Chögyam Trungpa was a renowned Tibetan Buddhist of the Shambhala tradition, which believes, he wrote, “that in this world, as it is, we can find a good and meaningful human life that will also serve others.” In one of his first books, Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, he writes of how the essence of fearlessness is not in denying that fear exists but in going beyond fear.
Going beyond fear begins when we examine our fear: our anxiety, nervousness, concern, and restlessness. If we look into our fear, if we look beneath its veneer, the first thing we find is sadness, beneath the nervousness. Nervousness is cranking up, vibrating, all the time. When we slow down, when we relax with our fear, we find sadness, which is calm and gentle. Sadness hits you in your heart, and your body produces a tear. Before you cry, there is a feeling in your chest and then, after that, you produce tears in your eyes. You are about to produce rain or a waterfall in your eyes and you feel sad and lonely, and perhaps romantic at the same time. That is the first tip of fearlessness, and the first sign of real warriorship. You might think that, when you experience fearlessness, you will hear the opening of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony or see a great explosion in the sky, but it doesn’t happen that way. In the Shambhala tradition, discovering fearlessness comes from working with the softness of the human heart.