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How fear can open a door to wholeness

 

“When there is an openness to fear, where can it be found? What a strange creature fear is. It exists only when there is resistance to its existence! When you stop and open to what you have resisted throughout time, you find that fear is not fear. Fear is energy. Fear is space. Fear is the Buddha. It is Christ's heart knocking at your door."-- Gangaji

In some ways we are immensely strong and enduring. When I think of some of the tribulations -- and triumphs -- I have experienced in my life I am amazed at what I have come through, the unconquerable spirit that was present.

And yet paradoxically, in some ways each of us inhabits a human self that is also extraordinarily fragile and vulnerable.

For example, in these latter years of my life, though I love the stillness and peace of my own being with ever increasing passion --  and find in my being the meaning and joy for which I longed my whole life -- fear still arises.

Perhaps it is because I was a child in the Blitz in London. Perhaps it is because my father was given to sudden bouts of unpredictable rage. Perhaps it's simply because I was born, like you, into this human condition.

But sometimes something quite trivial -- a small health problem perhaps --begins to magnify in me and I begin to worry.

What do we do when fear knocks?

I have learned that what is truly important in life is not that worry or fear come knocking at our door. It is what we do when this happens.

Do I try to ignore my fear? Do I get in a funk because fear or worry has shown up in my life? Do I think to myself, "I can’t be a very spiritual person if I feel fear?"

Or do I realize that fear is actually a door to wholeness and love -- an opportunity to experience more fully the gifts of a loving universe?

It is a little bit of ourselves wanting to come home, as Gangaji says in her beautiful quote. It is a piece of frozen energy someone labelled as "evil" that has been wandering the world long enough and yearns to be met with an attitude of acceptance.

What to do with fear? Be willing to accept it. Be willing to feel it and ultimately to forgive it as you stay true to the beautiful Love of your own true character. Fear is transformed when you and I let this mysterious, supposedly hostile entity be blessed and set free in our Love.

Fear has been an outcast long enough

Fear has been an outcast long enough. Of course, I’m not speaking here about “biological” fear, the response to physical danger that is hardwired into our body for its survival. I'm speaking about the psychological fears, big or small, often imaginary, that can sap our creative purpose and spirit.

Ultimately, fear is not a challenge to our true strength or peace or well-being. As I say, it is a call for help -- a part of ourselves desperate to come home.

It wants to find peace in me. It wants to find peace in you. And it wants to make us whole, because we are here not only to experience joy and bliss. We are here to grow, and evolve – and transform through our own true presence of Love the fear that has dominated human existence. 

Please write. I'd love to know your thoughts on this topic.

Starting to feel your age? Please click here to know more about how aging is not something to be feared, but is rightly a door to increased meaning and happiness at any age.

Picture credit:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2455/3843854098_4f37b6f802.jpg

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

The Vizier June 6, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Hi Christopher,

It is amazing. We are capable of great feats and yet we are also very fragile. And this realization that we are not invincible, that we can be hurt, that we can lose what is dear to us and so on…this fear makes us vulnerable. Yet fear is a part of life. There is no escape from it.

Even so, courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to act in spite of it. In truth, there is nothing to fear but fear itself. Fear always seems more formidable in the darkest parts of our minds. But if we drag it out into the light, we will find that it is not so fearsome after all. The key is to confront our fears and master it.

Thank you for sharing this lovely article! 🙂

Irving the Vizier
The Vizier recently posted..The Soul of Meaningful Purpose

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Christopher Foster June 7, 2011 at 9:45 am

Thank you Irving. You write so clearly. I hope you know you have a real gift. I do so agree with you, that courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to act in spite of it. Beautifully put.

I suppose ultimately fear is like anything else, it can be used rightly so to speak, or it can be used wrongly. We can try to hide from it or (I love these words) “we can drag it out into the light.” Uncomfortable as it may be, how much better to bring it into the light. Maybe this is what fear is longing for all the time!

I do believe that at the end of the day we will find fear is one of our best friends. Not a demon, but a help as we experience more deeply the ageless masterpiece who we truly are. Blessings.

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Barbara June 7, 2011 at 4:35 am

“Fear is transformed when you and I let this mysterious, supposedly hostile entity be blessed and set free in our Love.”
It can truly be a blessing as it is our built in warning system and yes, how we react to it determines how it affects our lives.

