Smile at Fear

Awakening the True Heart of Bravery
Length: 3 hrs and 59 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,480 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Many of us, without even realizing it, are dominated by fear. We might be aware of some of our fears - perhaps we are afraid of public speaking, of financial hardship, or of losing a loved one. Chögyam Trungpa shows us that most of us suffer from a far more pervasive fearfulness: fear of ourselves. We feel ashamed and embarrassed to look at our feelings or acknowledge our styles of thinking and acting; we don’t want to face the reality of our moment-to-moment experience. It is this fear that keeps us trapped in cycles of suffering, despair, and distress.

Chögyam Trungpa offers us a vision of moving beyond fear to discover the innate bravery, trust, and delight in life that lies at the core of our being. Drawing on the Shambhala Buddhist teachings, he explains how we can each become a spiritual warrior: a person who faces each moment of life with openness and fearlessness. "The ultimate definition of bravery is not being afraid of who you are," writes Chögyam Trungpa. In this audiobook, he offers the insights and strategies to claim victory over fear.

©2009 Diana J. Mukpo (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What listeners say about Smile at Fear

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Metaphor upon metaphor

I have not yet understood this text; perhaps it isn't the right time for me yet.

If you are considering this text, please note that Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche seemed to have a penchant for using metaphor to describe virtually any and all aspects of Buddhism and Buddhist practice. In this way, the text becomes perhaps unnecessarily esoteric. Using metaphors such as "wind horse" and "the setting sun world" when clearer terminology are immediately available in English adds a step of translation that is at times frustrating.

I'm certain that it is just my ignorance and immaturity that leads me to write such a critical review, but if it finds resonance with you, perhaps consider "Breath Sweeps Mind" as a clearer and entirely different approach to discussing meditation and facing one's fears.

12 people found this helpful

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Essential & Powerful

I started out listening to this recording at bedtime. It seemed to me at first to be a peaceful way to wind down and relax after a stressful day. Well--I hate to admit it but that ended up not working out. Instead, I was activated and kept wide awake listening and hanging on every word. I found myself wishing repeatedly that I had a light on, a pen and paper to take notes.

The message presented in this book is a primary and powerful teaching. Necessary information needed to cope with and live in a scary world. This book deserves wide awake time and the several full listen throughs I have devoted already. Completely worth the time and attention required. A recommended listen.

76 people found this helpful

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You will only like if you are ready.

I found this book to be brilliant. The analogies and the history and the culture in which the author speaks from spoke to my heart directly. It's difficult. It's hard. And at times it felt like it made me go insane. But through that darkness I was able to experience a lightness I have never experienced before. I've had little glimpses here and there, but now the teachings seems to hang like a weather pattern. Sure storms come and go, but there's a calmness, and acceptance, and a delight. I would not recommend this book for new practitioners, but for one who has been on the path for some time and is looking for something challenging, something with meat per se, and ready to launch to the next level of awakening. May this book bring you happiness and help ease your suffering.

27 people found this helpful

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changed my life. freedom from fear is true freedom

The author gives the lessons in such simple terms it is the ultimate aha moment that ends with a tear of gratitude and a peaceful warrior awakened

9 people found this helpful

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Abstract, Yet Practical

There is much about Eastern philosophy that I find to be abstract, but I also find that the more I directly engage with it, the more practical it becomes. One of my hobbies is the study of Western (Medieval and Renaissance) martial arts, which relies more on direct application of the system, but not so much on the higher philosophies or mindsets as with the Eastern counterparts. For my part, this is the biggest reason why I find a disconnect between Arthurian chivalry and real world knighthood. Western systems concentrate on "I hit you, you hit the floor," with any strategy directed towards that singular goal. Conversely, any Eastern system embraces the idea of victory of self that leads to victory over situation, which I find most helpful to my own studies, on and off the "battlefield." This book takes that premise and goes even further.

This book is a real treasure. It defines the idea of the warrior in a way the Western world never truly developed (as a being at one with peace itself through compassion) and applies it both in spiritual terms and in terms of putting a weapon in your hand. The result is a system of thought that not only helps you to evolve as a person, but also a system that evolves with you, leading you to new discoveries that reinforce the lessons. I can't help but knowingly smile when obvious or perceived weaknesses in the Western system are pointed out by comparison of the material presented here. On its own, this is an amazing collection of wisdom. When used in conjunction with or merely compared to Sun Tzu's The Art of War or Morihei Ueshiba's The Art of Peace, the building blocks of enlightenment seem to put themselves together even faster. I'm not sure the Buddhists would appreciate such use of their lessons, but for purposes of my own personal development, I am beyond pleased with the concepts this solidifies and/or opens for me.

17 people found this helpful

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  • J
  • 06-14-16

Amazed!!!

This is by far one of the best books I've ever listen to. It gives you great insight into many aspects of your practice how to accept yourself, different ways to see the world. I'll be reading this many many times.

2 people found this helpful

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Best grounding training ever.

