What is fear? We know fear produces certain physical reactions such as an elevated heart rate and shallow breathing. But are these reactions really fear? No, they are the effects of fear.
What causes fear in the first place? Fear is the result of separation (separation either consciously or subconsciously) from the One who is all-knowing, all-powerful, universal and ever present. If people truly believed that they were united with the One, nothing could come against them to cause fear. As the scriptures say, their faith would move mountains. Here are some examples of the kinds of fear caused by separation from the One:
Fear of failure. Everyone has gifts and talents that are unique to them. Whether they express these gifts and talents is a different story. Many people do not because of their fear of failure.
Fear of success. In their heart of hearts, many people do not want to be successful. Why? Because of the responsibilities and burdens that come with success, including the burden of continuing to be successful. Hollywood has a field day with this subject (i.e., movies about the author who wrote the great novel, but is afraid to write another one for fear of failure).
Fear of what other people think. This fear centers on a concern that if you expose your true self to others, you will not be accepted. And because people want to feel accepted, they build a carefully constructed public image so they can hide and escape judgment and ridicule. This has created what some people call a society of imitators in terms of what clothes we wear, what cars we drive, what jobs we want, etc.
The only way to address fear is to face it. Running away from fear only perpetuates it. First, determine what it is that you fear, and then determine why. Remember your practices will be a great help. Meditation, contemplation, prayer work, and chanting all create a furnace that will burn away fear as your connection to the higher levels of consciousness, and ultimately the One, increases and your sense of separation evaporates.