In the introduction to this Books for a Better Life Award-winning work, Susan Piver points out that fear has "dared and tested me" in a life where it has been fought and avoided while it has outraged and overwhelmed her. Yet she cannot deny that it was fear that put her on the spiritual path and "has revealed itself as my most profound and uncompromising teacher."

Piver begins her anatomy of fear by looking at its appearance in ourselves, in others, and in the way we approach the world in general. The three main fears, according to Buddhists, are passion, aggression, and ignorance. The three antidotes to these states are tranquility, compassion, and wisdom. An ongoing meditation practice puts us in touch with these powerful energies and helps us nurture the fearlessness that thrives in the present moment and remains reflexive under all circumstances.

Using plenty of examples from her own experience, Piver explores gentleness as a way of dealing with fear of ourselves; delight as a means of handling fear of others; and confidence as providing a stay against being afraid of our own lives. In a chapter on Joy, Piver discusses the Six Paramitas — actions which create a state of happiness.

"When you trust your own happiness, you can allow the entire scope of experience to touch your heart. This is the mark of the spiritual warrior. She can hold sweetness, sorrow, rage, and delight equally and fully. She can watch as emotions rise and fall, notice how she reaches out to some and recoils from other, and know that somehow she'll find a way to make whatever she experiences a part of the path."

Piver concludes this book with A Seven-Day Meditation Program on Freedom from Fear where she presents material on slowing down, self-remembering, intention, change, friendship, and commitment.