The Fear of Being Peaceful

Ajahn Pasanno

The Fear of Being Peaceful

It is important to recognize that the nature of becoming is generated through the force of desire, tanha, of craving—craving for sensuality, craving for being—for a sense of self, to be somebody, to be something, or craving for non- being—that sense of pushing away, of aversion, of negation. The becoming mind then seeks an object that is either internal or external.

What does that seeking look like? If it seeks an external object, we focus our attention on becoming something. We look for something pleasant or unpleasant to focus our attention on, to generate a view or an opinion about, to generate a sense of importance around the sense of “I,” “me,” and “mine.” Or, the becoming mind seeks an internal object, a subjective sense of “me” being something, me being a success, me being a failure, or at least me being somebody. But all of this – internal or external—is in the realm of becoming.

We need to be able to recognize that the movement to becoming is suffering and to not be enticed by the voices of reason, the voices of justification, or the voices of habit and the emotional pull towards being and becoming. We need to able to let go of the fear of letting go, the fear of not being something, not getting what one wants, not being what one thinks one should be or would like to be or have to be, have to get, have to become.

There’s a tremendous, almost primal fear of actually being peaceful, of really letting go, of putting stuff down, of putting identity down, of putting the compulsions down.

We want to be able to watch the fear, to see it, and to identify it, to know “that is the source of suffering,” the becoming towards, the pull towards becoming and being.

This reflection by Luang Por Pasanno is from the booklet, On Becoming and Stopping, (pdf) pp. 10-12.