunity for exploration, for potential growth.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:19 am

  • Angie Simmons says:

    To smile at fear is to recognize it as a teacher and friend. When we see fear as something that is there to help us realize who we are, we have to smile, because it takes us one step closer to freedom.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:19 am

  • Renee says:

    To smile at fear is to remember that the amount of love is infinite, abundant, and present...and it cannot be lessened by any smallnes inside my heart.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:21 am

  • Deirdre says:

    Smiling at fear, for me, is relaxing into myself, identifying the emotion, breathing with the situation, welcoming the opportunity to learn.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:21 am

  • Richard says:

    Smiling at fear is to acknowledge the fear, and to do it anyway. Having done something which one is fearful of, in spite of the fear, creates confidence, and becomes a stepping stone to overcoming subsequent fears.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:21 am

  • Raine Brown says:

    Open heart to all challenges.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:22 am

  • sydney hall says:

    To smile at fear is to make it into a support, a sturdy rock in the stream on which to place a foot as we move along.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:24 am

  • Claudia Murphy says:

    I think smiling at fear means to look at it, hold it, encounter it, and embrace it.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:25 am

  • Marguerite Lambrinos says:

    You cannot hide from fear. You can try to, but it doesn't work. Hiding from something is fear itself. You create more fear by hiding. Fear and darkness is all part of the same life experience. If we smile at fear, then we acknowledge it. We let it in. We let our light shine on it. Then fear no longer has the power that we gave it by trying to run away and hide. By doing this we become more enlightened, closer to our pure light of self. Then, we see things differently. Then, we not only smile at it. We can laugh at it and find Joy on the other side.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:26 am

  • Nancy says:

    To smile at fear: To fully feel the terror, the panic, the anxiety, the churning, sick feeling within yourself, and AT THAT SAME MOMENT, know, deep within your bones, that you are a hollow reed, that this intensely painful feeling is only moving through you, and, in fact, has nothing to grasp onto within you. The only path fear can take is to move through the chosen vessel. With this knowledge, one can smile, and the reed sing.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:26 am

  • erica says:

    to smile at fear is to stay open to it all including fear, contraction,habitual closing down. conditioned mind is just another joker so smile, smile, smile-it can be another way to wake up.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:26 am

  • Mary Virginia Currie says:

    I speak from where I am in this moment; I have joined the many many people who are unemployed at this time in the U.S. Our fear is more than palpable. When you can no longer support yourself or the people you love, it probably takes extreme fear to make us do our very best for everyone concerned. While good can come eventually from fear, fear without the balance of laughter can surely be toxic, preventing progress toward self-sufficiency. Doing your best may be accepting each day's dose of fear just as a motivator and then turning your thoughts to remembering that the steps you made yesterday toward finding employment are the stepping stones for today so that focus on today's steps is far more important than dwelling on the sadness of the past and the fear of "What-ifs" or what will happen tomorrow. I have allowed myself to move beyond each day's fear to a place of hope, determination, and introspection. Unemployment may be teaching me to be receptive to my core being. I know that I am starting that journey and slowly I can see that revelation is occurring. What is deep in my soul has begun to peep out and there are real "ah-ha" moments when I think about the purpose of living and how my talents can be best used to make me feel I am leading an authentic satisfying life while supporting myself financially. I like this road less traveled. Listening to my soul's wishes is an affirming and centering task which allows positive moments every day. I do smile every day. If I feel like crying, I just go ahead and I find I do not go on and on with that. Because I do not squelch the fear and the sadness as exhibited in my tears, I allows myself to cleanse daily to meet the joy waiting to happen.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:27 am

  • Cate Schweikert says:

    To smile at fear..... to feel the fear, knowing it can do no harm, but feeling it could take your life, greet it like a friend, a wise friend willing to teach you the most challenging of aspects of this human experience....walking gently, quietly, and bravely into it with gratitude. I'll let you know when I can do that...

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:28 am

  • Medrese Myrick says:

    Smiling at fear means to accept the fear, but not to let it control your life. You realize the fear, make peace with it, and continue to live your life with a smile.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:32 am

  • Jana says:

    To smile at fear is to accept it without judgement as a support for meditation and an invitation to be present.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:32 am

  • Betsy Lody says:

    To me smiling at fear is seeing and accepting fear when it arises instead of running from it, pushing it away or creating stories about it. Smiling at fear is allowing myself to experience it directly with compassion and understanding.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:33 am

  • Carolyn Elliott says:

    Smile at fear as you would if your best friend came knocking on your door. You wouldn't run from your friend, you embrace, love and nourish the relationship.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:35 am

  • Isabelle JACOBS says:

    To smile at fear is to keep on going, every moment

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:35 am

  • Gail Fazzina Fahy says:

    I have defied fear for nine years now. I am a 9 year survivor of stage 1V ovarian cancer. I was supposed to be dead after one year I was told. At times I let the fear take over, but I kept pulling myself up by me boot straps. We fear what we do not know. Fear pushed me to grow and find alternative ways of looking at many things. Fear has given me courage and strength. It is a blessing more than a curse.
    Until you sleep side by side with fear, and learn that it is not larger than you, it cannot take you over unless you allow it. It has stretched me beyond my limits and has become a great friend. Fear has allowed me to grow and discover more about myself and the world around me. Move with the fear, never stop moving.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:38 am

  • Michele van den Berg says:

    When I am able to stay open when the feeling of fear visits, when I can acknowledge it is here, when I can remain open and maybe even appreciate it's aliveness, then I smile at fear. It teaches me that it is okay to stay with whatever presents itself at this moment.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:38 am

  • eileen says:

    ah, I practice smiling at fear when the old, old stories and feelings and thoughts arise, ones that I am so tired of recognizing. What do I fear from them? They are only words and feelings and thoughts...so impermanent, no matter how often they arise. I think of them as the grains of sand in a beautiful mandala, being poured into the river, and smile.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:39 am

  • Lori Piper says:

    To smile at fear is to embrace yourself in all your strengths and weaknesses, to trust in the bounty and graciousness of the universe, and to understand that fear is part of the offering.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:40 am

  • Victoria says:

    Smiling at fear for me means keeping my heart from shutting down even though the impulse to do so is really strong, holding myself open, present and accepting when all I want to do is run away. Light and love out to all beings, always.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:40 am

  • Julianne says:

    To me, smiling at fear means tolerating whatever discomfort may come with the feelings and facing the issue anyway, with as much detachment as possible... smiling rather than turning away. :)

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:40 am

  • Valery Klaw says:

    perhaps to smile at fear means to remain feeling, open, able to both love and cry without closing your heart... And to recognize the projections in the mirror

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:40 am

  • Buirge Jones says:

    I have had to smile at fear during many a retreat. When faced with my own pain, doubt, regret, or guilt that arises during shamatha my habitual pattern would be to run, hide, avoid,etc. During these fearful periods one must face such fear and welcome it, smile, and invite it in. Give maitri to it and yourself. It is like when Milarepra was in his retreat cave and the "demons" came to test him. Rather then run-he offered himself to them extending his head to put in their mouths. He felt compassion for them and smiled at his "demons".

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:41 am

  • Martha House says:

    To learn to smile in the face fear would be a phenomenal gift. The world presents us with so many challenges that can create fear, this response could open the heart in immeasurable ways. In doing so, it means to welcome life with open arms.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:42 am

  • Marijani Fourie says:

    To smile at fear means to appreciate the gifts it brings, if you use fear as a guide it can teach you how to become stronger.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:42 am

  • Amy Chirman says:

    For me, smiling at fear means having the ability to apply the practices of being a bhoddisatva warrior to every aspect of my life, including that which causes a fear response in me. Smiling at fear means, for me, having the ability to be still enough to understand and feel what is going on with me and to stay with that, first, rather than automatically reacting. If I can be present enough to know that I am experiencing fear, the next step in smiling at fear is to stay with the feeling, breathing in, letting it dissolve without reacting to it, and breathing out.

    If I'm feeling particularly in touch with my bhoddisatva warrior self in this process, I am also able to practice tonglen as part of my smiling at fear, breathing in not only my fear but also the fears of all sentient beings, and breathing out freedom from fear for myself and all sentient beings. This is my goal, which sometimes I achieve and sometimes I don't. Either way, I am on the path of the bhoddisatva warrior and am thankful beyond measure for having found the path, as it has brought me a calm and peace of mind that I have rarely before experienced.

    I already have my ticket for this retreat with Pema, but I have a friend, the woman who introduced me to Pema's teachings, and I will give her this ticket if I am the lucky winner. Even if I'm not, please pass along to Pema my thanks, love, admiration, and appreciation for her work. It is invaluable to me. If I ever meet her, I will surely cry, as I am deeply moved by what her teaching has brought to my life.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:47 am

  • Emily Rice says:

    To smile at fear means to welcome the fear as a message that it's time to get to work, the real exciting stuff of life!

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:49 am

  • Deborah Evind says:

    For the last year I've been living with final stage breast cancer at the same time my eighteen year old son is being chased by his fears daily. All this sometimes brings fear creeping right up to my back. It pushes me on the shoulder and says, "Hey, who do you think you are?" I smile back and say, "I'm Deborah. Who are you? Come, sit, lets talk." Its not that I'm not shaking when I say this, but I've found it ends up being a lot less stressful and I can be much more compassionate with myself and my son as a result. Sometimes that fear is funny, sometimes scary. In the end I'm always glad we talked.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:52 am

  • catherine marion says:

    To look life and death in the face.
    To not be afraid.
    To accept the present and be grateful.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:53 am

  • Julie Bohanan says:

    People avoid so many things in life in so many ways simply because they do not want to feel fear. To smile at fear means that it no longer rules you and when it comes up you can acknowledge it and send it on its way. No need to drink, snort, shop or scream-you will not be diminished by this feeling!

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:53 am

  • Christopher Carroll says:

    A smile is a visual signal of a welcoming mind and heart. Fear is a natural response to the uncertainties and dangers of living in the world. To smile at fear is to welcome the chance to come to terms with these dangers and uncertainties with an open heart and mind.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:54 am

  • Laura Baedeker says:

    Smiling with fear is the essence of being a warrior: standing strong and meeting the fear with grace and acceptance.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:54 am

  • Janet Landis says:

    To smile at fear is to look it squarely in the face, and whatever you see, no matter what sense of horror it generates in your body and soul, you smile with a sense of compassion. Humor has a place in dealing with fear, but it must be used carefully. That first smile must come from a place of tenderness, vulnerability and an open heart.
    My son was diagnosed with a fatal, neurodegenerative disease when he was 2 1/2. A decade later, there is still no treatment, and no cure. The hours of weeping that have followed his diagnosis, the months spent in hospitals when he becomes ill, the sick despair as he slowly lost the ability to walk and feed himself; it is a daily practice to smile at fear, for how could I not smile at his sweet face that I love so dearly? Of course there are times when panic threatens to overwhelm me, countless hours of holding him while he sleeps and silently weeping for the loss of the future I had dreamed for him, of the endless pokes from needles and painful procedures that I could not protect him from, but could only stay with him for, as comforter. His screams of fear mixed with pain every time an I.V. has to be started have turned most of my hair white. Tubes down his nose, in his most private body parts, surgeries and scars, we've gone through all of it together. When the storms of emotion have passed in reaction to this procedure or that "stick", I smile at him and tell him how brave he is, how unfair life can seem, how precious each moment we have together is, even the rough ones. I smile knowing one day he will not recover, knowing one day we will not come home together. People have told me it is my karma, or my son's or both of ours, that he was born with this condition. I smile through my swirling emotions, and say, "Yes, maybe that's it." Knowing they have no way to conceive of what our daily life is like, and that their own fear demands they come up with an explanation.
    Chogyam Trungpa spent a lifetime, perhaps many lifetimes, smiling at fear. Crossing the Himalayas in darkness and uncertainty, speaking to Western audiences so childlike in their view of the world that they might do anything to him because of their OWN fear. Knowing also that his words would inevitably be misunderstood, used to promote personal agendas he would never have approved of, facing the utter isolation of living in a culture so alien to his own.
    Smiling at fear is epitomized by a story Tara Brach has often used in her dharma talks. The story of Dame Ragnell and Sir Gawain. Even when none of Arthur's noble knights could bear to look at the woman in all her ugliness, a sweet, tender lick on her hand came from a dog, the only being who would dare make eye contact. Sir Gawain learned to smile at his fear and took the ugly woman as his wife.
    I, despite a multitude of remaining flaws and imperfections, have learned to smile at fear because it took up residence in the body of my beautiful son, Daniel.
    Chogyam Trungpa smiled at fear his whole life, in myriad situations we cannot even fathom. The smile came from his heart of compassion, just as the Buddha's smile did. It is the starting place for our journey, this heart of compassion and it is the one thing that can make smiling at fear our automatic response, rather than allowing fear to make us it's prisoner.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:55 am

  • Neil MacLean says:

    To me, smiling at fear suggests feeling good knowing that one is confronting a difficult situation with courage and integrity.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:55 am

  • Diane Pfister says:

    Smiling at fear means that I'm able to get beyond the emotions & be curious about the situation. It means remembering to never underestimate the power of compassionately recognizing what's going on.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:00 am

  • Eileen Panetta says:

    Fearless is something I can only aspire to. Being ill and elderly I know I will need courage for the part of my life that lies ahead. I want be awake for it, to live it fully, and I know that fear will be a part of it. So I want to embrace it. But it's not so easy.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:00 am

  • Kay Taylor says:

    To me, smiling at fear is to love the fear as one loves a child. The fear comes from a part of ourselves that feels a lack of power and has lost touch with our Spirit nature. When we smile we connect with our true nature, the place where we know everything is really okay. We are drawn into the moment in the awareness of smiling, a positive, trusting act -- and out of the mind's connection to what has happened in the past and what might happen in the future,

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:01 am

  • karen kearney says:

    Move toward what frightens you. Be kind and gentle and welcoming to whatever is coming towards you, and of course smile as you welcome fear.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:02 am

  • Ronnie Gardstein says:

    Smiling at fear is looking at the source of the fear directly, feeling the emotional and physical elements of the resulting fear thoroughly and with acceptance. Smiling lets us embrace the fear, to incorporate its energy and therefore to grow.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:04 am

  • Linda Wiley says:

    Pffff! the very idea is exhilarating! I'm a baby student and so cannot relate a wonderful story of victory---yet! But I'm ready to try it. I'll look fear full in the face, and I'll begin, "Dear one..."

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:07 am

  • Nancy Sullivan says:

    Smiling at fear is not biting at the hook it offers, presenting the appearance that we have a true self that is threatened. No self, no fear, equals freedom.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:09 am

  • Paul Woodall says:

    I think to smile at fear means to simply let it be with everything else.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:10 am

  • Katelynn says:

    To smile at fear means to have a soft heart and a strong back.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:11 am

  • Julianne Miller-Boyer says:

    To smile at fear is to look calmly, deeply and with compassion at fear and to greet it openly with a smile and ask it what it has to teach in this moment.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:11 am

  • Cat Fink says:

    To smile at fear is to not turn away. My fear is a mirror, an opportunity to see clearly. If I turn away I only strengthen the boundaries I have created for myself and limit what is possible.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:11 am

  • Kim Conn says:

    the patience to be with one self
    the practice and want to stay
    and the wisdom to smile at your challenges

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:11 am

  • Ellen Bumpus says:

    We all know that fear is a part of the human condition.
    I believe that to smile at fear is to just sit with it, look deeply to see the nature of it, then just feel it and then get on with living this blessed life.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:13 am

  • Jacquelyn McDonald, M.Ed., LPC says:

    The smile at fear is the recognition that there is no attachment to the fear. The smile is a demonstration that the mind has let go of that illusion.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:13 am

  • Jill A. says:

    To smile at fear means to recognize that fear is just a alarmist response often not based on fact, we are biologically wired &/or emotionally programmed to send up those alarms but they often dont serve us rather they inhibit us, paralyze us, cause us great pain. We must look deeply and sweetly into the face of our reality, our present & bring an open heart and playful curious eyes to those alarms, that pain and have compassion for our fears, for that pain & realize where they are rooted. They come from our biology & come from the layers of our past experience. Smile when fear comes & be grateful for your past, your biology and your present. Let the pain flow in and gently release it out.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:14 am

  • Joell Stebelton says:

    When my six year old daughter comes into my room to tell me she's afraid, the first thing I do is smile at her. It's a visual reassurance that things are going to be okay. It's a kind approach to calming her fear. As adults, aren't we looking for the same thing? If we can smile at our fear, take a kinder approach with ourselves, we can stay present with the feeling of fear and not let it control our lives.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:18 am

  • Robyn Miles says:

    Smiling at fear means that we do not let our anxieties prevent us from growth. Just by the act of smiling, we psych ourselves up for what lay ahead. There is never going to be a great change without fear. If we don't want to fear, we will never evolve.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:18 am

  • Amanda T says:

    To smile at fear to me, means to smile at your friend. Fear is your friend because he shows us how we can become stronger. With out fear, how else can we be courageous. It's yin and yang. So I smile at fear and thank him for being there to make me a better person with every moment that passes :)

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:25 am

  • Vicky McCay says:

    To smile at fear means we embrace the feeling with an open heart because it reveals to us a path we must take for happiness.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:26 am

  • Beth A.H. says:

    "To smile at fear" reminds me of Rumi's uninvited guest; to open to whatever comes into our house. To smile at fear is to recognize fear and realize it's an agent for polishing the mirror of our mind. To smile at fear means to see the fear and not let the storylines start flowing that get us in such a funk.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:27 am

  • Silvia V Chacon says:

    Smile at fear means first and foremost acknowledging the fear to know is there and feel it, name it, talk to it and then come to embrace it and talk to it just like we would talk to our enemy WITH COMPASSION.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:30 am

  • VL says:

    To smile at fear means, rather than reacting to situations, you invite whatever has stirred up your fear to be your teacher. You open up to learn something about yourself, learn another approach or perspective. You take it as an opportunity, and even see it as a gift.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:34 am

  • Samarpan says:

    To smile at fear means to be in complete relaxation, in a state of trusting surrender, aware and nonjudgmental, in love with existence.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:34 am

  • Nofar says:

    For me smiling at fear is a whole bunch of things.
    One time I remember literally smiling when the sensations of fear came up, it was interesting to watch what happened when there was a fresh way of responding.
    It feels also like curiosity is a smile, and perhaps not relating to it like it's so big and scary, it's workable, remembering and noticing how it really is fleeting and changing constantly.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:34 am

  • Carol Wolf says:

    Smiling at fear is to recognize it as a dear friend. It's a welcoming gesture for the inevitable and the start of profound acceptance.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:35 am

  • Michele Lazerow says:

    To smile at fear means that we welcome it as a powerful teacher. It means that we understand that fear, perhaps the most basic of all the emotions, and usually the least examined, comes as a gift. Fear brings with it a lesson, an opportunity to learn and by which to grow, if we only have the courage to look at it straight on.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:37 am

  • A. Brill says:

    lets our senses adjust to prodcution instead of running

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:37 am

  • Ingrid says:

    Appreciation
    Smile

    Appreciation
    Smile again

    Appreciation of what is

    Just smile
    and share

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:42 am

  • Judy W. says:

    To smile at fear means to have courage and hope in the midst of the unknown or chaos and to bravely press forward until you realize there is nothing to fear.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:42 am

  • Timothy Capehart says:

    Smiling at fear means that you realize that the emotion fear doesn't come from the barking dog or the noise of unknown origin in the dark, it arises from within your own mind. It gains strength from the stories you tell yourself when "something scary" threatens. Smiling at fear doesn't mean you abandon the need for self-preservation in the face of real danger, it means you catch yourself when the fear arises. In the moment you deal with any danger their might be. You recognize the fear, know it won't last forever; and you accept it no matter that it is uncomfortable. All easier said than done in the heat of the moment. But you can start as Pema once said quoting a friend, "By turning up the corners of your mouth."

