Terror and Opening Your Heart

Bhairavi Cremation Ground
August 12, 2020

The experience of terror or fright can be used to induce the experience of conceptless, nondual aliveness. Shambhavi talks about the role of fear in direct realization sadhana. A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi

Podcast First Words

There’s actually a lot of writing from the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe about terror and its relationship to awe. Terror has something of a larger size than fear. And according to the European philosophical tradition, there’s something grand about terror. There’s something magnificent about it. In feeling that kind of overwhelm, one also feels a kind of awe of nature and of the size of things that can happen.

This idea of terror really fascinated a lot of European philosophers at one point in history. I don’t really remember the details, but Emmanuel Kant wrote about it. But in any case, there’s sort of something about the shear size and power of it that has a kind of magnificence and awe-inducing factor. This is why we try to induce that feeling when we go to the movies. And it always involves something very, very large or something very grand.

So there’s that aspect when we’re encountering the threat or even the thought of chaos. That’s something that’s so outside of most of our everyday experience.

I think that’s true especially in this country because so many people—especially people who have a lot of privilege—have certain concepts about what this country is, what can happen, what can’t happen, and about stability and democracy. All of that is really getting blown out of the water. Now we’re seeing—if we didn’t see it before—how fragile our system really is. How fragile we are.


Satsang with Shambhavi is a weekly podcast about spirituality, love, death, devotion and waking up while living in a messy world.