I have devoured this teaching because it works to keep me grounded in reality and relating to situations at hand.

2 people found this helpful

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Would've Been Great if I Had Some Experience..."

I got this book because it addresses fear, (I have trouble ordering coffee, for gosh sake: "No, really, sir. I asked for a SOY mocha," etc. etc.) and I wanted to go at it from a different angle.
I think there were great concepts there, it was soothing, everything was okay.
But, really? A week later? I honestly can't tell you a thing about it, and that's not the book's fault. It's just that my mind jackrabbits around too much to hold onto anything. I have far too little experience with mindfulness/meditation, with focus.
I think other people who already practice meditation and are able to focus their thoughts will find this book to be wonderful, eye-opening, soothing. And maybe one day, after some taming of the hamsters running around in my brain, I'll be one of them. Alas, not at the moment

34 people found this helpful

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Smug and condescending voice

Hard to absorb the message of peace when the narrator sounds like he is annoyed by how stupid the listener is. It's as though he could follow each sentence with "you idiot".

3 people found this helpful

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I found this to be a frustrating listen

So, the psychological concepts discussed in this book seem entirely valid and worth reflecting on to me. Despite that though, I found it REALLY difficult to get through this book. I put it aside several times, and even now wish I hadn't bothered picking it up again. I'm not entirely sure why I found it so difficult, but the following issues seem to be a part of it: 1. I frequently felt like I was being given a lesson in Buddhist terminology and symbology rather than being treated to a thoughtful exploration of fear and how to deal with it. The latter was in there, but for me the other stuff often overshadowed it. 2. I was listening to it while working, so there's no way I could give it the one hundred percent attention that I could if I weren't doing anything else. That said - I listen to books while I work every day, including books that are very involved and require attention and reflection. Where I stop being able to do this is with very technical detail like what you find in some science books. Perhaps though, the unfamiliarity of the terminology etc referred to in the first point had the same effect. 3. I like the readers voice, but kept feeling like there was something about his reading style that just didn't seem to work with the material for me. It's difficult to pin down, but one explanation that occurred to me was that he often comes off as languidly superior, or trying to sound clever - I don't know. Something about it just set the wrong tone for me, to the extent that I kept finding myself shaking my head in annoyance at his narration. Anyway - that was my experience.

1 person found this helpful

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  • LINKGEO
  • 07-24-15

Accessible Buddhist mentality

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. Gives alternative and practical advice on dealing with a common modern day issue

What did you like best about this story?

The humor the author uses to relate the subject to the listener regardless of there geographical location be it the East or West

Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favourite?

Only a Narrator in this book. The voice was pleasing to listen too and very apt for the subject matter

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Noo. I felt it was better to split the book into smaller chunks to absorb the subject better. I listened in about four sittings.

Any additional comments?

Excellent listen, more practical and useful than one might imagine, easily absorbed by people with little or no history in Eastern philosophy and teaching

6 people found this helpful

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  • D.Fish
  • 01-17-19

Not what I was expecting (10x better)

simply put, this book is easily digestible, accessible and an enjoyable read. well performed too.

2 people found this helpful

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  • GG
  • 10-14-18

Not for beginners at all

I’ve given my best shot to get into this having loved many other books on the subject but this one is too dense and complex for my understanding.
I have up near the end of the read.
This is for the initiated and the advanced in my opinion.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Patrick
  • 09-26-18

Disappointing

This might be full of wisdom but the language is not comprehensible. I mostly remember terms like wind horse and the description of transplanting hearts with the moon

1 person found this helpful

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  • Code7
  • 06-14-18

Couldn’t get into it.

The narrator did a good job but unfortunately the book itself wasn’t something i could relate too. Bit of a weird teaching!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Rosa R.
  • 07-12-20

Engaging from beginning to end

I am very grateful for this book. A clear guide for working with fear. To revisit again and again!

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  • Malin
  • 02-17-20

Strange examples

No, this was not the book for me. Perhaps the author and myself has very different experiences for I couldn’t recognise any of the examples described.
The authors view of fellow humans is a bit sad, really. Since I could not agree with the examples the conclusions was also meaningless to me.

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  • Ceren
  • 01-14-20

Offputting voice...

It is obviously a great teaching but the voice of the speaker feels completely out of tune with the essence of the teaching. It sounds pretentious and bbc like...

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  • Gerald
  • 07-20-18

A bit vague and abstract but useful still

More vague and abstract than his other books but still some very useful, practical teachings to be found within.

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  • SJRod
  • 07-04-17

Tremendous and well read

Once again an amazong amd detailed book which takes you by the hand to overcone and understand your fears. You will not only learn why yours fears affect you emotionally and physically but more importantly how to neutralise them and move on. Recommended

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-14-20

Doesn’t seem to align with Buddhism...

Why all the references to violence and sex? This was quite confusing. There was useful content, just a lot of unnecessary and frankly confusing references.

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  • Kamala
  • 05-03-15

wise wonderful teaching

love the content found naration a little inauthentic sometimes.overall all though very useful book