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:44 am

  • Cara Marinucci says:

    Run is the first thought
    Fight is the second
    Somewhere in between
    a practiced mind opens
    to being with it all
    and smiles at fear

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:47 am

  • Leone H says:

    To recognize fear as a signal or alert to an existing opportunity to practice patience and to move forward inspite of the fear with an open heart and flexible mind.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:50 am

  • Ed Hardy says:

    To smile at fear is to relax with what is.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:52 am

  • csquared says:

    Fear is all-consuming. It takes one's entire organism hostage. Smiling at fear - if one can summon the energy and courage to do it - creates the chink in the armor of fear.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:54 am

  • Marylou H says:

    Smiling at fear is being kind to yourself and welcoming the opportunity for growth.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:55 am

  • S.Aziz says:

    I look in the mirror and smile at fear
    I see myself smiling back
    Fear is disolved

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:56 am

  • Lynda Schofield says:

    To smile at fear means to recognize it, accept the feeling and look at it honestly and with an open heart.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:02 am

  • Jim Winters says:

    Fear, my familiar friend. I know you well and you keep returning again and again to see me through. I always smile in the presence of friends.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:02 am

  • Jennie Sparkes says:

    To 'smile at fear' for me is to befriend with compassion another part of myself and accept my fears as part of the complex and ever unfolding (to me) dimensions of my emotional, physical, mental and spiritual dimensions.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:03 am

  • lee bufford says:

    I wrote and it was all erased. Brain Injury.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:03 am

  • Jenn Hwu says:

    Smiling at fear ... I think it means that one can acknowledge fears that we have and yet not judge ourselves for it ... instead we can smile at it because we know that we are being compassionate towards ourselves and can easily translate that compassion to others.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:03 am

  • Kunga Chölu says:

    It is our appreciation of the wisdom to be found in fear, our very human response to groundlessness.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:07 am

  • Tita Ang-angco says:

    Smiling at fear - that's just a few steps away from being truly free. But getting there is such a long journey.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:08 am

  • Jennifer Sonneborn says:

    Maybe smiling at fear can be another way to try to escape it. How can we smile at fear in a welcoming way? How can we really try to accept whatever is going on in the present moment?

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:09 am

  • Jennie Sparkes says:

    For me, to'smile at fear' means befriending, with compassion, another part of myself. In doing so I accept all the complexities, interconnectedness and impermanence of my emotional, physical, spiritual and mental states. It reminds me to be loving kindness to myself and others in those times (of fear) when it may feel difficult to be the compassion and forgivenes necessary to be loving kindness.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:09 am

  • Ann Baugh says:

    Smiling at fear to means an innner connection, awareness and comfort with the fear which could enable me to continue with whatever process brought on the fear.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:14 am

  • Anita Sanders says:

    When I smile at a child, a friend or my husband, with an open warm smile, I tell them they are welcome, in whatever mood they are, who-ever they are. In that smile-moment, I create an open space within me, to see them in an unconditional way, and they are fully welcome in his space. In this space, things can develop,change. The same for smiling at fear. In this open, space, fear can develop and change, in a warm welcoming athmosphere.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:17 am

  • pema p says:

    smiling at fear means to smile at the part of yourself that has arisen to be healed. smiling is to acknowledge mind consciousness

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:18 am

  • Lolli Levine says:

    Smiling at Fear: hmmm..
    after going through all the shenpas, looking at them and noticing that the body is all contracted and when I inquire what this is, sorting through the shenpas, the process itself make me smile as I'm able to see through the whole drama I just came through.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:19 am

  • Cecily Crebbs says:

    Smile at fear , laugh with life, touch the rainbow of your dreams

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:20 am

  • Kimbra says:

    To "smile at fear" for me means that I proceed no matter how fearful I am. I feel the fear all over in my body and I want to 'back away, hide, disappear' but then I see I 'am still here' and I'm going to have to proceed. So I continue to show my face and plant my feet right where I'm standing and 'feel' myself simply 'right here'. What happens next? The next moment is always yet to be determined, but rather than running and hiding simply showing my face and 'staying' helps me to smile at fear. And when the fear is gone, I AM still here.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:20 am

  • Maggie Shelton says:

    To smile at fear means to find the learning edge in the frightening situation. It means to find the gift in the thing which is feared.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:21 am

  • Claudia McCabe says:

    Smiling at fear means keeping it out of the fascia of my muscles!

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:21 am

  • leela says:

    The old adage "The only thing to fear is fear itself"
    points to the wisdom of smiling at fear.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:24 am

  • Renee Flower says:

    Fear is something inside of us, a kind of weakness or lack of confidence in our abilities or capacities, that prevents us from being fully ourselves. Smiling displays strength and that gentle expression is actually more powerful than the inherent weakness of fear. Fear, which expresses a constrained and limited self, shrinks back in the face of the limitless acceptance of a smile. Smiling at fear accepts the constraints of fear as being only a small detail of expansiveness...smiles melt boundaries.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:27 am

  • marcella teran says:

    Smiling at Fear to me, means not moving away from it, but moving towards without me resisting.

    Thank you,
    Marcella

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:28 am

  • Diane Magical says:

    Smiling at fear
    Honoring Truth
    Smile at yourself

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:29 am

  • Melanie Trost says:

    To smile at fear is to invite in an ancient companion, sit with her, experience her reverberations through my being, listen, learn -- to embrace without surrender.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:33 am

  • michael vera says:

    I am still learning to smile at fear. My path has lead me to Buddhism to learn more ways to conquer fear. I suffer from panic attacks and myst yudirs and medirations have helped a lot.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:35 am

  • Marilyn says:

    I would hold my baby, Fear, in my arms, smile at her, ask what is troubling her and listen for her answer.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:35 am

  • Zuleyha says:

    I think smiling at fear is giving yourself the opportunity to look at wat has seized you and embracing it with kindness

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:36 am

  • Dan Litrownik says:

    To smile at fear is to smile at the deepest sense of who we really are

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:38 am

  • Christy Deans says:

    Smiling at Fear is having the courage to experience it, in the moment; and to give it the space and respect it needs to unfold and teach me about a deeper level of myself and the world.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:38 am

  • Owen Sayre says:

    To Smile at Fear is to embrace it.
    Smiling at fear is to touch it and admit, ‘I am feeling fear’.
    Smiling at fear is to climb inside its uncomfortable sheath.

    Smiling at fear it to not allow the iron plates of armor to be donned on the heart.
    Smiling at fear is to allow entry the kind word through the iron plates.
    Smiling at fear is to be willing, nonetheless.

    Smiling at fear is to appreciate the delicate moss that has grown on your back.
    Smiling at fear is to still comb your hair for yet another day.
    Smiling at fear is to open the door.

    Smiling at fear is to ride the unexpected wave.
    Smiling at fear is allowing you might not return home.
    Smiling at fear is to say ‘O.K.’ to pain.

    Smiling at fear is leaping the chasm.
    Smiling at fear is laughing, seeing you will not make it.
    Smiling at fear is making friends with depths unknown.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:38 am

  • Vardan Lydon-Lyon says:

    When fear has been invited...fully, completely, with no resistance, and found to be no other than life energy itself, this is good news. Smiling arises! Perhaps a good laugh. When all energy is known as self, what is fear in the face of this? Fear becomes the ally, the zizzle, the boot in the arse, the very stuff of awakening. Welcome fear!

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:46 am

  • Wendy Resnick says:

    Smiling at Fear is Trusting in G-d

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:47 am

  • Charlene Straub says:

    What do you think it means to smile at fear?

    The smile means, "Welcome fear, I can face you head on
    with wisdom and love."

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:51 am

  • sherry says:

    To smile at fear is to recognize its impermanence and lack of intrinsic existence.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:55 am

  • Kathleen says:

    to smile at my fear means seeing it, accepting it and then being open to something else taking its place

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:57 am

  • Jules Aldwell says:

    Fear, as well as all negative emotions, arises and asks for attention. Why not smile?

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:59 am

  • Leafy says:

    i think it means to not buy into the fear. be aware of the fear but not participate in it.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:01 am

  • Chris Tschinkel says:

    ...smile at fear, because it is our chance to see whether we are mindful, and also place to become more mindful and less the victim of fear and more in control of our lives.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:01 am

  • SunSeeker says:

    I used to resent my fear until I learned how great a teacher it is. Now I send it love and gratitude--which is every bit as healing as is smiling at it.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:05 am

  • Marianne Rossi says:

    Smiling at fear is to embrace the fear, as one would an old friend, rather than turning away from it.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:05 am

  • Bradford Castalia says:

    Smiling at fear is knowing that it is empty.

    "It's not what you Think."

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:10 am

  • Rae Skinner says:

    Smiling at fear means recognizing fear as a signal of opportunity.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:12 am

  • Roberta says:

    Knowing that fear brings awakening to compassion eventually.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:14 am

  • Roberta Pearle Lamb says:

    Smiling at fear is knowing that compassion is at the root of all emotion.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:15 am

  • Cynthia says:

    Smiling at fear would be welcoming the opportunity to challenge yourself

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:18 am

  • Laura Sire says:

    I want to learn about what this means, but I think to smile at fear means to feel that knot or surge or tightness, that discomfort. Then acknowledge and be with it and smile at it as a guest who comes to visit and then leaves.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:18 am

  • Travis Smith says:

    Smiling at fear is a wisdom that, I can only guess, comes with knowing that there is certainty in uncertainty, and that one can either move through or move on to another lifetime, and that either is perfectly fine.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:19 am

  • Cynthia Shumway says:

    Smiling at fear bridges the true nature of fear as interdependently originated
    to compassion for the suffering of all of us who fear.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:22 am

  • Mike Doyle says:

    Turn arrows into flowers

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:23 am

  • Joan Freedman says:

    As a very young child,I was greatly influenced by my Aunt, a well respected Christian Science Practitioner, that "The only thing to fear is fear itself." On my own journey I have found it instructive to embrace fear as a friend rather than allowing it to torment me. So, to smile at fear is to acknowledge it and let it be rather than choosing to have it overtake me. Welcoming fear with a smile is such a healthy image.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:23 am

  • John Zak says:

    Embrace your fears and make friends with them, as they have much to teach you.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:25 am

  • Ellis Widner says:

    Smiling at fear means we know fear is just another phenomenon arising from our own confusion; we know this because we take refuge in the ultimate truth of our own Buddha nature.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:25 am

  • Elaine C Logan says:

    When I smile at fear, I prevail, I live my life. I don't flinch away, and I step into the unknown. When I do that, I am part of life. I can share joy in small ways and swim in this lovely ocean.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:26 am

  • Rosalia Milone says:

    Smiling at my fears means to graciously acknowledge them, and carry on in my life with them.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:28 am

  • Dawn LaBorde says:

    Fear from illusion in mind
    Smiling from truth in one's heart

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:28 am

  • Janelle Caywood says:

    When approached by a gnarling monster, run toward it with jubilance. Fling your arms around its neck in embrace, and feel it transform in your arms and heart,into the gentlest of teachers.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:34 am

  • Brian Stafford says:

    I smile at all emotions that arise. Bring them on, teach me what they can, teach me their limitations.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:37 am

  • Laurie Peck says:

    In my life I have experienced abandonment, adoption, travel, discovery, alcoholic husband, spewing children, many young friends dying, bankruptcy and joy. Through it I gave all I had and most importantly I learned: to receive with grace, to stop doing and be grateful for the moment I was in … you see those moments are all we have. I have come to understand that every road has a steep slope. The road runs both up and down hills and on each hill is a runaway lane of bravery deep within my soul to draw on. All I have to do is pause - just for a moment, listen , breathe, absorb and step forward once more. When I smile at fear it evaporates.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:40 am

  • Sukie Fee says:

    To smile at fear means to have finally come home to your true essence of being.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:40 am

  • jeff munoz (krishna ram) says:

    when i embrace fear - apprehension of the unreal - it dissolves into its own true nature; emptiness - i smile!

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:41 am

  • Theresa Kellam says:

    Smiling at fear is a leap of faith--letting go of the way you wish things could be and being amused by the realization that you even entertained the idea that if everything would work out the way you wanted, your life would be the way it is supposed to be.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:43 am

  • Kelly says:

    To smile at fear means to close your eyes, breathe it in deeply, and realize it is an invisible wall that you yourself have built and that you yourself can walk right on through.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:45 am

  • Donna Obermiller says:

    Gentle Eyes
    Smile at Fear
    forgive your self for being human.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:49 am

  • Ann DeVries says:

    To smile at fear means that you shakingly dare look and see even your most dreaded situation/emotion in the eye and meet it with gentleness and intelligence.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:49 am

  • Nancy Anderson says:

    Smiling relieves tension and stress. It brings a lightness to the heart. It brings a calmness to emotions. There is hopefulness that there is the possibility of getting through a fearful situation.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:53 am

  • Joy M. White says:

    To smile at fear is to have the inner strength and courage to face all that life has for us with grace and love in our hearts.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:58 am

  • Juliana Joie says:

    I love to see if fear wants to shift to curiosity and together we can have a new experience.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:59 am

  • SF Mom says:

    When I was a kid and would have bad dreams, I'd snuggle into my blankets and tell the "demons/bad guys/big animals" to just come and get me. After a few moments of being deathly afraid, I'd realize that I was still safe snuggled under the covers. As an adult, I look at what I'm afraid of (when I figure out that fear is the culprit!) and look at the worse-case scenario. After careful analysis, I realize that the fear can be picked apart and baby steps can be made to neutralize those fears. Easy-peasy. Yea right!

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 11:03 am

  • Peter Donohoe says:

    To smile at fear means to embrace our human tendencies with loving kindness so that we may access ever-higher states of being

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 11:03 am

  • Sophia Segal says:

    Recognizing when fear arises, recognizing it has been an old way of navigation, learn to make friends with the thoughts of fear, not abolish or smother but to recognize and transform them, a smile is saying, "Hello my old driven friend", I know you well but now let's perceive and walk through this world without you being at the driving seat my actions and my thoughts. Let's feel what it's like not to fear, together and start from there.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 11:12 am

  • Anna Marie Franco says:

    Face our fears with a sense of optimism and hope. Fears can be a source of deep healing and transformative learning.

    So happy that Pema is coming to our beautiful area....

    Blessings,

    Anna Marie

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 11:13 am

  • Elizabeth says:

    When I embrace fear is to fill it in its totality. Heartbean quickly, hands sweating, wanting to run away or to stay like a rock not moving and the head is like no head there, no connection, but if I observed it, fill it, just that, with no judgment, I recognize it and I say to myself: that is Fear....HI!!!HELLO!!