I am a cancer survivor and felt great fear when I heard that diagnosis. I could have just crumbled. I did all I was supposed to do, and just continued to live my life. It has been 10 years now and I am still going forward.

I must say, I am going forward with more appreciation of life. My fear of cancer brought this about. I cannot say that my fear regarding the disease is totally out of my life, even after these 10 years. There are small lurking doubts, but I cannot let them rule my life. I have too much I want to do!

As The Vizier stated: “The key is to confront our fears and master it.”
Barbara recently posted..Thank You For Today

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Christopher Foster June 7, 2011 at 9:29 am

I am deeply touched by your words Barbara. I remember a quote I heard or read long ago from the Africa explorer, Dr. Livingstone (“Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”). He said, “I will go anywhere, as long as it be forward.”

I just want to say I really celebrate both your amazing life and your remarkable spirit. Well done. A privilege to know you and every blessing as you continue in your journey.

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Tracey June 7, 2011 at 9:59 am

This morning I had faced something I had been very afraid to face for a long time. I had felt good about letting go of this fear, but still ambivalent as I have lived with this “false positive,” as I’ve come to think of it, for a long time.

Then I came here and read your words. Now I know in my heart facing this fear and letting this “false positive” go were the right actions. I feel more open, more committed to my loved ones and my life because I am just a bit more whole and authentic.

All I can say is “Thank you.”

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Christopher Foster June 7, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Tracey, it’s a privilege to share these words. Thank you for your heartfelt comment and for your longing to be more whole and authentic. I believe the entire universe is supporting you and each one of us in this.

Your words make me think of the synchronicity or true magic of life, and I know for sure that as you continue in your new path allies both seen and unseen will be there to help you. We are not alone in this world though sometimes it can seem to be that way. Blessings to you on your journey and I’d love to keep in touch.

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Teyah July 2, 2011 at 8:03 pm

There’s a terrific amount of knowledge in this article!

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Gail Brenner (AFlourishingLife) June 7, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Chris,

You speak with so much kindness and compassion about fear. It is such a common experience, yet it seems to have so much power over us. I love how you say that fear yearns to be met with acceptance. It’s that simple movement of turning to face it that can change everything.

I sometimes notice fear hiding out in the shadows of my awareness – and in my body. When I breathe and allow, the resistance ends – along with the problem.
Gail Brenner (AFlourishingLife) recently posted..Are You Rationing Love

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Christopher Foster June 8, 2011 at 9:39 am

Your words are wise and penetrating Gail. Thank you so much. Tension, which I suppose is an aspect of fear, can creep in so silently, quite unobserved because we are so used to its presence. I’m reminded again of the gift of abdominal breathing. It’s remarkable how every time I do it, and breathe, as you say — I’m aware of tension lifting. But I didn’t realize the tension was there until I stopped my resisting…

So happy to share your thoughts here Gail. A hug.

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Phil D. Malmstrom June 7, 2011 at 7:44 pm

What a perfectly wonderful character you’ve put on fear Christopher… The proverbial “prodigal son” as it were. 🙂

You’re right of course, that for spiritual and emotional growth in our lives, we need fear. It balances and tempers our Faith and understanding, and forces us to take paths we might not have had we remained untested. In the end, how we address our fear is one of the defining portions of our inner selves.

Wonderful post my friend.

Have a Blessed Day!
Phil D. Malmstrom recently posted..Go Rest in the Word

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Christopher Foster June 8, 2011 at 9:32 am

Phil, thanks. This is brilliant. The “prodigal son.” Honestly, I think this is an exciting way to look at this strange phenomenon of fear that has plagued humanity (and me) for so long.

Do you suppose we would know Love more fully and more completely if the “prodigal son” ie fear does come home, so to speak, and we discover that fear is Love in disguise? Perhaps fear as we have known it hitherto would cease to exist?

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Tess The Bold Life June 8, 2011 at 7:34 am

Christopher my enlightened friend. I’m embracing fear…I’m coming home! xoxo
Tess The Bold Life recently posted..Finding Mr Right- It’s All About Love part 2

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Christopher Foster June 8, 2011 at 9:12 am

Tess, you’re wonderful. Doing my best to keep up with you.

