Underlying hatred, underlying any cruel act or word, underlying all dehumanizing, there is always fear—the utter groundlessness of fear. This fear has a soft spot. It hasn’t frozen yet into a solid position. However much we don’t like it, fear doesn’t have to give birth to aggression or the desire to harm ourselves or others. When we feel fear or anxiety or any groundless feeling, or when we realize that the fear is already hooking us into “I’m going to get even” or “I have to go back to my addiction to escape this,” then we can regard the moment as neutral, a moment that can go either way.
From Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears by Pema Chödrön, page 70