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 11:13 am

  • ilona martin says:

    Smiling on the inside as fear aproaches is a sign of awakening for me. Feeling the pain again, but not let it take over. Getting ready for the next adventure.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 11:16 am

  • MR Staton says:

    To smile at fear is to take it by the hand like a dear friend.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 11:16 am

  • Josipa Bicanic says:

    Smiling at fear is when that gut wrenching feeling arises, you stop and look at the sky. If it and it's beauty are still there then you know that the universe is in order and everything will be OK. :)

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 11:22 am

  • Dee A Marfe' says:

    Smiling at Fear;
    Being Still..
    Opening my heart
    I take a deep breath then smile...
    Listening to the silence now,
    I know that my fear will teach me.
    Surrending...
    Fear will lead me home again.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 11:24 am

  • Katharine Reiner says:

    To smile at fear is to take fear into your heart and to understand that it is a feeling, just a feeling, like anything else, and it is all energy. Fear is a friend and a guide, just as happiness is.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 11:26 am

  • Elaine Bailey says:

    Smiling at something shows joy, acceptance, pleasure. To smile at fear is an acceptance of all that it brings. The body sensations, the mental turmoil, confusion. The smile opens the door of another possibility. right then, right now.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 11:32 am

  • Houston Markley says:

    Smiling at fear is looking at it, listening to it, embracing it, taking a deep sigh and then finally smiling at it.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 11:33 am

  • Sarah says:

    Show up with presence. Show up, bring presents!

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 11:33 am

  • Patrick Gardner says:

    To me, "smiling at fear" means to step into the unknown mind, body and heart with ubandant expectancy.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 11:36 am

  • Leslie Doukas says:

    Smiling at fear means embracing fear, wallowing in fear, living fear, loving fear so much that eventually it ceases to scare you. You become fearless, immune to fear, open to everything that comes without judgment, able to respond from the heart in any situation.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 11:37 am

  • Tania says:

    Smiling at fear means I have recognized a little bit more of who I really am.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 11:38 am

  • sean says:

    being intimate with fear and discover what is really behind it.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 11:40 am

  • Saunda Thomas says:

    "Smiling at Fear" has me visualize sitting comfortably in myself.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 11:41 am

  • Arlin says:

    recogizing that you are fear and fear is you. both are empty.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 11:46 am

  • Warren Hirt says:

    Fear, like saddness, joy, anger and other feelings afords one the opportunity to ask" Who is it that is afraid?" Fear can be used to reveal your true nature. Use it. How does fear manifest in the body. Where is it concentrated. When you learn from fear, you can smile in gratitude

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 11:50 am

  • Campbell says:

    I wish I knew how to smile at my fears! Sometimes I get discouraged that at my age my fears are still so alive and well. But I trust there is a way to see them as they really are. I'm just not there yet.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 11:51 am

  • tahiya says:

    when fear shows up, see it as one more opportunity to be present and do away with one more karmic arising. if you watch it then it is not you. If you let it pass through, it becomes freedom from fear. watch the show, see it for what it is.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 11:52 am

  • Donna Blakeman Welch says:

    "Smiling at fear" is a wake up reminder to check into the deepest intention of our hearts while on the breath.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 11:53 am

  • Gloria says:

    Smile at the opportunities;
    to experience life more fully,
    learn more about myself,
    learn more about the workings of my mind,
    to be brave (to be "brave" without fear is foolhardy).

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 12:01 pm

  • Jennifer says:

    Smiling at fear means to accept it and honor it as an opportunity to be more courageous and to welcome it as a old friend bearing a previously disowned or unacknowledged gift. Greet your world with a smile, and your world smiles back.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 12:01 pm

  • judy cooper says:

    To me, smiling at fear is a deliberate act of accepting what is and what is next. My breath tells all is still OK.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 12:04 pm

  • Nyssa Brown says:

    Smiling at fear means knowing that fear is part of being human - and trusting that we are safe, regardless of what emotions pass through our awareness and our bodies.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 12:05 pm

  • SHARON SHAPIRO says:

    fACE THE fEAR AND FIND OUT WHERE IT IS HIDING.THEN ACCEPT IT JUST LIKE A CHILD,UNTIL IT DISSAPATES GENTLY LIKE A CLOUD OR LIKE THE RAIN....

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 12:06 pm

  • Terre Mingus says:

    "Smiling at fear" provides me with the opportunity to identify another illusion within myself about the world around me and my interaction with it. I can either growl at the opportunity, or smile at it, which calms me down, and enables me to focus on how to deal with whatever is frightening me.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 12:06 pm

  • Bridget says:

    To Smile At Fear means to be willing to sit on the edge of life and welcome the teacher of the present moment...to know that fear becomes an invitation when we drop the story line and let the next moment unfold

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 12:07 pm

  • Nyssa Brown says:

    Smiling at fear means recognizing that fear is simply part of the human experience - and remembering that we are safe regardless of what passes through our awareness and body.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 12:08 pm

  • Steven says:

    Smiling at fear means to fully accept this present moment.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 12:10 pm

  • Linda Andrews says:

    Smiling at fear is admitting the fear and doing it anyway.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 12:10 pm

  • Donna Poole says:

    Having the courage to know that it is fear at all.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 12:12 pm

  • Steve Mendoza says:

    Smiling at fear means facing fear with an open heart, changing the way I face fear, unlearning old patterns of dealing with fear, transforming fear and to keep on smiling, keep on being open!

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 12:15 pm

  • Dominic Valentino says:

    To me, "smiling at fear" is to have compassion for the fear inside of you. To smile at it as you would smile at the unfounded fears of a small child.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 12:18 pm

  • Judith says:

    Smiling at fear means knowing that fear is our intimate teacher.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 12:19 pm

  • cathy steil says:

    I've been reading your books for 7 years, right before I was diagnosed with cancer..I am again in treatment, western, but I don't have the grasp on the fullness of healing by walking through the fear. I put a retreat on my want list, in Nova Scotia, but I can fund the Bay Area, as I reside n Ca. As I wish and bless those who attend this retreat, I would be honored to attend, to learn, to grow through fears that have been with me for quite some time....but to be in the presence of others like me, working on the same goals, will provide me with the human nature of quiet community, and wellness...very sincerely, Cathy Steil

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 12:31 pm

  • Bobbi Selig says:

    Open wonder
    Looking upward
    Being curious
    Without judgement of self
    Saying yes to receiving the lessons.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 12:36 pm

  • Marci says:

    Feel the fear and breathe with it anyway.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 12:41 pm

  • Carol Palmer says:

    Smiling at fear means that at each moment, we have the
    opportunity to awaken.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 12:45 pm

  • Jessica Devlahovich says:

    To smile at fear means to look at what scares you with gentleness. Catch yourself in even the deepest fears & begin to "turn up the corners of your mouth" to grown a inner smile. Melt your fear by going deeper into it & exploring it. With practice, allowing the fear to become a friend & teacher, bringing us away from the stickiness of 'shenpa', the story line of how we come to be with our fear.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 12:47 pm

  • Jessica Devlahovich says:

    To smile at fear means to look at what scares you with gentleness. Catch yourself in even the deepest fears & begin to "turn up the corners of your mouth" to grown a inner smile. Melt your fear by going deeper into it & exploring it. With practice, allowing the fear to become a friend & teacher, bringing us away from the stickiness of 'shenpa', & the story line of how we come to be with our fear.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 12:48 pm

  • White says:

    'Smile at Fear’ teaches the reader to triumph above fear by self acceptance and understanding. To be present with the emotions--yet not falling for the trickery of the mind.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 12:57 pm

  • Regina says:

    To me smiling at fear means accepting whatever is and removing the "power" of fear.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 1:01 pm

  • Thomas Stone says:

    What do I think it means to smile at fear?
    We smile at fear (and at all the rest of life) in order to greet everything in life as a friend. As long as everything is a friend, there is no fear. If fear is felt, greet it as an old friend, with a smile.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 1:04 pm

  • Robin Correll says:

    to realize that fear itself is not solid. To have the courage to face fear, hold your seat, look at it directly, no storyline. notice that underneath it is some sort of cracking open of your tender heart. Ah, yes, here comes that fear again.. excellent.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 1:04 pm

  • Urmila Schmit-Cohen says:

    To smile at fear means to know it is there, without denying it's existence or defending against it. Because fear is the primary defense and primary feeling of separateness that every being has, to smile at it means to see it and to understand what it is. To smile at fear changes what we communicate to our fear. To smile at fear is to be friendly towards the pairs of opposites, as each experience in life comes with it's opposite. It means to initiate friendship and healing of the separation that fear creates between "us and them" "us as individual and us as the collective" as "us as ego and us as consciousness", "us as finite and us as infinite"

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 1:04 pm

  • Jackie Portman says:

    To smile at fear is to say hello to an old friend who comes and goes. Sometimes fear tells us something useful, but more often fear likes to mess with our heads. Either way fear shows up from time to time and always has something to teach. All true teachers deserve a smile.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 1:11 pm

  • Heather says:

    For myself, it is allow the fear to wash over me, and becoming aware it as a feeling that will melt away as all feelings do, and response, or non-response will then become clear.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 1:11 pm

  • Sabrina Chase says:

    For me, smiling at fear means recognizing an old friend in the form of a pattern that I've experienced again and again. It means recognizing the old familiar feeling of rising panic or sudden anxiety and stopping for a moment to laugh at myself---"Look! Here I am again, in the same place, doing exactly the same thing!" But by recognizing the pattern, I can stop taking myself so seriously and laugh at myself a little bit, easing the tension inside. I'll probably go right back to feeling the fear, but at least for a moment, I've been able to laugh at myself with a little bit of tenderness and compassion.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 1:12 pm

  • Andrew Hulse says:

    Use the razor knife of Ashe to cut fear, then open up and connect with other human beings and your creativity and expand your world. This is the expression, the smile, of fearlessness.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 1:14 pm

  • Viola Rodríguez says:

    Smile at fear, love fear, end fear.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 1:22 pm

  • Karen Muktayani Villanueva says:

    Smiling at fear means to be in relationship with it--not to push it away, slap at it, embrace it, nor roll around in it. To be in relationship with something, fear notwithstanding, means that the appropriate response or action (if any) arises in the moment.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 1:23 pm

  • Aurore Chabot says:

    Smiling at fear is to see Buddha nature through our human foibles and welcome being afraid with gentleness and love while cultivating awareness and clear view. Then fear can dissolve into the melting pot of thoughts and joy in life will arise, and we can discern what to do "on the spot" whenever need dawns. Every day we can sit with fear fearlessly, release it so we may join in active and connected life, and the smile of compassion will lift our life journeys.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 1:24 pm

  • Debbi Jones says:

    When you have made fear your friend, your smile will follow naturally.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 1:24 pm

  • marianne beck says:

    Open your heart and dive right in!!!

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 1:25 pm

  • Crystal says:

    The Buddha teaches us that to dwell in the 4 Brahmaviharas is to dwell in the divine abidings. To practice the 10 paramitas, likewise brings one great peace. The Bhagavad Gita says, "on this path, no effort is wasted, no gain is ever reversed; even a little of this practice will give you refuge from great sorrow."

    To smile of fear is to walk this path away from suffering to our true self, our true awakening. If we continue to walk, we can learn to smile at all the forms of mara that menace us from the shadows of the unawakened mind.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 1:28 pm

  • Karen Muktayani Villanueva says:

    Smiling at fear means to be in relationship with it--not to push it away, slap at it, embrace it, nor roll around in it.

    To be in relationship with something, fear notwithstanding, means that the appropriate response or action (if any) arises in the moment.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 1:30 pm

  • Maung Win says:

    Mindfulness with gainning happiness from sufferring.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 1:30 pm

  • WomanAnonymous7 says:

    Smiling at fear means turning toward rather than away from it - welcoming the opportunity to be with the unknown, to surrender, to be fully alive in the present moment, letting go of the moments before and the moments to come.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 1:34 pm

  • Gary Means says:

    Fear can be an ally because it accurately reveals the "what is" within us.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 1:37 pm

  • Adela says:

    Make a friend of fear and welcome the opportunity to expand your understanding with joy. REacting as a child would with natural curiosity and wonder.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 1:42 pm

  • Donald Malcolm says:

    From a larger view, we can begin to regard fear as a case, a profound case, of mistaken identity. We can begin to crack a smile when we discover what we thought were our demons were actually angels in disguise.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 1:42 pm

  • Rita Carbon says:

    Smile at fear when you see recognize it. It's your old friend and teacher whom you are happy to see.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 1:45 pm

  • Daphne says:

    To smile at fear is no being afraid, and not worrying.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 1:47 pm

  • Rita Carbon says:

    Smile at fear when you recognize it. It's your old friend and teacher whom you are always happy to see.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 1:48 pm

  • michelle o'connor says:

    smiling at fear is letting go of defense and opening up wide; it is not participating in the ways that lead us out of the present moment; it's taking us straight to the heart of the matter.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 1:49 pm

  • Darlene Sukup says:

    To smile at fear is to be grateful for the opportunity to work through something that stands in the way of harmony

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 1:50 pm

  • Colin Wolf says:

    Smiling at fear, like smiling at any other emotion, means welcoming the waves of emotion as a beautiful, deep aspect of what makes us human.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 1:53 pm

  • Gina Goble says:

    Fear is part of us. To smile at fear is to smile at the whole rich, complex, beautiful self.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 1:55 pm

  • ellen blake says:

    I notice when my thoughts are of love and compassion, a smile naturally occurs on my face and any fears I might have been having have suddenly gone

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 1:57 pm

  • Claudette Giguere says:

    Smiling at fear is to fully experience it and befriend it, and then releasing it with a smile while fully breathing.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 2:08 pm

  • Karen Maleck-Whiteley says:

    To smile at fear is to recognize yourself in it - to treat it as something with a soul and which may,itself, be afraid too. It is to be compassionate towards it.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 2:10 pm

  • Theresa Pawlowski says:

    To smile at fear is to sit with your feelings, acknowledge them to move through them, knowing you can be overcome with joy and feelings of peace rather than giving in to the negative emotions.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 2:11 pm

  • Carrie Carlevaro says:

    Smiling at fear is to acknowledge and embrace one of many emotions that create the human condition. When we know our fear, we can better accept it and smile, knowing that it doesn't have to dictate our behavior.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 2:12 pm

  • mikepapas says:

    Let fear smile at you.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 2:21 pm

  • Canyon Sam says:

    To smile at fear means to transcend ego and tap into deeper reservoirs of faith.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 2:24 pm

  • Carol says:

    Smiling at fear means actually recognizing it as a friend. If we recognize that fear is bringing messages that aren't always equal. These messages may be well intentioned but not always useful. So we recognize that fear is here, smile, welcome it, go deeper to explore and communicate with it and learn from it.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 2:34 pm

  • Jim Cuvelier says:

    To smile at fear means to look at it straight in the face and give it a big kiss!

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 2:36 pm

  • lee rentmeester says:

    To be grounded and eager to jump over that cliff.Hari Om.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 2:38 pm

  • MaryAnn McKenzie says:

    Fear is our friend. A survival mechanism. A time to look at what is happening in front of you. Whether or not you pursue any action depends on how strong you are. It is starring at our own mortality.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 2:42 pm

  • Diana Bowen says:

    After a lifetime of hard work noticing fear, practicing non-attachment but attaching to it anyway, then starting all over again, one day we feel the fear but don't claim it as us. Then we smile.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 2:44 pm

  • Stewart Lundy says:

    To smile at fear is to realize what is prior to fear: love. One cannot fear anything without first loving something. The sweetness of fear is the gravity of love.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 2:45 pm

  • Marianne Weitzel says:

    Smiling at Fear means to surpass the human response to the troubles in our lives and to see them in a new way...as a path to spiritual growth, as a life lived in harmony, as an opportunity to aid others through difficult times.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 2:47 pm

  • Susie Crate says:

    Wanting to enter the mystery of life with a curiosity for what lies beyond.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 3:05 pm

  • Pat Sorenson says:

    To accept every part of myself.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 3:09 pm

  • Michael McCollum says:

    Smiling at fear brings to mind the idea of complete acceptance of what is; remaining in the moment and acknowledging it for what it is even if it is something scary like anger or fear. We often turn fear into the bad guy and, doing so, we're off on the road to suffering shortly thereafter. By not judging a misunderstood emotion like fear and making the effort to greet it with a warm smile instead of trying to get rid of it, we accept ourselves and all that we are. From acceptance we may begin loving ourselves more completely and by developing more self-love we may begin to love one another unconditionally; for we are truly one people, one nation, one world. Namaste

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 3:14 pm

  • Pam says:

    Welcome it, accept it, explore it, see it as part of the path towards Enlightenment.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 3:15 pm

  • Verniece Elaine Hammond says:

    Smiling at fear means you welcome it as it is a part of yourself that you need get to know intimately. You need all your parts in order to become whole. Your fears are your guide to the parts you have hidden from yourself. They are your best friends.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 3:20 pm

  • Anita Fleice, R.Ac. says:

    Simply that whatever negative place you may find yourself in, if you make that sometimes small effort to smile at it ...at the fear, the anger, the disappointment, the "blues"...you've named it, greeted it and disarmed it...and usually turn it around. :)

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 3:24 pm

  • Lily Dale says:

    Smiling at fear brings me closer to my true self. By it I become friends with what was once my enemy. Peace is made. Serenity gained.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 3:26 pm

  • vicktoria jenkns says:

    Recognizing that a part of yourself has surfaced and needs some attention, and knowing that the challenge before you will bring you closer to pure Love for your self and others.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 3:26 pm

  • David says:

    I smile at my fear in the exact same manner that I smile at other emotions and feeling. They are a natural part of this thing I call "me" that I walk around in. As my teacher Thich Nhat Hanh would say, Hello, my old friend fear, I know that you are with me. I greet you. I embrace you. And, as I would say-- I smile to you.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 3:27 pm

  • Louise Rita Begin says:

    Smiling at fear

    How wonderful! Having held my own hand tightly to cross fires that didn't burn, to climb steep ladders w/out falling, to explore dark cellars w/out screaming like a banshee, despite all mental projections and imaginings, I'll have come to see fear as my apportioned mischief-maker, so afraid of being left behind, that he yells 'Wait for me!' as me and myself start to leave for wherever we've chosen to go. And so I will smile, in the knowledge that despite all the mischief he has 'sought' to trip me up with, fear is in need of me and I am free.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 3:32 pm

  • Joy Adams says:

    Laughing inside at my humanity and knee jerk resistance to change (once again). Welcoming the chance for growth and with that verification that we are not alone.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 3:36 pm

  • Andrea McIntyre says:

    feeling fear I breathe and recollect my basic goodness, and the basic goodness underlying that which I fear.What have I to lose when goodness itself is unsullied? Now I am open to wisdom and right action.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 3:42 pm

  • Sue says:

    Knowing that every moment leads to the next and there's no sense in resistance. Let time move forward.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 3:43 pm

  • Andrea McIntyre says:

    Feeling fear, I breathe. Recollecting the basic goodness of me, and that which I fear, what have I to loose when basic goodness remains unsullied? Now I am open to wisdom and right action.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 3:44 pm

  • ada chan says:

    hello old friend, may i have this dance?

