Anxiety and fear are constant companions in life for animals, as well as for human beings. Becoming food for a predator is an existential fear that stalks the animal kingdom, but it is not just this fear that human beings engage in. There is fear of failure, fear of being humiliated, fear of being attacked, robbed, raped, or arrested. Fear of being scammed or scapegoated. Fear of loss, fear of injury, fear of illness, and fear of death. There is also the constant undercurrent of anxiety that represents a low level manifestation of fear. We are anxious about being late, about being early, about being laughed at, about whether we will be accepted in a social setting, about whether we will get ahead in our job, or whether we can keep up with our friend circle in terms of material well-being and comfort. We have anxiety about missing out on something and on missing an appointment or a transit schedule. We have all kinds of fears, phobias and anxieties too numerous to mention. Our life is constantly experiencing anxiety and fear and for some people, this can be a paralyzing state of existence.

Dr. Dalal writes: “Besides desire, the vital is the spring of a host of other disturbing feelings. One of the chief vital disturbances is fear. As a rule, human beings are constantly subject to fear, though very few are aware of the continual undercurrent of fear. As the Mother observes:”

“The normal human condition is a state filled with apprehensions and fears; if you observe your mind deeply for ten minutes, you will find that for nine out of ten it is full of fears — it carries in it fear about many things, big and small, near and far, seen and unseen, and though you do not usually take conscious notice of it, it is there all the same.”

Dr. Dalal continues: “It is not surprising, therefore, that anxiety, which is simply ‘fear spread thin’, is the commonest of all psychiatric symptoms.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Introduction, Disturbances Associated with the Vital, pp. xix-xxiv

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and podcast at He is author of 16 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.