Sraddhalu Ranade at a beach sunset

Danger, Fear & Transformation

Pico Iyer and Zoila Mendoza discuss the necessity of overcoming fear to achieve transformation in a pilgrimage.


PHIL: Is there a relationship between this amount of danger and fear that has to be overcome and the transformation of the pilgrim?

PICO: All of us know in our daily lives you have to walk right into our fear to come through it. Running away from it never solves the problem, whatsoever. And you mentioned his Holiness the Dalai Lama and I’m often struck that when I travel with him sometimes a heckler will suddenly arrive and start shouting at him. And my impulse would be to run away or to get the body guards to remove that person, but his impulse is always to encounter that, because nothing is gained by avoiding the problem and when you encounter it, it diffuses it and suddenly you find the common ground and you step through your fear into as you said. I mean I love the prefix ‘trans’, whether it’s transcendental, transformation, all of it is about moving beyond out of our limitations.

ZOILA: And I would say more than fear though is the uncertainty, because there is a feeling of uncertainty. That if you actually do it, is it actually going to be as amazing as people say. So when you’ve done it and when you’ve reached the place. The sense of transformation has to do with “yes, I’ve done it and I’ve felt this anxiety, this uncertainty” whether this is an important thing, and it is. And the confirmation that this was a worth it experience is what affects the transformation in them.

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