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 3:45 pm

  • Liana Rivera says:

    Smiling at fear means trusting in your inner self, that everything that happens in your life has a higher purpose and a meaning. Every experience has a lesson in it for you and others, so we must embrace changes and new experiences.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 3:46 pm

  • Sandra McCann says:

    To me, smiling at fear means treating fear as an ally. By instantaneously receiving fear with spaciousness of mind, fear dissolves, unbinding its negative energy, thus strengthening rather than weakening us.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 3:48 pm

  • Debi Garrett says:

    To smile at fear, I feel would be like going a step beyond simply having FAITH, in whatever it is that you are trying to work through or achieve to get to the other side. The happy thought has already been put out there. Therefore, it would already be done. So why worry or be afraid?... Why not smile, at each step in life, already knowing its going to be ok!

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 3:52 pm

  • Katy Bayless says:

    To me it means that when I feel fear I try and smile. It is kind of like the song in Anna and the King of Siam. Whenever I feel afraid, I strike a careless pose, and whistle a happy tune and suddenly, the happiness in the tune convinces me that I'm not afraid.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 3:52 pm

  • Patty says:

    Smiling at fear = to be able to live fully.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 3:57 pm

  • Anthony Modica says:

    If one is fortunate to receive the instuctions, of meditating on the mind directly and cultivates these instructions. Then depending on the individual, one can come to recognize that fear, can be self liberated. And as one sustaines his or her mindfulness on the cushion and off the cushion, then, one can come to realize that the fear can not harm you anymore. And,depending on this,your confidence,(self awareness)will incease in this wisdom. At that point the similing, can naturally well up within you. As you come to recognize the minds innate nature.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:04 pm

  • G. Duda says:

    Smiling at fear is like looking over at your little cousin, who is just 6 years old and is having a little terror attack over something, that you can see, for you have the advantage of experience and you KNOW that what he is afraid truly won't hurt him but he believes it and that's what makes it real to him, and brings a compassionate, knowing little smile to one's face. We then reach over and just hold him, telling him it's going to be okay, hush, hush, it's alright, you're safe.

    To me, smiling at fear is like that. Once we stop, and just watch ourselves as we are reacting to some situation, internal or external that we are experiencing, we realize, it's just like anything else - like a wisp of cloud about to vanish, a shadow in the fading light, a sound carried away by the wind. We realize this and, we smile.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:05 pm

  • Susan Loyd says:

    Fear is the illusion. To smile is to see the truth, LOVE. Compassion is the bridge.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:12 pm

  • .Karen Leeds says:

    Smiling at fear is using it's relentles "tug" as a reminder to turn towards it instead of away from what ever story is on it's other end. It is recognizing fears wisdom, embracing reality instead of running from it, being courageous enough to open and trust what is. The fear becomes a friend, pointing a finger in the direction of peace if one is willing to meet it with tenderness.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:34 pm

  • ANNIE DEHGAN says:

    True Heart's Bravery
    Smiling at the Unknowns dark
    Bringing the light home

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:35 pm

  • mary thal says:

    To smile at fear means to me to be open to it, to embrace it, and to know that the lessons learned from it are for me. It is my growth and my path.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:45 pm

  • Bill Kretschmer says:

    i smile at fear because i know i'm complete

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:52 pm

  • mike says:

    When you see fear as a friend, you smile!

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:58 pm

  • Nu says:

    Fear itself is part of our being. We cannot separate it. By doing so, we are creating an external entity that is foreign in which we are unable to be open and smile with love. We need to embrace fear as a force that gives us the opportunity to create and drives us to be better human beings. Smile at Fear is beauty itself.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:58 pm

  • Shawn Dunning says:

    Fear is that which we all experience in the dark night of
    our souls and which we need to embrace to move forward with lifel

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 4:59 pm

  • Janet Hermann-Meh says:

    To smile at fear is to arrive at a point of enlightenment that I can only imagine. Being so present that looking forward and looking back is not possible; thus, fear is not possible. I work towards this goal every day, and I'd like to thank Pema Chödrön for her wisdom, transmitted in books and audio. You have change my life. Namasté.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:06 pm

  • Kathy Urberg says:

    To welcome fear as a friend, as a teacher, takes courage. Opening to the fear means finding out some things about myself that I would much rather not acknowledge. Staying with the fear and the knowledge with compassion for myself can lead to a life of greater openness and less fear.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:07 pm

  • Shiva S says:

    Fear is some part of myself that remains separated from Love. Remaining in loving kindness, I invite that part in without conditions, only tenderly welcome it back home.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:31 pm

  • victoria says:

    If you can , smile now ... Embrace it, welcome it ,look it right in the eye... and smile , let happiness be your choice , Know in your heart the fear will evolve ,,change , morph in to being OK . Maybe not what you expected , It will change . You will find something better to replace fear .... Don't question or doubt this ...just smile show it you can smile at it ... be the happiness and love ... Send your love all over . feel love..and gratitude for this life now...

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:34 pm

  • Priscilla Sisson says:

    What it means to smile at fear...Sitting with a client whose child has just suicided and be able to help hold that pain with them as you smile and cry at the same time.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:51 pm

  • Kate Alen says:

    To smile at fear means to drop one's habitual resistance to this unpleasant emotion and thereby permit the true source of the discomfort to quietly emerge and be addressed more directly.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 5:57 pm

  • Ilana says:

    acceptance. having the grace to just - let it be.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:09 pm

  • Marilyn Owen says:

    To smile at fear is a recognition that you are fortuitously bumping up against a hidden wounded place in the self that could use some loving kindness: "Ah, there it is! I've been looking for that part of me for a long time!"

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:17 pm

  • Pramod Sarpotdar says:

    To smile at fear means to recognize it, and embrace it, walking toward and through the fear rather than running from it.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm

  • O'Neill Louchard says:

    I tremble and extend a hand and a smile to Fear, my Teacher.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:37 pm

  • Miguel Fairbanks says:

    I think it means that our innate, Divine self steps out of hiding & subjugates the primal urge for safety, which keeps us locked in terror. Thus, this fear, that ostensibly is designed to keep our physical being safe, is relegated to its’ proper place at the bottom rung of the ladder, while our Divinity smiles brightly from above, manifest in all its’ glory, impervious to the shenanigans of ego.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 6:39 pm

  • Susie Knoll says:

    Smiling at Fear
    is a soft kiss
    on the knot of anxiety
    in your stomach

    Smiling at Fear is
    welcoming
    that which we have gathered around us
    with compassion

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:11 pm

  • Isela Gonzalez says:

    Smiling at fear means being able to stop in that moment, breathe and have compassion for yourself.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:12 pm

  • Mary Rodriguez says:

    I feel the fear in my body, breath and am alert to whatever wisdom arises as I observe the manifestations of the fear. I'm so relieved that I'm capable of doing this instead of falling prey to it, that I smile and feel good, in spite of the present fear.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:12 pm

  • Nira L. Ray says:

    To me, “smiling at fear” is to have compassion for the fear inside of you. To smile at it as you would smile at the unfounded fears of a small child.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:13 pm

  • Cindy Wozniak says:

    This could not be more timely - just last week I had an unexpected episode of overwhelming fear and anxiety. The more I tried to ignore it the worse it got. It was only when I dared to looked into myself and framed it with a curosity instead of a detachment that I eventually came to a place of peace and understanding. Smiling at fear to me means making friends with fear - and what I learned was my fear stemmed from the grief and lonliness I was experiencing around the recent loss of my mother.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:16 pm

  • Loi Laing says:

    Fear is a teacher and in order to learn, you must welcome the lesson. Smiling at fear means I'm ready for what it has to teach.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:19 pm

  • jennaq says:

    To smile at fear would mean to me that I: Experience a vast spaciousness, have awareness of my sense of wonderment with the world, am able to love from a totally open heart, be curious and excited about what I am experiencing and have no resistance to what comes on my journey. Embracing from my inner self as well as releasing as the moment passes. I would be free.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:25 pm

  • renee harris says:

    To smile at fear is almost a laugh when one experiences fear. Ah, here you are again. You took me by surprise and I have known you before. You are still huge, dark and ugly except for when I step into you and allow myself to expand into what I fear.
    You are a disturber, a companion and a welcome protector.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:42 pm

  • Philip Sarsons says:

    To smile at fear to is bring ease into the places which are only suffering: to relax where pain and tension would otherwise wish to rule.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:50 pm

  • Edna Figueroa-Levy says:

    Simply, to let fear know that you are in charge.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:51 pm

  • Maryper Alfonso says:

    Smiling at fear means to me is to embrace everything that IS. Every emotion that arises from within serves us even the "not so good" ones we would love to resist. When we smile at fear, we are mindful of our intentions and so then our responses to the "situation" can be transformed. It serves us fully with heart that gives us courage to face another fear with a smile.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:52 pm

  • Gabrielle Blake says:

    To smile at fear is to actually live your life..to show up whatever may come. Come hell or high water, you are there to face yourself, your demons, your dark spots with eyes wide open, learning to love it all in unconditional regard. Because seeing your own fears and not running away screaming means you are that much closer to aiding others to do the same...we're all connected.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:57 pm

  • patti Bettasso says:

    No clue

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:00 pm

  • sonja johnson says:

    Fear is an old friend of mine. When fear comes, it is a part of me that has been gone for a very long time and I am being given a chance to recognize and accept it. So I smile and step forward to greet my friend and embrace them.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:05 pm

  • Joan Broughton says:

    A smile is an act of grace and acceptance, a welcome and an openness to the lesson that our fear has come to teach us, a confidence that there will be growth and perhaps, oh joyful outcome, enlightenment.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:11 pm

  • Tom Tower says:

    When death is the teacher,
    fear is merely a lesson.
    Welcome, old friend.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:19 pm

  • Christine Schoper says:

    Smiling at fear for me means recognizing it, being with the feelings fear brings up and the willingness just to sit with those feelings...

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:35 pm

  • Christine Schoper says:

    Smiling at fear for me means recognizing fear as fear and a willingness to sit with the often uncomfortable feelings that come up with fear.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:37 pm

  • lizzrd says:

    Not trying to get rid of it but absorbing it into my heart

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:40 pm

  • Helen Henry says:

    Smiling at fear is a way to make friends with the unknown.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 8:58 pm

  • Lynne says:

    To smile at fear entails feeling a gentling, a tender grin
    from knowing the open secret that learning and
    liberation are beyond the curtain of fear -if I move
    towards it rather than recoiling.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 9:55 pm

  • Travis May says:

    At seminary this summer Acharya Cashman made a comment, "why would we wash the dishes if we didn't already know we could get them clean?" We can smile at fear because we know from experience that we will come out fine on the other side. Also, knowing that the opposite of smiling at fear, being paralyzed and incapacitated by it, will get us nowhere, we can use gentleness and a smile as our best weapon to let go of the fear and the feeling of being threatened to move through and passed it.

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:08 pm

  • Marjan says:

    Smile at fear means smile at life! Cause life is full of fears but we shouldn't fear of our fears! We should jump into them. We should hug them and not run away from them.If we don't fear of our fears we enjoy the taste of the life !

    Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:51 pm

  • Joy says:

    To "Smile at Fear" is to relate to our inner state as the Buddha may smile at us: with open heart, gentleness and confident, earth-touching groundedness.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 12:39 am

  • mf says:

    smiling at fear is to act from your Source.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 12:45 am

  • Cindy Horyza says:

    What does it mean to smile at fear? It means to face your fears with your heart.
    Namaste
    Cindy

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 12:45 am

  • Alice Leitner says:

    Hiding under covers then peeking to see it's just a friend called "Fear" coming AT you with a smile.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 1:55 am

  • Martha Reeves says:

    Smiling at fear is like answering the door bell and inviting the guest in. The smile is the body/mind relaxing into acceptance despite the discomfort. The smile is a gesture of intention in something larger than our effort and therefore a place to relax and explore.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 2:23 am

  • Heidi says:

    To smile at fear is to Invite all experiences, for there is no hieirarchy outside the mind

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 2:50 am

  • brad k says:

    gently falling....

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 4:06 am

  • Jonie Adams says:

    To smile at fear means walking into all of the places that scare us without expectations of the outcome. In my practice, contemplation, and studies, it seems to be the attachment to our expectations and how everything measures up to those expectations that create the anxiety that is fear. To smile at fear is to face everything head on with curiosity of mind and spirit.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 4:22 am

  • Elaine Habeger says:

    To smile at fear...? I think I'm doing it right now by posting!

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 4:28 am

  • Pamela Atkins says:

    To smile at fear assumes first that we are able to notice it's presence; the ability to smile at fear starts first with the act of recognition...... it can take some practice to identify fear's varied presentations.... from the sharp gasp, that sudden inhale of breath, and the upwards flight of the diaphragm... to the long, subtle holding, the shallow breathing, the tightness that registers as near-invisible....

    First we must know and intercept our bodies' signals as to the presence of fear; then and only then do we have a choice..... the choice to greet fear and call it by name...... the choice to take a deep breath, to look fear in the eye, and to address it: "I see you, Fear! Here you are again! This time! In this disguise!" Only from that point can we perhaps offer it a smile, then turn and walk with it side by side, engaged in dialogue and conversation.... from this point only do we open the possibility of learning what our fear has to teach us.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 4:43 am

  • lynda rodriguez says:

    To smile at fear brings amusement that frees the heart to laugh and feel compassion

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 4:53 am

  • paula kelly says:

    To smile at fear is to look at your fear, breath it in and then let it go and smile at the experience. Thanks I am looking forward to that weekend because this is my first blog thanks

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 4:58 am

  • Cory Thurman says:

    To smile at fear is to let the fear inside of me be tickled, to see it, feel it, and to move toward it courageously one step at a time.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 5:06 am

  • Frances Schoenberger says:

    Smiling at fear is to open your heart again after it has been broken and risk to have it broken - again

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 5:18 am

  • Karuna Gerstein says:

    Smiling at fear means facing it with honesty, curiosity, and a willingness to be vulnerable and open to the lessons it offers.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 5:22 am

  • Terri Mongait says:

    Smiling at fear means to me to look fear in the face with a smile and say "hello fear, I love you. Let's explore this together." Joyfully submitted. :-)

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 5:45 am

  • Marcus says:

    To smile at it as you would welcome a friend, a complex friend who challenges one to face life on life's terms. To smile is to also soften one's response.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 5:47 am

  • Don Dunlap says:

    To smile at fear is to make friends with your fear. Show it kindness and learn to experience the fear as a stepping stone and not as a stumbling block.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 5:48 am

  • Stacey Wilkerson says:

    Smiling at fear to me means that when life situations do not go as I want I know I can pause, touch, relax into the moment and know that everything I will ever need was already there. A smile to me is an action of openness.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 5:52 am

  • Tanya McGill says:

    I humbly submit that “smiling at fear” means to register fear, taking it in for what it is, and like a lotus flower, go through it (not around it) and benefit from it, coming out even more beautiful than before on the other side. Thank you for accepting my submission!

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 5:55 am

  • Tara Anderson says:

    Smiling at fear means staying with it and being able to look at it directly. You can't smile at it if your back is turned, running away. Smiling is an acknowledgment of your own basic goodness, even in the presence of fear.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 5:57 am

  • Peter Olin says:

    Why smile at fear anymore than smiling at anything else?

    As the sensation of fear arises or has already arisen, just to find ones presence in that very moment, that spontaneously creates some space around the fear, so that a smile happens automatically.

    Just as the experience of rain can make you happy and not just complain about the weather, so can the experience of fear.

