This is a post about Fear…what it really is.
Not little-f-fear of the things we should actually be afraid of, like the proverbial runaway bus that’s heading straight for us, or any other fear that pertains to our immediate physical survival. That is essential fear, and paying attention to it is what allowed our species to survive and evolve from early humans onward.
At this point in time, for most of us reading this blog, the Fear — big-F-Fear — is a spiritual Fear. It is not about survival, but about living in the fullest expression of ourselves. It is not about whether we continue to exist on a daily basis, but the extent to which we are living as we know we should. It is about the Fear we have, mostly unconscious, of really showing up in our lives.
The (mostly) unconscious quality of our Fear leads to procrastination and resistance. It makes it difficult for us to settle, so we exhibit “shiny object syndrome” where we get distracted easily. While a certain number of us may have clinical symptoms of ADD that make it harder to focus, at the root of it all is a restlessness and inability to be still and feel what is beneath so much of our experience.
Fear keeps us distracted. It keeps us striving. It keeps us avoiding. It keeps us busy. It exhausts us, because we are busy but do not accomplish anything, not really. Not the real work that our soul is asking us to do.
Now, however, in the pursuit of living our fullest life, living the way we can, as humans, Fear is something we must integrate on a spiritual and practical level. As Seth Godin likes to say, we must learn to dance with our Fear.
And what is it that we are truly afraid of?
It is a Fear of our Divinity. Of what that really means.
As humans, we now live in an era when for many of us, our survival is more than guaranteed. I realize that this is not a universal truth yet, due to violence in the form of generalized terrorism as well as targeted violence against certain groups of people. There are also conditions in parts of the world where physical survival is not at all a “given” the way it is here in the West, as well as deficient conditions of awareness everywhere that make healthy survival for many people difficult at best, and deeply traumatizing at worst.
It is precisely for these reasons that we for whom survival is a given have a responsibility now to address the truth of our Fears, and live in the most expanded way possible.
Hear me out.
Our frontier, as it’s always been, is to expand to our greatest capacities. For us now living in the West — privileged with many choices about how we spend the resources of our lives — our “frontier” is on the level of consciousness, of Self.
To allow ourselves to be stopped by our Fear of making a choice, of deciding to become who we want to be, or who we know we are; to allow ourselves to believe that we’re not worthy of what we want or who we are; to allow ourselves to believe that what we want is not important, is not valuable or valued, does not contribute to the betterment of the world (“Who am I to do this work?”): These feel very real to us, and yet, they are merely the indulgence of an illusion.
The illusion is that we, with our little-s-self, are more “real” than our capital-S-Self, the Divine. That our Fears are more important than the Divine work that we are here to do. The Divine work of knowing the difference between the fear that serves us and keeps us alive, and the Fear that keeps us FROM living.
The illusion that listening to our imaginary fears, as real as they seem to us, is more important than listening to the Divine messages that come to us.
And what do our Divine messages look like?
Knowing what we should do = Divine message.
Not doing it = Fear.
Feeling a Desire = Divine message.
Suppressing it = Fear.
Hearing our voice inside = Divine message.
Ignoring it, talking ourselves out of it, rationalizing it away = Fear.
When we decide to make our Fears more important than our Divine messages, we are making ourselves more important than God. (When I say God, I mean the Divine, the Universe, Source…not a Judeo-Christian, monotheistic patriarchal paradigm of God.) We are making our little operating systems, the species that has evolved over millennia and still lives and dies over a lifespan of 79 years on average (in the U.S.), more important than that which has existed before us, that from which we come and to which we return, that which we have always been and are still, even in this form.
The implications of this are critical. Not just to our experience of life, but to the benefit of all living things — our fellow humans, animals, plants, and earth. The level to which we are willing to grow ourselves and see our Fears for what they are — illusions from our little-s-self, not truth from the Divine — this is what allows us to show up fully. Not just in our own lives, but for the lives of all Divine beings, ALL forms that inhabit the earth, and the earth itself.
When I tell you that it is a moral and spiritual imperative that we deal with our shit, face our Fears, wake up and be who the Divine is asking each of us to be, I mean it with all the power of the Universe.
It is not self-indulgent to follow your Truth. It is self-indulgent NOT to.
Now, as for how to do this.
The simplest answer is the following:
- Call BS on yourself
I say both of these with the greatest love. If you are not willing to call BS on yourself when you indulge your Fears, you will never, ever wake up from them. They will keep you in their grip.
Ultimately, you will always be right with God. As the Divine being that you are, you will always be Divine, no matter your actions on earth. But your greatest calling as a human IS to serve the Divine that seeks to live through you. The way you allow that or impede that is completely up to you.
The most direct way to touch and know the Divinity that we are is to meditate.
Not with any particular mantra or effortful practice, but to simply sit, and allow everything to be exactly as it is.
In doing this, the thoughts and chatter of the mind will continue, even as you observe them. Thoughts are like the churning surface of the ocean in the midst of a storm, while the Divine is the vast stillness of the lowest depths. They are one body, but the churning surface is only one tiny aspect of the vast oceanic stillness. It is NOT the Truth of the ocean.
Feeling the Truth of our Divinity is one way to counteract the allure of our Fears, and to keep from becoming captivated by them. The other way is to see and call BS on the Fears when they show up: as procrastination, resistance, self-effacement, self-doubt.
Because when we allow the Truth of our Divinity to stand, everything else falls away. “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.” (A Course in Miracles)
Finally, when we tune in so completely to the Truth of who we are, and we live accordingly, we become instruments of the Divine. Our lives become incredibly rich because of the flow of energy that we are allowing. Life becomes easy, even the parts that are difficult; we know that difficulties, even the most unbearable ones, pass; they are not the Truth of who we are, as “real” and really experienced as they are in the moment.
Most importantly, as we live from our Divinity, we extend this possibility to others who may doubt that it is possible for them. When we live as Truth, not illusion, and use the Divine power that is available to all of us to create the life we want (which is Divinely-guided, as the desires that guide us to create are the whisperings of the Divine), then we bring that gift to others. We bring a clear presence which is felt energetically. We bring an example of an empowered life, one that is not guided by Fear. We live what is possible for everyone.
Ultimately, we will all get there. The choice we have is whether we will get there before the final moments of our physical life. As my spiritual teacher Adyashanti says, “You will let go when you let go — usually when nothing else works.” If you look at your life, and you see that “nothing is working”…
Maybe it’s time to let go?