Why does one feel afraid?
I suppose it is because one is egoistic.
There are three reasons. First, an excessive concern about one’s security. Next, what one does not know always gives an uneasy feeling which is translated in the consciousness by fear. And above all, one doesn’t have the habit of a spontaneous trust in the Divine….
The first movement of fear comes automatically. There was a great scientist who was also a great psychologist (I don’t remember his name now); he had developed his inner consciousness but wanted to test it. So he undertook an experiment. He wanted to know if, by means of consciousness, one could control the reflex actions of the body (probably he didn’t go far enough to be able to do it, for it can be done; but in any case, for him it was still impossible). Well, he went to the zoological garden, to the place where snakes were kept in a glass cage. There was a particularly aggressive cobra there; when it was not asleep, it was almost always in a fury, for through the glass it could see people and that irritated it terribly. Our scientist went and stood in front of the cage. He knew very well that it was made in such a way that the snake could never break the glass and that he ran no risk of being attacked. So from there he began to excite the snake by shouts and gestures. The cobra, furious, hurled itself against the glass, and every time it did so the scientist closed his eyes! Our psychologist told himself, “But look here, I know that this snake cannot pass through, why do I close my eyes?” Well, one must recognise that it is difficult to conquer the reaction. It is a sense of protection, and if one feels that one cannot protect oneself, one is afraid. But the movement of fear which is expressed by the eyes fluttering is not a mental or a vital fear: it is a fear in the cells of the body; for it has not been impressed upon them that there is no danger and they do not know how to resist. It is because one has not done yoga, you see. With yoga one can watch with open eyes, one would not close them; but one would not close them because one calls upon something else, and that “something else” is the sense of the divine Presence in oneself which is stronger than everything.
This is the one thing that can cure you of your fear.
14 March 1951