    [If I would have the luck to win, I would like to donate the ticket to a friend, who is a not so well off old student of Trungpa Rinpoche who is living in the states. I myself live in Sweden]

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 5:59 am

  • Alisa barry says:

    smile at fear is about surrendering to what is, with dignity and grace. no aversion, just showing up with what is, as it is.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 6:02 am

  • Ashley Wagner says:

    Smiling at fear....
    heaping burning coals of love to distinguish the pain often involved with fear. In turn, becoming friends and neutralizing the energy, while not letting it control your actions. Rising above, and honoring yourself instead of resorting to running away or avoidance. FEAR turns to LOVE.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 6:09 am

  • Sue Vess says:

    We smile at things we appreciate. Although most of my life I was afraid of being afraid, the result was a feeling of being constantly on guard and therefore withdrawn. As I have studied and practiced the Shambhala teachings, my relationship to fear has shifted. Fear is good news. It means I am on the edge of my comfort zone. To smile at fear is to move forward with confidence and delight.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 6:12 am

  • Devin says:

    To smile at fear means to trust in the Great Eastern Sun, even during times when we are not feeling particularly "enlightened."
    It means to lean into that which makes us uncomfortable and scared, instead of running from it. Which is an effort/intention that can help us grow as a person, and better relate to others. Facing a fear not only gives us an opportunity to overcome our fear of a subject (that big ugly freightening barking dog might actually be scared itself, and when you see its vulnerability, you come to see petting it might be the answer), but it also allows us to understand fear itself, and to even make friends with fear itself.
    Smiling at fear can also remind us that no matter how dark a situation seems, you can always "overcome" more with compassion in your heart and a sense of humor in the present moment can be a strong ally. :)

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 6:34 am

  • Thubten Longchen says:

    Fear contains a smile if we look into it without accepting or rejecting.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 6:45 am

  • Paul J says:

    Smiling At Fear means we open our hearts and minds, inviting fear to sit closely with us. To ask questions of it, to feel it in our bodies and begin to understand its origin so we may grow beyond it. Smiling at fear is a step toward moving through ego and towards enlightenment.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 6:48 am

  • Jeanne Cronin says:

    Smiling at my fear is greeting an old and trusted friend. We have been together going on 69 years now. In my smile I recognize a desire to tame my fear, to gentle it, to not push it away. I've learned that all things on the path are the path. Why part company now?

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 6:49 am

  • Laura Mae Noble says:

    Smiling at fear.It's offering acceptance and love to the parts in ourselves that are stuck, shrouded in ignorance. It's as though aspects of our lives are demanding our attention. Fear often comes out of ignorance, I think.. as though the fear is the active quality, or the animated version, of ignorance. The aversion to opening our eyes and accepting reality causes this fear to rise. The only antidote to fear is curiosity and then loving acceptance. That process, of addressing these neglected aspects of our experience, begins with a smile. A smile can be the first act of generosity that can open the gates, so that the love and awakening can flow into that dark place on its own. Like turning on a light to show a child that there's no monster in the closet, our smile, then our awareness and love, dispel the suffering (fear) that comes from the banished, unknown places in us that really need our acceptance.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 7:00 am

  • Gerald Bennett says:

    We smile at fear as an old friend whom we have gotten to know better over the years. We smile at fear because it is familiar. I smile at fear as I accept its guidance.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 7:02 am

  • Mitra says:

    Smiling at fear means moving through life with love and grace, especially in the face of difficult moments. It means living confidently and contently, and loving the chaos and pain that comes with fear.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 7:04 am

  • Anushka says:

    Being open to what scares you beyond your ideas of what it is. Meeting it for what it is right now.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 7:19 am

  • Tricia says:

    For me, it means accepting that one has fear, and when it arises allowing oneself to look at it instead of pushing it aside or pretending that it isn't there. It's the opportunity to allow our fear to stimulate our growth.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 7:28 am

  • Peggy Reynolds says:

    To smile at fear....keeping an open heart, again and again.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 7:29 am

  • Becky Flores says:

    Smiling at fear is to answer back with a powerful balance. To smile at fear is seeking a balance in the alternative. Matching the fear with it's opposite. Balance. Peace.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 7:45 am

  • Johnny C says:

    "Horror has a face. And you must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared."

    -- Marlon Brando as Colonel Kurtz, Apocalypse Now

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 7:56 am

  • Sharyn Fischer says:

    I've found that what triggers my greatest fear always turns out to be where my buried treasure lies. If I can only breathe, trust, and move towards the fearful, the treasure chest may open and reveal undreamed of gifts and opportunities.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 8:01 am

  • Melinda Shirey says:

    To smile at fear means to recognize that you are afraid, accept the fear, and remain engaged in your situation in spite of your feelings (rather than running away). By "smiling" at fear, you have the opportunity to make changes to the circumstances which triggered the fear in the first place, or at least to appreciate an alternate perspective.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 8:07 am

  • Amy says:

    When I smile at fear, I am welcoming it as a sacred visitor of life and being human and allowing it to move through me as all things are constantly moving in this universe. At some point it ceases to matter what flavor the emotion has--fear, sadness, grief, joy, as they all move through when I can just allow myself to be present with what is in any moment. And the smile is the way to enjoy the ride.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 8:28 am

  • Deborah Jones says:

    To smile at fear means that I am able to see if for what it is.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 8:35 am

  • Marc Otto says:

    Smiling at fear is a gentle reminder to embrace our current circumstances without bolting, struggling or collapsing.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 8:37 am

  • frances flores says:

    I smile at fear and i become liberated and i see me.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 8:39 am

  • Tammy Anderson says:

    Smiling at fear allows for us to see the humor in the situation, let it become you, yet not to take it to seriously.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 8:39 am

  • David Wagenfeld says:

    To smile at fear is to be present in the now.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 8:41 am

  • Syu Toku says:

    smiling @ fear is the flip side of standing on hopelessness; and standing on hopelessness is the end of self protection; and the end of self protection is the end of self.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 8:46 am

  • Beverly Morris says:

    To smile at fear means to take it's hand.invite it along for the ride. True courage is not being free of fear but having it and going ahead and doing that very thing. THAT is courage. So....you have to have fear to have courage!!! Walk on brave people!!!!!!

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 8:47 am

  • Rhonda says:

    We smile at fear when we ground ourselves in the present moment and recognize the temporary nature of all things, particularly our emotions. Truly... we have nothing to fear but fear itself.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 8:51 am

  • donna says:

    To smile at fear one must recognize it and realize that there is no place to run. It is there, it won't go away so perhaps the best thing to do is welcome it.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 8:53 am

  • jamie ross says:

    To smile at fear is to invite it in. Get to know it. Make friends with it and walk in freedom.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 8:55 am

  • shanti says:

    smiling at fear... let's see.... I can feel it inside... the fear... and yet recognize it as a concept. I imagine I can smile at the concept of fear while I am feeling he sensation rippling through my body... and then realize that the ripple is just that, a ripple... and I find myself feeling alive in the experience of the ripple.. and the fear, in that moment, truly becomes a distant concept. As I am aware that I am not the fear, I can smile once more....

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 8:59 am

  • Leela says:

    Through the Shambala teachings one can cultivate an attitude of mindfulness with respect to living in the present - enabling one to experience whatever is - with courage, an open heart, and balanced mind...tasting the strawberry

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 9:01 am

  • Deborah Knox says:

    Smiling at fear is a fantastic antidote, because when we are identified with fear, there is a great deal of self-contraction and sense of separation, and our attention can get quite fixated. Fear, by its nature, often does not want to be "knowm," yet by smiling at it, we approach it so very gently that it is less likely to "recoil" and reinforce itself, and this very act of relatedness and friendship begins to put an end to this perspective of separation.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 9:10 am

  • Dennis Carroll says:

    Bowing to my sisters ( monastics ) at a Vietnamese Buddhist Temple 43 years after I was wounded at Khe Sanh.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 9:10 am

  • Sheri Bagley says:

    To smile at fear is to welcome it; invite it in to have tea; sit with fear and listen to what it has to tell us. We can learn great things from really hearing what our fear is telling us, and when we do, the fear dissolves.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 9:31 am

  • robyn mckenzie says:

    smiling at fear means to set aside the sting behind my eyes, the sorrow of wondering where trust disappeared, acknowledge the fragility of who I am, accept my vulnerablity and yet move forward with baby steps couched in love as I venture forward holding hands with fear.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 9:33 am

  • Carol Hochberg says:

    Fear is an unexpected friend, finding you when you least expect it, greeting you with a face you don't recognize and with an expression you don't understand. Smile, and it will smile back at you.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 9:40 am

  • Mauna Lia says:

    In the past when fear showed up, the "spiritual warrior" in me would go beyond those limited fearful thoughts and come out the other side with excitement and wonder at how much I had learned. For the past 9 years I have been in caregiver mode with my mother and so many more fears have risen that I never knew existed. Being back with my family and living with sickness, old age and death has been the greatest challenge of my life. I can't say that I smile at my fears all the time but I am oh so grateful for Buddhas' Emptiness teachings!

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 9:58 am

  • Nan Thomas says:

    To smile at fear is to acknowledge that fear does not have power over you. In fact, fear can be our friend. Fear can teach us. To trust ourselves, to trust a higher power, to trust that fear can change into love if we let it.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 10:00 am

  • Sandy Bauska says:

    Fear is just another mind movement, just another item on the Abhidharma lists. It's not bigger than our Buddha Nature.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 10:04 am

  • Lance McGee says:

    To smile at fear is to :

    -force yourself to acknowledge one more facet of suffering
    -focus your attention on how you can diminish that suffering
    -find the path by which that fear leads you to enlightenment

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 10:08 am

  • Elijah Behar says:

    To smile at fear means to be unconditionally present with all states of mind. Bravery is not reacting to phenomena in a heavy handed way. Smiling at fear means holding our seat and with firmness and gentleness.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 10:20 am

  • Dawna Houston says:

    Through my awareness of fear, I've recognized my connection to other beings and felt deeply comforted that we are all experiencing these "unpleasant" emotions together. I am not alone. I can defintely find a smile in that! On a deeper level, the smile reaches into my heart - I can see how I have actually become a more compassionate human being because of the fear I have allowed myself to experience; I continue smiling because I chose not to run away! How difficult this used to be (still is hard sometimes), but to be a more compassionate, loving, connected person? Worth every scary moment! Thank you, Pema and CTR.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 10:22 am

  • maria alonso says:

    When we welcome a conversation with FEAR...when we WELCOME IT with a smile, as one would an old friend and say "what do you have to teach me today about myself", with PURE CURIOSITY...then and only then do we have a chance at living a life of PEACE and and IMPECCABILITY.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 10:29 am

  • Pat Posner says:

    Smiling at Fear reminds me most of my sister Diane, who, when diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer, did not crumble under the weight of the fear of sickness and dying, but went to work to fight the disease. With her great sense of humor and a strong conviction in her own personal belief system, she has survived with faith, loving kindness and wisdom in her heart. She is my hero and she best represents what it means to Smile at Fear.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 10:47 am

  • Joyce Steinke says:

    When you smile, deeply and wholeheartedly, there is little room for anything else...it brings you into the present moment where there is no fear.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 10:48 am

  • Sean Makowski says:

    Smiling at fear is yoga!

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 10:50 am

  • Tim Lytle says:

    To smile at fear is to maintain detachment and calm in the midst of turmoil.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 10:53 am

  • Penelope Moffet says:

    A dear friend once said to me that the opposite of love isn't hate, it's fear. Fear gives rise to hatred. To smile at fear is to bring love into fear's presence, as kindly as one can, with openness and a bit of mischief - to let oneself be infused with life.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 10:55 am

  • Celeste Budwit-Hunter says:

    Smiling at fear has to begin with relaxing the frown. We can notice the tension or anxiety about our current experience, and not add further tension or anxiety. Maybe take a breath, even. Smiling means that we dare to question the solidity of our stories. When we do that, we lighten up. Maybe we can even smile!

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 11:02 am

  • Kristen says:

    There cannot be light without darkness. Being aware of this duality, and its implications in our lives, gives us the courage to face our fears and gain strength and courage in the process.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 11:12 am

  • JE Atkins says:

    To smile at fear means to say yes to the ferocious vulnerability of being alive.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 11:22 am

  • Diana Lyerla says:

    It means saying:"BRING IT ON!!!" when life throws obstacles in your path.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 11:25 am

  • Jeremy Taylor says:

    To smile at fear is to know the illusion of emotion as distracting and temporal. And to gladden the mind/heart with a smile, gives rise to an outward reconnection, returning to harmony and balance.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 11:27 am

  • Adrienne says:

    Smiling at fear is staying with yourself, when your greatest instinct is to escape the uncomfortable surface anxiety that masks the deeper sensations of dying.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 11:32 am

  • georgia metz says:

    Smiling at fear?
    What did I do with it?
    My heart.
    The dead oak tree—
    that had no choice,
    continued to
    stand outside.
    Like some dumped deity—
    still, wanting to help somehow
    watched over us kids
    through the picture window
    of our family home.
    And thus spoke:
    Everything dies. It’s all a sham.
    Now you’re free—
    you can do whatever you want.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 11:35 am

  • Emily Aring says:

    I once wrote in a journal entry that "Fear is God Calling Your Name." What I meant was that resistance to fear (and sorrow and everything we can't stand) is like a doorway that, if we can only lean against it and breathe, will open into Everything. So the very resistance to What Is (=fear) is an invitation from Everything (=God) to re-enter that which we cannot conceive of because we're busy trying to be safe behind our closed doors. This is what Smiling At Fear means to me!

    Thank you for the possibility of my coming to see one of my heroes!!!

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 11:39 am

  • HC Bailey says:

    Smiling at fear is difficult, but becomes easier when you remember that all fear serves the purpose of attempting to protect you.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 11:41 am

  • Jamuna Llewellyn says:

    To smile at fear is to accept what is within oneself and allow it to be, while knowing it is all changing any way, within and with out oneself. fear is a great teacher for being present and waking up. To smile is to say thak you. Peace, Jamuna

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 11:56 am

  • jeffliveshere says:

    Smiling at fear helps us to remember that we can touch bodhicitta through joy, pain, loss, laughter, fear, whatever we may be feeling. It can be difficult to remember this in the face of fear, and smiling can help us stay mindful that even fear offers a path to bodhicitta.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 12:00 pm

  • Stan Friedland says:

    To me smiling at fear means to face the everyday difficulties in our life with love, courage, and determination!

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 12:05 pm

  • Rebecca Turnbull says:

    Fear is a friend, because it is a teacher and a wounded visitor to our hearts. It is up to us to make peace with that visitor and learn the lessons it is there to teach us.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 12:08 pm

  • Teresa Joy Kramer says:

    Fear feels like the ground being pulled out from beneath you, like when your job is "reduced" as mine was this spring. The grace of fear is going into it, letting it guide you toward healing, and standing up more free than ever.
    Thank you for asking for people's comments.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 12:11 pm

  • Meghan says:

    To feel the fear and move forward anyway. To accept that fear is natural and to not let it deter you.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 12:21 pm

  • Nancy Greenwood says:

    When I smile at fear, I open my heart and embrace fear enveloping it in love and compassion.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 12:37 pm

  • Lynn Cornish says:

    I have come to see that all fear is based on the survival instinct...fear of death. Once we accept that we are all going to die....fear loses its punch and we can become friends with it.

    All negative feelings are just labels we assign to internal energy. It's really no big deal.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 12:48 pm

  • Lauren Clark says:

    Smiling at fear is the first step to understanding

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 12:49 pm

  • Christine Welter says:

    Smiling at fear means that my trust is greater than fear. Instead of running away from fear, I will say "hi", "hello dear old friend", and then we walk together for a while, then we part again... and another visitor might show up to join me...

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 12:53 pm

  • Sina says:

    My high school Humanities teacher had this on her wall, and 27 years later, I have always tried to remembered to live up to this in times of struggle: "But the bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike and notwithstanging, go out to meet it." - Thucydidies, 450 BCE. To me it means an attempt at working with your fears, not against them. (Not that I'm particularly good at it, but we're working on it! :) )

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 1:04 pm

  • Patricia Worth says:

    Our smile is greeting an old friend that has shown up again. Knowing that each time that fear shows its face that you have become more embracing.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 1:09 pm

  • indira says:

    When you smile, your muscles relax, and your heart gets calmer. To face fear with less agitation helps body and mind. Of course, when animals and crocodiles smile, they demonstrate teeth and strength.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 1:18 pm

  • Brian says:

    To smile at fear: you must see it, accept it, then befriend it and encourage it to sit and relax with you as you forward to the next moment.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 1:25 pm

  • Tom Kolouch says:

    Focus on breathing. Smile. Leave the fear behind!

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 1:44 pm

  • Aviva says:

    I may be terrified, but I recognize the terror and smile at the sweetness of my humanity and vulnerability.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 1:47 pm

  • Matthew Blue says:

    It is to open your heart to the fear, to offer to befriend it; the fear is trying to scare you away as it is more afraid of your compassion that you are afraid of it.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 1:51 pm

  • Kay says:

    To smile at fear means a life of miracles

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 2:10 pm

  • Laura says:

    Smile, embrace and disarm.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 2:14 pm

  • Karen Smith says:

    You smile at fear and say hello, pull up a chair and have some oatmeal with me. You are an ornament of the dharmakaya my friend and we have known each other so long...

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 2:41 pm

  • Perry Cook says:

    Remember emptiness cannot harm emptiness. Be a Bodhisattva Warrior.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 2:46 pm

  • Stephanie says:

    It means staying with the feeling, accepting it just as it is - a feeling, but you have it, and it is there. If you smile at it, it eventually loses some of it's terrible potency. I continues to lose more and more power over you as you continue to stay with it and "smile" at it.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 2:48 pm

  • pd lyons says:

    we do not smile at fear, but rather at the place where fear yoused to be

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 2:54 pm

  • craig says:

    it is an invitation to open to a big surprise.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 3:00 pm

  • Liz Kelleher says:

    To smile at fear is to welcome everything in the field of my experience with awareness - wide awake - to cultivate awareness without indulgding in the addictive reponse to run and hide in a distraction or to induldge neurosis and be carried away by the fear. But, just to sit and watch and be present with what is happening.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 3:48 pm

  • Laura Gonzalez says:

    Smiling at fear is becoming your own friend and protector. Without fear we cannot be courageous, bravery's first step is recognizing one's fears, appreciating the role it tries to play in one's life and then moving beyond it..

