Tara Brach Offers A Buddhist Approach To Dealing With Fear


Are you looking to better understand your strategies for dealing with fear—the fight/flight response? If so, I’ll recommend two things, one is an earlier post I wrote, Love or Fear, and the other is an online video by Tara Brach, titled Attend and Befriend. One of the members of our Live Conscious community recently brought this Buddhist teacher, Tara Brach, to my attention and I’m grateful.


In this one-hour talk Tara Brach clearly lays out the reasons why we contract in response to fear, and how this response prevents us from living the lives we want to live. She makes some suggestions about things we can do to work with our fear, the primary one being to pause—attend to our fear—and even learn to befriend our fear.

I experience great value in this thoughtful presentation by Tara Brach. And as I listened to her, I imagined what it would be like if she used Perception Language. So below, I’ll give you a few examples of Tara’s insightful comments, and then I’ll convert them to Perception Language so you can experience the difference for yourself.

I’ll  note the time of each comment so that you can easily find them if you want to hear her comments in their full context.

3 minutes and 40 seconds—talking about how we respond to fear

“There’s a contraction that takes us away from life…”

Said in Perception Language—

“I contract myself, taking myself away from life…”


7 minutes and 12 seconds—talking about life

“It’s uncertain and fragile…”

Said in Perception Language

“I’m uncertain and fragile…”


10:50—talking about things that trigger us

“You can’t listen to the news without getting triggered…”

Said in Perception Language

“I can’t listen to the news without triggering myself…”



“We’re overwhelmed and powerless…”

Said in Perception Language

“We overwhelm and dis-empower ourselves…”



“Breathe in, feel it…”

Said in Perception Language

“Breathe in, feel yourself…”



“She was terrified…”

Said in Perception Language

“She terrified herself…”


39:45—talking about how to respond to our fears and bodily sensations

“Agree to let it be there…”

Said in Perception Language

“Agree to let myself be there…”



“I get it…”

Said in Perception Language

“I get myself…”



“It’s not my identity…”

Said in Perception Language

“I’m not my identity…”



“Just name it, hold it…”

Said in Perception Language

“Just name myself, hold myself…”



“If It’s not acknowledged it creates a sense of separation…”

Said in Perception Language

“If I don’t acknowledge myself then I separate myself…”


48:57—talking about taking refuge in one another

“It helps dissolve that separation…”

Said in Perception Language

“I help dissolve my separation…”


53:20—talking about looking at our fears

“They take us away from home, they take us away from our path…”

Said in Perception Language

“I take myself away from home, I take myself away from my path…”


For the most part, I agree with Tara beautiful presentation. The only difference I perceive is that she makes a clear point of talking about fear, not as “my fear,” but as “the fear.” This creates a sense of distance, as if fear exists outside of us. In the Live Conscious practice we encourage people to integrate all emotions—not distance themselves from their emotions—thereby acknowledging that our emotions exist within us.

Perhaps at the deepest level, we are saying the same thing. As Tara Brach closes her dharma talk, she says, “That the fear like a wave in the ocean can be there, but not define us. This recognition that when you know you are the ocean, you are not afraid of the waves.”

The way I think of this is that all emotions are in me, including fear. When I recognize fear is in me—what I need to do is “attend and befriend” my fear. I don’t need to distance myself, but rather embrace myself. In this way, I believe Tara and Perception Language are saying something very similar. But watch her talk and see what you think.

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