In this sprightly volume, Zen teacher Cheri Huber of the Zen Monastery Practice Center in Murphys, California, provides us with an invaluable service — enabling us to see how fear is set up in our minds. Some of us, she points out, see fear as a monster chasing after us. Others are lost in a big house of fears where we constantly encounter one damn thing after another that scares us out of our wits. Others cling desperately to the illusion of safety and security, warding off the unknown which is always looming on the horizon. There are many varieties of fear but they all share one thing in common. And that, writes Huber, is separateness.

“Fear is a very useful signal along the path to freedom,” according to the author. When there is genuine danger in our vicinity, it animates us to swift action. Feet, do your thing! Fear can be an ally, looking out for us. But we have made it into a monster who lives inside our heads and keeps us uneasy.

Huber helps us see that egocentricity, always putting ourselves ahead of others, is what brings about suffering and alienation. She challenges us to bring compassionate awareness to our fears. Sane and user-friendly, this paperback demystifies the boogie man. And best of all, it pokes fun at the shibboleth that imagination is something to fear.