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 3:51 pm

  • Jackie Roliardi says:

    Make friends with it. In truth there is nothing to fear. We can begin to become conscious that the underlying route of all emotion is either love or fear. When anything other than love, arises in you, lean into it and know that there is something there for you.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 4:11 pm

  • Eric K. says:

    Smiling at fear means pushing past our resistance, no matter how slight, to better serve others and ourselves.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 4:11 pm

  • Jen Matson says:

    To smile at fear is to recognize that on the other side of fear there is love, learning, and an acceptance of impermanence.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 4:13 pm

  • Jonathan Shailor says:

    Smiling at fear consists of remaining open, gentle, inquisitive and compassionate at our most difficult, turbulent, and painful moments.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 4:26 pm

  • Christine Dzialo says:

    To smile at fear is to look into the belly of the beast, the raw, fleshy part- the heart of the matter and to dance with the present moment and have an authentic experience with life. Instead of running, hiding, tensing, exhausting, resting, or laughing- you are able to stay present with the cause of fear and stare it down. Only with looking honestly and with a pure mind can you start to work with the cause of the fear and make real changes in your life.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 5:37 pm

  • Susan Rush says:

    Feel it/sink into it.
    Welcome it.
    Release it.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 5:42 pm

  • Dorothea L says:

    I smile at fear when it shows me that I do care about my life and the things in it.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 5:54 pm

  • Brielle says:

    To smile at fear... to reach a point of self-acceptance and love that you aren't afraid to acknowledge the groundless feeling and sit with what makes you uncomfortable. To look into the eyes of your worst fear, which has eaten at you and KNOW that through your practice of acknowledgement and curiosity to learn what that fear does to you, you KNOW you have the strength, the love and the self-acceptance to push beyond it.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 6:16 pm

  • Ginette says:

    Smiling at fear creates space for new beginnings:)

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 6:40 pm

  • Leigh Powers says:

    It means "do it anyway" - "love them anyway" - "lean into the pain anyway"

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 6:41 pm

  • CJ says:

    There's a recognition that smiling suggests. Rather than ignorance and avoidance, a grin is a signal of awareness. "Oh, there you are! Hello!" It's an invitation, acknowledging fear and calling on our vast potential for bravery in its presence.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 7:34 pm

  • Trudy Boyle says:

    Smiling at fear isn't about ignoring or liking.It is more about co-existing with the naturalness of this very human emotion while not allowing it to rule our life.We can greet our fear and acknowledge, "here you are again,"and while being deeply afraid, not freeze or run or hide.We can do what is important for us to do, while still being afraid. Fear can prompt us to examine how we live. And, sometimes, when we relax a little with the fear we can fall down laughing at the cosmic joke of the "full catastrophe" as Zorba aptly puts it. Smiling at fear is accepting the reality of our lives, including our emotions, both the ones we like and the ones we don't and working to change what can be changed.

    Fear is often about the future. When that happens I breathe, look around and realize that this fearful scenario isn't happening now. And I can smile and get back to what needs doing now. When I am on a dark street and feel fearful, I move quickly to the shelter of the light and others, and I can thank my fear for prompting me to take action. Knowing the difference is key.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 7:34 pm

  • Randolph Roeder says:

    I'm afraid to say

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 7:40 pm

  • Jamyang Gyatso says:

    Smile is the best medicine of human physical body i wish you wonderful day and everyday send you A big beam of love may you live very peaceful and good activites harmony peaceful love compassion kindness Boddhicitta!!!
    With much love affection sincerely Dharma Friend Jamyang

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 8:11 pm

  • Zake says:

    Smiling at fear throws it off, at first it thinks you are just nervious, but then a small cock of the head makes fear pause, unbalanced. Like touching your right ear with your left thumb to acknowledge a shempa awareness, the smile says 'I know what's gong on here and am gong to advance forward per my intention, uneffected.'

    Fear fears my smile. As my smile grows and radiates fear melts away because we both realize that we are not two seperate forces interacting, but rather fear is manafested in me. Was.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 8:44 pm

  • Patricia says:

    Fear is a friend perceived first as an enemy. I run from her often, and when I stop, I have learned that ultimately, she has a gift to give me. But not right away! I will never know the gift unless I honour her and spend some time with her, conversing with her and learning about how much love she has for me. When I honour her voice and move forward a wee step at a time, she dissolves and leaves the gift in my path. If only I could remember this each time! However, each time, she doesn't always make herself known as 'fear' (to begin with). She shows up for me as procrastination, worry, anger and more...until I slow down the pace, make space, and kindly allow her voice to speak from the heart and unravel the hurting knots held tightly in the mind.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 9:06 pm

  • Alka Arora says:

    I believe that we can smile at fear when we grasp its illusory nature. This is not an easy task for me, but something I strive to practice.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 9:08 pm

  • Lee Vogt says:

    Fear is the inner child running about with pure impulse and no direction. Smile gives a port for this child, a haven, a refuge, a sanctuary.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 10:21 pm

  • Karen Schanche says:

    Moment to moment, to move past the suffering of the world, the distress and traumas of life with brave heart and sure-footedness into the depths of our being to allowing us to discover where the places of our joy, vibrancy, and aliveness reside.

    Posted on August 6, 2010 at 10:44 pm

  • Joan Conway says:

    If one encounters an old friend one's face lights up immediately in joy. Since fear is such a natural part of the response of our brain to unknown or dangerous situations, we can know it as an old friend. Smiling at fear is like smiling when one sees an old friend. With this smile the heart opens up, awareness brings spaciousness and one sees that one is beyond the fear and simply a context for the fear - not fear itself. Fear then is experienced as one of the many emotions/thoughts/habits that emerge as we strive towards living in the moment.

    Posted on August 7, 2010 at 1:55 am

  • Devin Dukes says:

    Smiling at fear is like greeting an old friend with whom you share many years of history. This is a friend who challenges you regularly, frustrates you generally and teaches you lessons daily.

    Posted on August 7, 2010 at 3:30 am

  • Kerrie Wilson says:

    To smile at fear is to understand it, to see that fear is our own construction and has a story line that accompanies it, it is our own individual fear design that we create for ourselves and react too, it is liberating when we are the warrior de-attach from our reactions, consciously willing to allow ourselves to simply feel the fear for what it is, we learn then to "STAY" -Fear then becomes our insightful teacher and friend where we can smile truthfully at fear with gratitude.

    Posted on August 7, 2010 at 5:17 am

  • Beth Freimuth says:

    We smile at fear when we understand that fear has a purpose. It teaches us something. We do not have to be controlled by fear, we can allow it to touch our feet like the tide and instead of running away we can notice and work with it. We smile at it when we understand fear and other painful emotions play a part in our own self awareness and in our own awakening. Fear is there for a reason and although it may be painful it does not have to be a prison. I remember Trungpa quote on this topic... that a dance can develop between each of us and our emotions and then they can become workable. This spoke to me. Our emotions can imprison us and if we learn to work with them they can set us free. We smile at fear not because we are not afraid but because we know what to do when fear arrives...we can observee it, study it and move with it rahter than be taken under by it.

    Posted on August 7, 2010 at 5:44 am

  • Barbara Downie says:

    A favorite photo and quote of mine from the book, Offerings, Buddhist Wisdom for Every Day by Danielle and Olivier Follmi, portrays a porter, with a heavy load climbing a steep rock face. Beneath the porter, swirls deep dark water. The accompanying caption reads: "Usually we think brave people have no fear, the truth is they are intimate with fear" .. a quote from none other than Pema herself. I recall this quote & photo often in times of apprehension and fear. From experience, I know(and I can't assuredly say I know much, despite my 64 yrs!)by inviting fear in to sit beside me so we can have a conversation, has dissipated its grip over me. May we all learn that these sticky, emotions are just that, and the mind makes them otherwise. Life is too brief to remain entangled in and believing all the mind says as literal truth. Fear can be a great teacher, if we would only let it :)

    Posted on August 7, 2010 at 6:27 am

  • Tom Fitzpatrick says:

    We smile at fear because we understand that fear is not reality, but rather a product of our undeveloped mind.

    Posted on August 7, 2010 at 7:24 am

  • Danica Riendl says:

    A given moment in time when I feel a true sense of freedom and serenity.

    Posted on August 7, 2010 at 7:24 am

  • Farid says:

    For me it means ,to be friend with your fears,my everyday companion,not want to be get rid of it immediately,use your inborn wisdom,in practice it works sometimes sometime its very difficult,but I think,a warrior should meet difficulty in order to be fearless,like other CTRL works it seems that he knew how to touch the heart of the matter!

    Posted on August 7, 2010 at 7:38 am

  • brooklynchick says:

    To give yourself permission....to fear is human. To look kindly at your own scared heart, And then to act *anyway*.

    Posted on August 7, 2010 at 7:50 am

  • Jenny Flatberg says:

    I'm afraid of dying. I'm afraid of looking fat. I'm afraid I'm not good enough. I'm afraid of being sad or sick or wrong or mean. I'm afraid people are ruining the planet. I'm afraid of being raped. I'm afraid that my mother isn't happy. I'm afraid that I'll always be this dumb. I'm afraid that the time I was really mean to my grandma is who I really am. I'm afraid of world war. I'm afraid that he doesn't really love me. I'm afraid that life is real. I'm afraid that all the blame actually does rest on my shoulders. I'm afraid that I'll never wake up. I'm afraid that this is awake. I'm afraid that I might mean what I do. I'm afraid that people won't like me. I'm afraid that I'm not pretty. I'm afraid that this is all there is. I'm afraid of myself. And I know it. Sweet sweeeeeeeeet sweeeet paralyzing, belly achin' fear. Here we go again. I didn't really expect you back again so soon. I mean, for some reason, I thought we'd kind of worked through things and...oh, I know, you are such a sweetheart. Where would I be with out you! I truly am afraid to imagine it. Well, come on, we've got stuff to do. Stick with me fear, I've got your back.

    Posted on August 7, 2010 at 8:21 am

  • Kylee Lockman says:

    It's going to happen. We are driven by it.
    The only time I ever realized that I could smile in its face is when I found a new spirituality. The only way I found spirituality was through deep struggle and emotional and physical pain. This was self-induced most of the time.
    Meditation practice has given me the gift of noticing the fear, not always running from it. To smile at it projects an understanding and sweet surrender. I spent my whole life in one manipulation after another despirately thinking I had some control. Until I surrendered to the fact that I was going to feel things and live, not spontaeously combust, I realized my absurd thinking. Then I could recognize the fear and move, resistently sometimes, though it.
    When you see a person that you don't care for much in a room, you become uncomfortable inside. You smile anyway at them and remember compassion for that person. You don't let it rent so much space in your head. Let it go like in meditation. This is the same with fear. If you smile at fear, you show compassion for yourself and the human experience.

    Posted on August 7, 2010 at 9:01 am

  • Stefania' says:

    Why do I smile at fear? Why wouldn't I as it/he/she always shows up with a big fat grin as well. I truly believe that it helps me keep my much honed sense of humor alive and well! Rock on wit'your bad self, fear!
    :o)

    Posted on August 7, 2010 at 9:51 am

  • Linda Lacey Missouri says:

    On a hot summer day, a cockroach assumed my open door included her! I first spied her as she circled the living room wall. Until I saw her, I was happy and relaxed, petting my cat Gandy and feeling the breeze blow in the door. Now I was beating myself up for having left the door open. How quickly my feelings shifted when something I give great power arrived in my view. Once inside, I lost track of her whereabouts. I didn't sleep well, wondering if she would find my bedroom. I asked my cat to protect me, but knew she wouldn't. A few weeks later, the cockroach ran across the floor. I screeched and drew back. This cockroach was in charge of the house and I was a child in a house of horrors. This hide-and-seek experience had my attention. I felt captive in my own home. Someone suggested I get a glass jar ready. After many attempts over many days, I cornered the fast-paced roach and trapped her under the glass. The next six months, the glass became an eerie shrine in the middle of the floor. I saw her, feared her and watched her shrivel and die. I asked a neighbor to remove her. I couldn't watch. The neighbor assured me the cockroach was dead and disposed of. To release my anxiety, I made drawings and talked to my fear. I shared the experience with friends and to a therapist.I apologized to this roach who stayed with me long after she was physically gone.

    Five years pass. I've become more serious about Jungian inner work and Tai Chi movements. Into the same front door, another cockroach saunters. My body tightens with the threat, followed with a musing thought. "I have this visitation again. I can take in a breath and exhale. I can observe and stay present to this reality that has such power. I can get my glass jar ready." Yes, I chased her around, as she tried to hide and be safe. I attempted and failed to catch her. My heart was pounding. I used my feeling of threat to take action more quickly. I stayed with the process. When I caught her, near my computer table, I let her stay near me until I could catch my breath. Then, slowly, I edged the jar toward the front door to release her. It was not easy. I was afraid I'd make a mistake and she'd escape inside. This time I had more courage and confidence. I had a plan of action. I moved her outside into the world where she'd come from. I haven't kept my front door open since her departure. I'm not ready to test my relationship to my particular nemesis quite yet. But I can smile at the shift I noticed when this cockroach arrived and how I didn't need to kill her this time for me to survive.

    Posted on August 7, 2010 at 9:53 am

  • gary anderson says:

    To smile at fear means to turn negative energy into positive energy...weakness into strength...dispair into hope.

    Posted on August 7, 2010 at 10:12 am

  • Tee Lovelace says:

    I see fear as a bully. The best way to disarm a bully is to smile at it. This does not mean I have no fears! There are so many horrible things that are and can happen in this world. However, I realize that fear is a natural reaction, and sometimes necessary in the moment. However, not living in fear is freeing and it is a choice in how we perceive the world. So when something that creates fear in me, I try to examine it, see why I am feeling fear, then I choose to smile at fear. I know I will learn to face fear as long as I am concious, and I plan to smile and be thankful to fear for providing me another opportunity to grow and feel freedom. Namaste.

    Posted on August 7, 2010 at 10:38 am

  • Rita Zimmer says:

    To smile at fear is to invite it in. When one smiles at anyone do you not get a corresponding smile back. A possibility of friendship, a feeling of commraderie, a connection. If we smile at fear we invite that part of us in and befriend it so we can cut it down to size, work with it, and instead of it stopping us from being who we are we can use it's energy to be more fully human.

    Posted on August 7, 2010 at 10:42 am

  • Valerie Sampson says:

    Take a deep breath, take another deep breath, take one more long, slow, deep breath in and out, and step into the abyss with trust and a grin on your face.

    Posted on August 7, 2010 at 11:17 am

  • Wendy says:

    Smiling at fear is like hearing creaks in the house at night. It is dark and shadowy and in your head you have created a horror scene. You are paralyzed in the bed with the breath catching in your throat and your heart is pounding too loudly in your ears, blood swishing like ocean waves. You know you must get up to check. You know the shadow beyond the door is surely the face of a torturous death. But somehow, you slow your breath, you stop your chatter and you slip a leg over the side of the bed, placing a foot on the cold floor.

    Smiling at fear is taking opportunity where opportunity presents. It is growing through house creaks which are just house creaks and learning that your fears are gifts of great benefit.

    Posted on August 7, 2010 at 12:02 pm

  • Marcia Zamora says:

    To smile at fear... means to stop and face it. To honor it. To welcome it, and be grateful for it. To be aware/mindful of both the feeling and the source of the feeling, and distinguish between these two. To choose not to be defined by or controlled by it. To open to the many possibilities / opportunities offered by the appearance of fear.

    Posted on August 7, 2010 at 2:06 pm

  • Lisa F says:

    I believe smiling at fear is knowing that the fear is empty. When we feel separate, we can feel fear. If I do not feel separate, or feel my true self, then there is no fear.

    Posted on August 7, 2010 at 2:10 pm

  • Melissa Lotfy says:

    I feel I'm smiling at fear when I remember that within the darkest moments are the best opportunities for growing beyond habitual reactions. When I'm deep within a fearful pattern, and I see that *this* is the moment for seeing things differently, everything can shift. I can't change my perception and experience of fear without first feeling fear, so when I feel it I can have a sense of purpose. This is it!

    Posted on August 7, 2010 at 4:28 pm

  • Jim Chamerlik says:

    It means see fear as it arises, accept it, watch it, and realize it is not "you" but only another impermanent thing that shall rise and pass. Face it and examine it... Learn from your reactions to it. That is practice. :)

    Posted on August 7, 2010 at 5:06 pm

  • Maria Rosa says:

    To smile at fear is to breathe, smile, and take a step forward, no matter how small that step may be.

    Posted on August 7, 2010 at 5:21 pm

  • Rashani says:

    To smile at fear means that we are able to see it for what it is and not be lured by its façade. To smile at fear is an indication that we are perceiving beneath a constellation of memories and conditioning or simply beneath a physical sensation onto which we have previously put labels and interpretations, which led us to believe that f-e-a-r existed. To smile at fear is to know the difference between reality and that which arises when the mind loses touch with the miracle of the moment. To smile at fear is a profound homecoming!

    Posted on August 7, 2010 at 5:28 pm

  • Susan Ross says:

    As Tom Suddes says, fear is "False Expectations Appearing Real"
    - IF I see that in facing fear, I can realize the joke's on "me" and smile!

