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Going beyond fear

"Going beyond fear begins when we examine our fear: our anxiety, nervousness, concern, and restlessness. If we look into our fear, if we look beneath the veneer, the first thing we find is sadness, beneath the nervousness. Nervousness is cranking up, vibrating all the time. When we slow down, when we relax with our fear, we find sadness, which is calm and gentle. Sadness hits you in your heart, and your body produces a tear. Before you cry, there is a a feeling in your chest and then, after that, you produce tears in your eyes. You are about to produce rain or a waterfall in your eyes and you feel sad and lonely and perhaps romantic at the same time. That is the first tip of fearlessness, and the first sign of real warriorship. You might think that, when you experience fearlessness, you will hear the opening to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony or see a great explosion in the sky, but it doesn't happen that way. Discovering fearlessness comes from working with the softness of the human heart." --Chogyam Trungpa

I have been reading self-help books one after another. A few from my vast collection are "A New Earth," "Awaken the Giant Within," "The Happiness Hypothesis," "Tao Te Ching" among so many others. The most recent book I have stuck my nose in is "Broken Open" - recommended by Oprah, of course. I guess I find the need to read these books because there seems so much more to life than what I experience, and I want to learn to sink to the deeper level; to suck every last juicy bit out of this life.
The book I'm reading now talks about fear. I had to stop and think about my life and how much fear it contains. It's ridiculous! I can't think of anything I'm NOT afraid of...I guess I'm not afraid of dying. I never have been. But the list of fears is endless... not being good enough, not having enough, protecting my heart so no one hurts me, and the list goes on.

I'm also afraid of showing people who I truly am. Why? Because then they will know I am imperfect. (SHOCK!) They will see all the scars my heart has and see the bumpy road I have traveled and maybe they will judge me. But people judge me regardless. That is something I need to remember - it doesn't matter because I am being judged regardless. Would I rather have them judge me based on the cold, quiet wall I've built to keep them out, or would I have them see the real me in all my broken glory and maybe even feel a kinship with me because no one is perfect. No one can claim to have the perfect life, the perfect morals, ideals, relationships; perfect anything. I think about a postcard I saw once on - and it haunts me now and then. It was a picture of someone with tatoos and peircings all over their face and underneath it said, "I don't do it so people look; I do it so people don't look too closely."

Isn't that how most people are? They don't want to be seen for their imperfections and so when you ask someone "how are you?" and they say "fine" even though maybe their heart is breaking or maybe they are angry as hell. So, why do we feel compelled to say "fine?"

People judge other people, whether we like it or not. But who cares, really? We are all human with the same human emotions and problems and imperfections. I think it's time for everyone to be real with one another.


  • Rose 6 years ago

    I love the honesty and truth of this article. I recently read “A New Earth”, in hopes of finding a ‘better way’. This past weekend I asked my husband what he feared. I was curious because I think he and I fear very little. I don’t feel I fit in with others concerning fear. It seems they often talk about their fears – spiders, snakes, lost jobs, etc. The biggest emotion I feel is anger – at myself for not ‘being more’ and at others for their apathy. One of the few fears I recognize in myself is my fear of not living my life to the fullest.

  • Chris 6 years ago

    Fear is a hateful thing. It can stop you dead in your tracks. Sometimes I feel paralyzed and cannot imagine taking one step forward. It can let all the wind out of your sails and leave you in dry dock for days, months, sometimes even years. I remember being so afraid to apply for a job at McDonalds, afraid to go back to school, being so afraid when the studly football player asked to walk me home and I said No out of plain fear, being afraid to apply for my dream job when I was oh-so qualified, and fear when I finally met my soulmate thinking nobody in this world would come close to my expectations. It was a hard pill to swallow that the only thing that stopped me from reaching my goals was my fears. I cried many tears and felt the hollowness when I realized the fears were unwarranted. Later in my life I learned that fear was burning my bridges. So I decided that every time fear came knocking, I would open the door and meet it face to face. Oh! What power that gave me. I felt so free of that weight constantly on my back. I now personally give my self a pat on the back when I have kicked aside the fear and moved forward. Baby steps always but it brings giant leaps. I always felt alone with my struggles, thinking everyone was better than me. Now I realize I am in the same boat as everyone else is. I just don't sink the boat with my low self-confidence. Now I can keep it afloat when fear isn't my anchor. As a parent I encourage my children to talk about their fears and figure out ways to deal with it before it reaches the insurmountable mountain.

    In the book that I am reading is this quote "If you spent your life concentrating on what everyone else thought of you, would you forget who you really were? What if the face you showed the world turned out to be a mask.... with nothing beneath it?" Jodi Picoult, "Nineteen Minutes"