    Posted on August 7, 2010 at 5:32 pm

  • Christina Maloney says:

    To smile at fear is to expect and embrace the unexpected in life, to accept it all as part of the plan.

    Posted on August 7, 2010 at 5:39 pm

  • Margaret Brady says:

    We smile at fear because it bears the face of an old, familiar friend. It is a part of our being, coursing through our veins, sitting at the bottom of our stomachs. We smile, and then breathe, welcoming fear with an open embrace. We have no other choice.

    Posted on August 7, 2010 at 5:44 pm

  • Vanita Kunert says:

    I am afraid to say I am scared publicly on this blog.

    Posted on August 7, 2010 at 6:29 pm

  • Julie Early says:

    It's accepting ourselves and our experience of life.

    Posted on August 7, 2010 at 7:36 pm

  • Laura S says:

    To withold my emotional reaction, breathe, and get to thinking

    Posted on August 7, 2010 at 8:21 pm

  • Carla Callahan says:

    Ah Fear! My constant friend! When you show up, I know I am clinging to something. I smile at you because you are the sign that I need to go deep and release whatever has me in its grip. You are wonderful kindness in this life because you force me to change. Thank you, Fear!

    Posted on August 7, 2010 at 8:32 pm

  • Jennifer says:

    Fear response is designed to keep up from being killed - you know, 'fight or flight'. That's fine if you live in the African Savannah but few of us do. Smiling at fear for me has become recognizing that I am afraid - not of any physical threat, but of a thought. I smile now because if I can control the thought, I can release the fear. All suffering comes from regret over the past or worry over the future - and neither one of those things can be controlled or changed by me. The only thing I can change is my thinking. So I breathe. And smile.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 2:25 am

  • beth chapman says:

    To smile is a moment of silence, a moment of recognition, a moment of familiarity, a moment of disruption unfurrowing my wrinkled brow it is a moment that requires effort to lift the muscles in my face upward and defy the gravity that would pull them down. To smile at fear is to open the door to an unannounced guest and greet them as my lover who knows me, alas, all too well.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 2:35 am

  • Kathy Miller says:

    Fear disguises itself as doubt and I become silent, smiling, remembering that I am part of the whole and I am not alone. I feel its shadow permeate my body, choking my air supply and I stop, breathe and grin at my old companion. Fear enters my being sucking all hope away and I smile,ride the wave knowing that I've been here before and if I hold on it will dissipate; it does I smile again.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 2:37 am

  • Nanette J. Ford says:

    I am learning to view difficult emotions as opportunities to learn more about myself--my thoughts and feelings. When a "persistent visitor" such as fear arrives at my doorstep I now know that I must smile and invite it in and get to know it...just as I would any guest.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 3:58 am

  • Joanne Alexander says:

    I came to realize that one of my biggest fears was that of losing control. By confronting it and facing it, I have been able to get at the root of it and now understand that the feeling of ever having control was a facade and fear-based. What a feeling of liberation...that made me smile!

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 4:58 am

  • faith morgan says:

    smiling at fear is

    the courage to survive, and, the optimism to thrive.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 5:25 am

  • Madeleine Lohman says:

    One of the main ideas I've taken away from reading Pema Chodron's books is that making our happiness dependent on only good things happening to us is a big mistake. Because not only is the bad, the hard, the scary, (the irritating) inevitable, but in fact it presents us with the greatest opportunity for waking up. To me, smiling at fear brings to mind, as in the Rumi poem "Guest House" an image of greeting fear at the door as an honored guest, laughing, and inviting him in as a "guide from beyond."

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 5:41 am

  • pauline michalovic says:

    fear......natural @ times.......over used by our culture .......response to programming that dosent serve...habitual ways...a door to freedom...much to learn on topic...have learned much on topic.....connection dissolves it...connection dissolves it..connection dissolves it
    we are all one...we are all one...fear or no fear....love

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 6:00 am

  • Cindy Caros says:

    Without fear, we would not know the path that uncovers within us, (the unconditional confidence of)fearlessness. Ultimately, we are smiling with/as Buddha Nature. :)

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 6:17 am

  • daniel says:

    Fear shows up in many ways. When we do not see our connection, we begin to divide and conquer it with fear filled reactions. When we do not unconditionally accept something, we fear it on one level or another. Fear is judgement, right or wrong, good or bad. Fear is the absence of faith that we are already ok just as we are and that others are ok just as they are. When we live in fear, we fight, judge, worry, (try to) control, etc.. When we smile at fear, we recognize that it is trying to teach us something. The hardest things in life often end up being our greatest lessons, teachers. If we can embrace our fear with a smile, then we may be able to overcome that conditioned reaction and instead see it a lesson to be learned. Fear shows up in so many ways, subtle and gross. We are constantly trying to teach ourselves something and fear is a very popular teacher we choose. If only we can smile at fear, our reaction to it can be unconditional love.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 6:17 am

  • Nicole Garrett says:

    To smile at fear is to open our hearts and surrender to what is. To know that happiness is our intended state regardless of the circumstances surrounding us. To have faith that our curiosity about the nature of things will illuminate the truth that brings genuine peace.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 6:20 am

  • D.M. Solis says:

    In times of tragedy, profound grief, and other great losses and challenges, we fear the pain and loneliness, there, fearing the void. Having fallen in, we struggle to climb back out again, learning many things on the way. Scourged by tree roots and rocks as we climb, we do indeed make our way up out of the canyon, only to fall back in again, and again. Somewhere along the way, even getting an elbow up over the edge, and hoisting ourselves out out of the cavern, as we walk through the desert, realizing we'll never really leave it, but will carry the desert within us always, and will inevitably fall back into the caverns there again, and again, somehow we learn, fear is no enemy, it is the void itself, calling us back to great learning, calling us back to new levels of discovery about how we are all connected, in places that are anything BUT void. Eventually we learn to surrender, we learn not to struggle so, we learn to smile at fear, letting go, sailing back, and sailing forward to places where the sweetest Graces unfold.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 6:25 am

  • JD Warrick says:

    Fear. I can run from it. I can ignore it. I can evade it. I can confront it. I can accept it. I can make use of it. Sometimes I might even chose to smile at it.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 6:26 am

  • vanessa gongora says:

    Smiling at fear is like humming to a crying baby- that soft voice of a mother that tells the child in you- it's okay. there's nothing to be AFRAID OF.

    I normally don't comment on blogs, but like most questions, there is an answer within it. In my personal experience, I am now working to embrace my fears, lovingly, as I should any emotion.

    I am now facing many fears at once- the fear of commitment, of loss, of feeling, and even, of fear, itself.

    The smile is the gentle response that starts with our mouth and trickles down through our bodies, sending that loving, warm signal- that this too, this fear, its okay. It too, will pass, and there is no shame in it.

    And in mere moments, through acceptance, one suddenly see the fear dissipate and you return. Still blessed.

    Thank you to Pema Chodron and everyone who spreads love, and even those to don't, for you are our teachers also.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 6:28 am

  • Andre La Velle says:

    To me it means that smiling at fear can neutralize fear and help one be in the moment with the cause of the fear and not reacting with conditioned responses about what the fear might be or its imagined consequences.

    This smiling will bring one back to awareness and stop the chatter of mind to let one see the root cause of the fear and watch it fall away.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 6:51 am

  • Cecilia says:

    Fear is just the messenger. It is the signal that something is amiss. It is not evil. It is the nudge that awakens us to knowing something is out of balance. When I realize I am afraid, then I know it is time to smile and bow and invite the messenger to sit with me while I search for the truth.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 6:55 am

  • Eric G says:

    Fear is a projection of the mind. Smiling is the recognition of the true nature of our minds beyond all projections. We smile as ourselves and are fearful in our separation from the awareness of who we really are.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 6:59 am

  • Cindy Schmidt says:

    Smile at fear, welcome it, let it in, sit down with it. The conversation to ensue will bring tears to your eyes, send your heart racing,and after much resistence, a final allowing that will bring the peace you seek. Then, tomorrow, it begins again.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 7:17 am

  • Julie-Anne Chabot says:

    Pema has beautifully and divinely inspired my life with her book. Her wisdom has provided immeasurable healing and growth in my life. Her words of comfort and reassurance has gifted me with new found confidence and awakening of my heart, and deepening of my soul. May she continue to be blessed and may we all be grateful for her beautiful presence in this world !

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 7:28 am

  • Hilary says:

    smiling at fear is being in heavenly mind

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 7:38 am

  • BN says:

    to smile is to openly accept and invite fear into the core of our being, to enable us to learn from its arising and dissolving in our spacious expansive being.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 7:44 am

  • Nathan says:

    To Smile at fear means to take a deep breath and embrace yourself, warts and all and let it go. If you can do all that then you smile.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 7:48 am

  • Karma Chogyi Lamo says:

    Fear is the mind, the difficult one to recognize as just mind. Fear makes us forget to have compassion for ourself, even when we can have compassion for others. Fear is empty but all consuming. One does not overcome Fear but understands the place of Fear in samsara, allowing it to become empty. That is the goal for me.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 7:49 am

  • Jaime Santos says:

    Fear grasps tightly at my heart
    Tells me I'm not ok
    That I must *do* something, *go* somewhere
    *get* everything done and right
    Before my heart will open
    To let compassion out AND in.

    Smiling at fear is fearlessness
    Not a disguise--a mask to cover
    But an invitation to/from a wise teacher
    To walk with her into the unknown
    With curiosity, I turn up the corners of my lips
    I am enough, I do enough, I have enough.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 8:21 am

  • Robin Bernstein says:

    To smile at fear is to respect it, honor it. To say "I see you. Welcome. Let's dance." Then, hopefully, I maintain my sense of center as I do so.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 8:52 am

  • Rhonda Tarli says:

    To smile at fear is to see and sit with the thing that has been the essence of my life.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 9:30 am

  • Kim MacAulay says:

    Precious one, fearful and running wild.
    Rock ever so gently in the cradle of my loving awareness.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 9:58 am

  • Katherine Puckett says:

    To me, smiling at fear is like welcoming it as a guest at my dinner table and taking some time to get to know it. It's moving toward fear, rather than moving away from it.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 9:58 am

  • Debbie McDilda says:

    Smile at Fear? Really?! When I read heard the title I did smile ... at the preposterous idea of smiling versus turning and running, as far and as fast as possible from fear. Then I heard about Pema's program at Omega in October 2009 and how amazing it was. I attended Pema's May program at Omega and subsequently bought both the book Smile at Fear and Pema's CD's from October. I am now reading Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior and love how interconnected everything is. I would love to attend this weekend program!

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 10:01 am

  • Karen Lucas says:

    To smile at fear is to recognize it as an aspect of the infinite creative display of the mind. Fear is merely enlightened mind in disguise, unrecognized. We can smile at it tenderly, spaciously, like watching children in their play; then we smile as it dissolves back into the luminosity of our own awareness. Very often then, the smile becomes outright laughter!

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 10:29 am

  • Maitri says:

    Smiling at Fear to me means to look at it, analyze where it came from, what color it is, what shape it has, and then smile fearlessly into it, realizing it is actually empty and merely a product of our conceptual minds, a mental reflex as it were. By so doing, we are becoming stronger spiritual warriors on the Path of Enlightenment.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 11:10 am

  • Gisele Egbert says:

    I am afraid life is meaningless and that this physical manisfestation is all that exists. I am afraid to truly open my heart and feel the pain of all beings. I am afraid to let go and let life happen.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 12:11 pm

  • Mari Szynal says:

    I smile at my fears when learning of my son's HIV+ diagnosis ~ and enlightenment ensues

    My fears return with my own multiple health diagnosis within a 12-month period. Alas, enlightenment remains elusive.

    Hello darkness my old friend.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 12:17 pm

  • Christine Hall says:

    I smile at you, Fear, because I know you. I welcome you. My smiles show recognition and acceptance. You, Fear, make me stronger, and deeper. I will live more lively and travel farther because I know you.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 12:22 pm

  • magi says:

    To Smile at fear, means a willingness to greet this fear- monster openly and sit with it long enough to experience the many layers, the ins and outs, of what makes this monster tick. Smiling, the way one might greet an acquaintance for tea, knowing the exchange might not be completely pleasant, yet holding your ground in the moment, encouraging ones heart to open and taking the time to realize- there really is no monster after all!

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 2:06 pm

  • Mary Ann says:

    What does it mean to smile at fear?

    An open and willing action - to defy and extinquish the burden of fear.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 2:22 pm

  • Patricia Bartone says:

    To smile at fear means acceptance that all is impermanent and the fear will pass just like joy, love, life and all else in life. To smile means that the fear is not taken so seriously that it leads to drifting from the middle way. The smile sympbolizes the equanimity that is not deterred by the fear. I can still be at peace in the face of fear.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 2:28 pm

  • Carolina Perez says:

    Smiling at fear means to surrender and stop fighting the fear. once you stop fighting the fear goes away because its duty is to control you. when you do not resist it anymore because you surrender to it in reality you are the master. fear subdues and retreats.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 2:40 pm

  • Carolina Perez says:

    Smiling at fear means to surrender and stop fighting the fear. once you stop fighting the fear goes away because its duty is to control you. when you do not resist it anymore because you surrender to it in reality you are the master. fear retreats and you win victory over it.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 2:41 pm

  • arlette says:

    To smile at fear is to love. A love that holds my heart and tickles my fear so that my face can only smile when we meet.
    To smile at fear is to know compassion. Compassion that breeds a sense of connection to all the fear that ever existed.
    To smile at fear is to know liberation. Even as fear claims my body, my thoughts and my heart, I am liberated because I love and I feel compassion.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 2:42 pm

  • Benjamin says:

    Smiling at fear means to take what scares or bothers you the most and look at it as a benefit and a gift, instead of a weight or a defect.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 2:57 pm

  • James Schleppenbach says:

    Smile at fear. Ease freely beyond the illusory separate sense of self. Remember there is not two. Recognize the ignorance that created the fear and smile with clarity. Embracing what is, one smiles at fear.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 3:43 pm

  • Jana Rossier says:

    Smiling at fear is the same as smiling at love or clouds or raindrops or anger... it means we don't elevate it to a greater position than any other aspect of life.

    Using the image of smiling helps me to soften myself, to lean into that which scares me.Then I can remember to place it in perspective again, to recognize that the only thing I truly know is this moment right here.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 4:06 pm

  • Robin Sutherland says:

    To smile at fear means to invite it in for tea (as Milarepa did).

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 4:18 pm

  • Nancy Iris says:

    Welcome Back, Old Friend.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 5:18 pm

  • Maria Talan says:

    Smiling at Fear: Yikes, an endless question, a koan.
    It means many things for me...It is like a threat that crosses many points like:

    1. Understanding cause and effect.
    2. Understanding the nature of emotions, of phenomena and (and that includes of course our life too).
    3. It means a change of attitude; it means pausing and transforming the energy of the situation we are in, not trying to modify externally necessarily but somehow looking at how we can just get rid of all the shit we have carry with ourselves all the time (or as Pema says, dropping the story line). This shit includes our idea of our past, the idea of who we are, our limitations. We can just be there with our fear and let it be. Hold it, let the fear have a voice, give it space, give it all the space... all the room but still come back to the present moment and do the best that we can... “being”, coming back to the present from a place of sanity and basic goodness.
    Smiling at fear would have meant that we have incorporated our training as Shambhala Warriors to our life. That is the end result of having digested the teachings with discipline, commitment, effort and lots of kindness. It is not an aggressive approach to face life, but one that has endless gentleness: smiling at whatever comes to our life comes from a place of deep trust in life, in our goodness in our outrageousness.

    Thank you Pema and Carolyn for giving us so much.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 6:37 pm

  • Ekyo Susan Nelson says:

    Smiling at fear is a great privilege and also a very simple human practice. It involves a conscious intention to stop, to breathe into the heart, identify the trigger and go in the direction of what is making us afraid, smiling at it with love, letting it break our hearts. Then we will see into it and see the emptiness there, see the confusion there, and it will bring us the gift of compassion, of impartial, loving friendliness and freedom.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 6:50 pm

  • Rngbrodgar says:

    When we smile, we connect and meet an “other” with recognition and a visual embrace that transcends words.

    To smile at fear is to know one is a separate being that can recognize and acknowledge fear, and still retain the detachment and reserve necessary to not allow it to take over.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 7:20 pm

  • raana says:

    When we are willing to go to places that scares us emotionaly, practicing meditation and going opposite direction of comfort, then the fear will be an opportunity to go beyond our limitations and we can smile at our fear.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 9:15 pm

  • raana says:

    See things as they are and fully accept them and experience them in your body!

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 9:17 pm

  • gayle says:

    When you smile at fear you open to the life-lesson it brings. Like a prayer wheel sends its prayer, the lesson radiates to all being. Bringing ease to fear with a smile is like bringing love to your child. Boddihchita activates with each genuine smile.

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 9:22 pm

  • lee falk says:

    Smile(song by Charlie Chaplin} "There are two ways to go to the gas chamber, free or not free" Sartre. I had fear for a homeless woman by my apartment . Fear for her health and safety, fear for her drawing bad people etc. I was paralyyzed by her refusal of my oferrers to help her. I overcame my fear and called local homeless services. They did what they could. I smiled. I did my best. I have many fears. I smile and attempt to smile at them. It works. I thank you for your website. I was here through a friend. I cherish her for this. Thank you for showing me the to freedom and happiness.




    '

    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 10:04 pm

  • cintra says:

    ..."dwell in the luminous space of self existing awareness"...

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 12:18 am

  • Catherine Kramer says:

    Smiling at fear means you acknowledge the fear and accept the presence of fear while continuing to live. It means getting out of bed every morning regardless of what is waiting for you. It means pushing yourself to attempt what seems impossible. It means walking in darkness alone. Smiling because you are grateful for the chance to continue the journey. Smiling because you are grateful to the part of you that is simply trying to save your life and protect you by keeping you frozen in fear. Smiling at fear means one more step or one more breath even when it seems the hardest thing you have ever done.

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 4:14 am

  • Steve Hardy says:

    Smiling at fear we both know that it is real and not real. To be taken seriously and be laughed at. To acknowledge as important and discounted as a distraction. Fear knows this. But it is in fear's knowledge that I do to that we laugh in joyous resonance!

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 4:16 am

  • Jennifer Clinard says:

    grin at the thing under the bed

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 4:22 am

  • Michele Dorsey says:

    I smile at fear when I stop worrying about what other's think about my words and actions.

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 4:57 am

  • Michael Doucet says:

    Smile at fear.......

    Damn that's scary
    but makes me feel alive and in my body
    when I break into a smile
    and the whole world laughs with me
    only then are things are
    as they really are
    cold water makes me feel warm
    warmth makes me feel open
    openness makes me smile
    and laugh at my fear
    that slowly unravels the knot
    that is now undone
    as I enjoy the vast space
    of a smile
    from the heart

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 5:08 am

  • hannah says:

    that fear is not something to retreat from, run from, avoid, mask with other emotions....fear is something we can all learn from, breathe into, use, to really live the truth of the day to day.

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 5:12 am

  • Sarah Emanuelson Cochran says:

    Smiling at fear=welcoming the unknown.

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 5:26 am

  • Mary says:

    Smile at fear because it honors that part of you and shows compassion.

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 5:31 am

  • Noan says:

    A Poem for Elizabeth Rose

    I used to think
    that hope was for the brave,
    the indomitable
    the blessed positive thinkers.

    But now I see
    that bravery lies in the present moment,
    hope and fear but two sides of the same coin
    (the coin of not being able to bear what is).

    What if I decided to make friends with my fear
    would I then need hope?
    Or would I be able to embrace the all of my life
    and keep opening my heart ever wider.

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 5:53 am

  • Elizabeth says:

    I'm a classical concert composer, but I view fear as Led Zeppelin did:
    'Standin' on a hill in the mountain of dreams
    Tellin' myself it's not as hard, hard, hard as it seems'

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 6:22 am

  • Farid says:

    I;M WONDER THAT WAS MY RESPONSE TOO BIZARRE?
    (This is smiling AT FEAR),THE COURAGE TO ASK
    FARID

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 6:41 am

  • Alex says:

    To smile at fear is to let go that we are inadequate and to see that we are powerful beyond measure.

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 6:44 am

  • Tom says:

    Smile at everything. Watch it dissolve.

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 6:47 am

  • Judy Pretto says:

    Bringing the inner smile of love to your lips. I use it when the plane is taking off. I force myself to smile by thinking of the love one I will see when i land. My fear disappears. I also remember to smile when I land, when I give thanks.

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 6:52 am

  • Andy Blum says:

    when we surrender and smile we welcome fear, we become curious about it and, in turn, make space for it. we meet it with ease, rather than resistance. we explore and demystify it. when we get to know things, they becomes less scary. on a physiological level when we "act as if" we are happy by smiling we activate the universal feeling of happiness that is hard wired into our nervous systems.

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 7:07 am

  • Laurie Broacha says:

    I believe smiling at fear is a representation of graciously "facing" our fears during our journey here on earth. Or in otherwords, the relationship between the physical human body acknowledging, aligning, and connecting with core spiritual lessons and issues.

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 7:18 am

  • Lauren Astor says:

    To smile at fear... yes, smile - welcome all that is... embrace the is-ness as it is in its is-ness... Oh yes! Fear! Gasp - smile - ahhh - the big let go. Can you do it? Tighten, relax... smile, greet, welcome, allow the light to squeeze through, to break through, to contract, expand, beam, gleam, flood with love... from a smile, a smile at fear, embrace it - embrace it all. Life's journey!

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 7:48 am

  • chet says:

    Smiling at fear is greeting it,sitting with it and allowing it to leave when it's time.

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 8:12 am

  • Marjorie O says:

    For me, smiling at fear means appreciating the opportunity to be afraid; to see it as a chance to grow and learn. All of my life I've been afraid of first one thing and then the other. I am finally trying to work through my fear, but I still don't understand it...

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 8:39 am

  • Olivia Nagel says:

    To smile at fear is the realization that fear preesnts an opportunity to explore through sitting what the fear is, what it feels like in the body and by sitting with it long enough or often enough, we beome comfortable with the fear. It no longer can scare us, but teach us to be calm and curious in its midst.

    Smiling at fear means an opporunity to learn about ourselves more deeply.

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 9:24 am

  • Sandy Brookshire says:

    To smile at fear is to recognize a new and exciting adventure lies ahead.

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 9:45 am

  • Crystal says:

    To smile at fear is surely wise. However, one must smile not just with the lips, but also with the eyes.

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 10:37 am

  • suzette says:

    Fear lurks and sidles up to us. Feel it and release it. Know that it does not have to attach itself for the long-haul.

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 11:16 am

  • Annya K Garner says:

    To smile at fear is to see the ego's antics, to be with what is and to accept and love the fear as it is because it is.

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 11:19 am

  • Lili Just Simons says:

    True smiling is being in touch with ones heart. When love is present with the smile it embraces fear.

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 11:39 am

  • Sue Erlewine says:

    To smile at fear is to know that it is empty when it arises.

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 12:16 pm

  • Sandra McCann says:

    To me, smiling at fear means meeting fear as an ally. When we can instantaneously meet fear with spaciousness of mind, it will unbind the negative energies surrounding fear, thus empowering us rather than weakening us.

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 12:18 pm

  • Michelle Decine says:

    To smile at fear is to accept the unknown, the untold, and the unseen. I have learned to accept the fear. To stare into cancer, and to accept, without worrying about the "what ifs" is sending the message to myself that I am here now, in the present, and can still smile, without ruminating about the future..

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 12:21 pm

  • Magdalena Montagne says:

    Fear is that shark in the water in the movie Jaws; it's that pain in the abdomen that aches and aches, and then aches more; or the migraine headache; or the fight you had last night with your spouse over whether the bagels were really whole wheat, or just what the difference is between regular wheat and whole wheat anyway.

    Smiling at it is knowing that the fear is you -- your own anger, resentment, ego, pride, impatience, or sadness; to be gentle with it and embrace it, then let it go!

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 12:58 pm

  • Fernando says:

    To smile at fear means to befriend fear when it shows up, to welcoming it with friendliness and to listen to what it has to say with an open heart.

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 1:02 pm

  • Nancy says:

    We sit, and it is uncomfortable, blissful, irritating, empty. A moving picture show of experiences scrolls across the clear blue sky of our buddhanature. With practice, we can develop a gap between our emotional weather and the impulse to respond to it. Exploring our eternal nature, we can learn to smile.

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 1:15 pm

  • Jamie Engber says:

    embracing the present moment even when it is difficult.

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 1:34 pm

  • Janice Gorman says:

    Smiling at fear is just smiling.

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 1:45 pm

  • Deena Manis says:

    As I sit here experiencing my loss and the sensation of fear rising like mercury, I feel a wave of lightness and draw the faintest smile as I taste and swallow the bitter herb of the moment.

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 3:03 pm

  • Tatyana says:

    Smiling at fear is recognizing the reality of groundlessness and relaxing into it.

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 4:48 pm

  • susan says:

    it means you got it

    Posted on August 9, 2010 at 4:50 pm

  • caswy says:

    it means to open your heart and mind to everything and look them straight on, with forgiveness and empathy and a flexible mind--because it is all beautiful and intriguing!

    Posted on August 10, 2010 at 4:30 am

  • Francesca Bergenti says:

    Acknowledge fear, accept it, live with it's 'feel' and let it be absorbed, toouch it's depth......when you are done, then set it free.

    Posted on August 10, 2010 at 5:00 am

  • Katherine says:

    To smile at fear is to powerfully and lovingly connect to the being who is fearing and elevate that fear to love for the good of all. It is to see through illusion and love what is real and thereby benefit all beings and become greater ourselves.

    Posted on August 10, 2010 at 5:38 am

  • Tanja Christen says:

    When you smile at fear, it loses it's power, because then, when you are no longer afraid of the fear, it can't stop you from doing whatever you want to do.

    Posted on August 10, 2010 at 7:13 am

  • Hector Saez says:

    Welcome fear with open arms, talk to it, dance with it. It will open your heart and fill it with compassion.

    Posted on August 10, 2010 at 9:26 am

  • Stephanie Johnstone-Laurette says:

    Overcoming fear through playful perseverence in the face of adversity.

    Posted on August 10, 2010 at 11:24 am

  • Carol Burris says:

    To smile at fear is to be brave and feel your own strength. Give your fear a name - own it, possess it and put it behind you.

    Posted on August 10, 2010 at 11:33 am

  • Cheryl Harawitz says:

    To smile at fear is to embrace the feeling, get to know it, experience it and watch it become your welcome friend.

    Posted on August 10, 2010 at 1:19 pm

  • Rebekah Lu says:

    To accept your fear without judgement, like a friend.

    Posted on August 10, 2010 at 3:03 pm

  • Cathy Goodman says:

    For me it is all about trusting the process. This means that there really is nothing to fear as everything (no matter what it appears to be at the time) is bringing me closer to the truth of who I really am and that is definitely something to smile about! You know the acronym about FEAR - False Evidence Appearing Real.

    Posted on August 10, 2010 at 8:35 pm

  • Bill Allen says:

    When I smile at fear, I look at myself lovingly and with acceptance of all that I am and all of my emotions, including the most troubling ones. In this context I can then become more awake to both the world around me and the world within. I can discover anew that all of my emotions, even fear, are my teachers along this long path to spiritual wholeness and loving kindness.

    Posted on August 11, 2010 at 6:16 am

  • Shelly says:

    Smiling at fear is meeting your fear, ackknowledging it, and then realizing that what you are afraid of is an illusion, as is everything. Much easier said than done!

    Posted on August 11, 2010 at 5:54 pm

  • Michelle Tovar says:

    Smiling at fear? Facing cancer that eats away two beautiful souls in my life and learning from its presence. Accepting that these battles are brought upon, not to challenge our humanity, but to give our humanity back to everything.

    Posted on August 12, 2010 at 11:52 am

  • Lil DeConsuelo Izquierdo Lopez says:

    I survived a near fatal car accident. If I survived, doctors said, I'd be a vegetable, in a wheel chair, etc. Fear is lack of faith. Life has given me Life. I smile. Every morning, every afternoon, every evening, I smile and give thanks. After months in the hospital, a year learning to walk, to speak, writing evedrything down so I wouldn't forget, I went back to school. Fear? What fear? I smile, I just smile.

    Posted on August 12, 2010 at 4:42 pm

  • Stephanie M. R. says:

    I think that to smile at fear means that you make your fear your friend. Our fears give us good information about ourselves and the environment we are in. Fear is the way our mind and body warn us of potential danger or threat. Therefore, we must smile at our fear as our ally in helping us know what is going on around us and meditate on why it has come up, what information we are gaining about our lives and ourselves.

    Posted on August 13, 2010 at 6:06 am

  • Gigi Peters says:

    To welcome it as an opportunity to connect with all others experiencing fear and the opportunity to work to alleviate it in ourselves and others.

    Posted on August 13, 2010 at 10:58 am

  • Terry Leoni says:

    I have just put this into practice when being crippled up by fear from my cancer diagnosis. Am I going to die, to live and keep suffering, etc. It became overwhelming until I did finally accept my diagnosis, prognosis and my fear and breath it in and smile at it, with it, and through it. To love it all, everything that is happening to me and above
    all love my body for all it is and has been through.

    Posted on August 14, 2010 at 12:03 pm

  • Genevieve Kuepfer says:

    I love smiling at fear right in the face. This may sound far fetch, but I have discovered that in smiling at fear I am makng friends with my fears and then they drop off my shoulders. After this happens I feel spiritually, mentally, and physically lighter; I feel a peace and tranquility I've never known before. And the more I practice moving through these veils of fear I can feel my inner light shining brighter. This is not easy to do, but the more I do it, I'm discovering, I'm living more in the moment and optimistic about the future. Truly, when I smile at fear and it falls away, the more I feel I'm moving to my own inner, true light. Thank you for your time in reading my thoughts and ideas of smiling at fear. It would be an honor to hear Pema Chodron.

    Posted on August 19, 2010 at 3:50 pm

  • Dimitris Kosteletos says:

    Smile at fear means literally to create a small gap between your lips.
    Especially when they are so ego-firmly closed
    And this smile-gap is already a kind of opening, a sort of space to rest in and a necessary starting point to dissolve your fear and face the situation

    Posted on August 20, 2010 at 1:21 pm

  • Kathi Littmann says:

    Welcoming fear as a useful and necessary guide if you are courageous enough to really dig deep into your feelings.

    Posted on August 20, 2010 at 3:59 pm

  • Norm says:

    Hello, old friend!

    Posted on August 20, 2010 at 4:10 pm

  • Rhoda Mackenzie says:

    To smile at death and touch the purity that's always been there. After my cancer diagnosis I embraced Pema's teachings especially tonglen and my life has been incredible ever since. Not easy at times, but always incredible. I bow down to these precious teachings and my teacher.

    Posted on August 30, 2010 at 5:11 pm

  • Elba says:

    Practicing Lojong and Tonglen helps me to practice fear.

    Posted on August 31, 2010 at 7:12 am

  • Reinhard-Enrique Dethmers says:

    The most fundamental fear of all is the fear of death and not knowing what comes after.
    Surviving a near death encounter and not being broken by it and going into depression or becoming a angry, negative or cynical person, as so often happens, but emerging with the wisdom, that death is not the end and is not followed by nothingness, and through this wisdom becoming a person that can be strong for others because you can feel this fear rising in other persons and are able to calm them down, no matter what situation...that is smiling at fear.

    Posted on September 22, 2010 at 1:42 pm

  • Andrea says:

    Fear is not the enemy, it is an opportunity, it is your teacher.

    Posted on January 6, 2011 at 9:29 am

  • Jane Robinson says:

    Fear indicates what's blocking me and if I turn toward it and smile I have a chance of finding the truth. And the truth ends up setting me free, of course.

    Posted on January 12, 2011 at 3:12 am

  • Kay Weeks says:

    Smiling at fear is so good, I emply it at least once a day, usually in the car. Once you smile it is also "allowing" positive thoughts to enter, banishing the old negative stuff.

    Yesterday, I think I smiled too much by writing this upbeat, satirical poem on death and sharing it--perhaps--with the wrong person. Well, what do you think? My brother thought it was "neat," but then, we are of a kind...


    Packaging



    I rebel against the ashes,

    And I don’t want “the box.”

    Between the dots and dashes—

    How about the pox?



    But I find gravestones very nice,

    With all the grass and trees.

    Or maybe lay me out in ice

    And skip embalming fees!



    Whatever is your wrapping,

    What difference is it, really?

    Once Mr. “D” comes tapping—

    A Serta or a Sealy?


    Kay Weeks 1.11.11

    Posted on January 12, 2011 at 3:13 am

  • Dan Keating says:

    Fear is as basic an experience as is any other state of mind but fear is the feeling we experience when we consider the possibility that things are not quite what we thought or hoped they to be.

    Posted on January 12, 2011 at 3:14 am

  • Rochelle Weithorn says:

    Smile At Fear means recognizing the feeling inside my gut that comes up when I encounter a thought, emotion, situation, person, job or anything that scares me. I can smile at fear in seeing all these things as the blessings of the Guru.Whether workable or not, it is what it is, and I can afford to smile and relax, relax, relax.

    Posted on January 12, 2011 at 3:17 am

  • Geoffrey Fenton says:

    Smiling at fear is seeing fear and the seeds of fear and not watering them. Just sitting with it, greeting it politely, and letting it go.

    Posted on January 12, 2011 at 4:35 am

  • Suzanne says:

    To acknowledge the fear as present in the same way I would joy and to welcome the opportunity to see my humanness.

    Posted on January 12, 2011 at 4:50 am

  • Sara Piepmeier says:

    Embracing whatever arises with curiosity, affection and cheerful expectation...even fear...disarms the old thought patterns that bully us into habitual reactions, and opens the way for positive creative experience.

    Posted on January 12, 2011 at 5:07 am

  • Dan Keating says:

    Smiling at fear means we can see what is actually happening. We are so fearful that the world and we are not what we want it to be. But everything is fluid anyway. Just seeing fear for what it is, a feeling of insecurity, uncomfortable, just a feeling, part of my present experience can make it possible for us to smile at fear. We can be curious and understand it for what it is.

    Posted on January 12, 2011 at 5:30 am

  • Cynthia Schroer says:

    Smile at fear? First, acknowledge that I am afraid; secondly, feel it in my body and notice where it is; thirdly, be curious about it: how solid is this fear? This is the smile....looking into it and upending it with brave curiosity.

    Posted on January 12, 2011 at 5:07 pm

  • Lizzy Cline says:

    To smile at fear is the bravest a warrior can be. In the daily world, there is so much that blurs our vision, but if you can stop for a moment, breathe and smile, the vision clears. It is that moment between that can make the difference in how you face your world. Lean into it and let it go.............

    Posted on January 12, 2011 at 5:48 pm

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