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Patti Foy | Lightspirited Being June 8, 2011 at 5:28 pm

Hi Christopher,

So happy to see you cover this topic. Fear is quite the boogey-man, isn’t it? And who better to have sharing about it than you. I always love hearing your thoughts about things.

Over the past years I’ve discovered that fear really is at the core of ALL of my discomfort. And I love Gangaji and her messages. I used to do what you/she says, and it was so helpful. But I’d no more than turn around and there it was again. Scaring me! 😉

Yet the most effective teaching/practice I’ve found is that of John Sherman (who used to be involved with Gangaji, but now shares a simple way that we can get to “where Gangaji is” in a manner of speaking.) Here’s the deal: You simply “look at yourself” as he calls it. At you. The you you’ve always been, that never changes. You do this whenever you think to do it. (I know you know what I’m talking about. ;-)) And eventually the fear just dissolves. I’ve been watching this happen in my life ever since I began doing it. It’s kind of amazing. I could discuss why I think that is, but this is just a comment after all!

Thanks for asking for our thoughts. I appreciate being able to share this here where you always get such inspiring discussions going.

Lots of blessings to you, sweet friend!
Patti Foy | Lightspirited Being recently posted..Enjoy Each Moment to the Fullest – 4 Potent Questions

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Christopher Foster June 9, 2011 at 10:17 am

Dear Patti,

I read your comment last evening and loved it so much. I found John Sherman on the web and printed out one of his offerings. Just a couple of paras, but so simple and so utterly beautiful. I just love his words.

Talk about synchronicity. You know what comes up for me Patti? There is one wisdom and one truth emerging and on the move and it is who we truly are.

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subhorup dasgupta June 8, 2011 at 11:42 pm

Hi Happy Seeker,

I began reading your blog only recently. It is entirely mystic that you posted on this topic, since it has been a major contributor to my personal growth in the recent months, and I wanted to share it with all your readers.

Things began to change for me a couple of years back as I struggled emotionally and financially with a divorce that wiped me out entirely in legal fees, closing mortgages, etc. My darkness saw me relapse into drug use after 17 years, and I was left with no choice but to lock myself up in a treatment center that I could barely afford. My stay there was therapeutic only to the extent that I made it so, having been trained in the healing arts while working with the terminally ill in my younger days. I was traumatized to the core by the five months that I stayed there, and to date I find it hard sometimes to pray for my tormentors.

Following this came another blow when my family and I were slapped with a criminal case that was obviously and ridiculously false, but the upholders of the law of the land didn’t think so. I landed up in jail, something that was even more unthinkable than the charges themselves against my nearly 80-year-old academician parents, my partner and me. I was released on bail, and in spite of bankruptcy, I went about negotiating an out-of-court settlement, so that all of us could move on with our lives and not spend all our time and energy, not to speak of money, trudging through the corridors of the legal system.

Through all of these months, I was repeatedly forced to confront my fears. I feared being deprived of my freedom and being ill treated. As I found myself incarcerated in two different situations, I learned the true meaning of freedom. I reflected on my financial situation and found that it was a major source of worry and fear.

I have always wanted to be able to dedicate myself to writing and the fine arts. Yet, in the pursuit of material comfort, these had disappeared from my life. I had a job that paid me reasonably well and understanding employers who saw me through my tribulations with compassion. However, my job demanded all my attention, and I had no time to pursue either writing or art without being unfair to my employer. Jobs are hard to find in these times, and my family depended upon my earnings. Further, my ethical structure did not permit me to search for a less demanding job and then walk up to my employer of 13 years and tell him that I was quitting.

In short, I was afraid.

As I looked at my fear, I was able to put my learning of the last two years to use, and I asked my heart what I should do. I received a reply, throw yourself into what you desire, and trust the universe to support you. I shared this with my loved ones, and I was dismissed as lunatic. Being loved ones, they also agreed to support me in my lunacy.

I quit my job a few months back, with no savings, huge debts, and no tangible revenue stream. We have had a few tragic emergencies in the weeks following, and we have repeatedly been thrown back into fear. Yet, all our needs have been met to date, and there is no rational explanation for it. I continue to persevere with my writing and painting, and my family helps create moments of contentment and togetherness to support me in my endeavor. Have I started making any money from my writing and art? No. But then it is writing and painting that I chose, not making money, that will come when it is time. Do I see light at the end of the tunnel? No. I don’t. But then, I don’t see a tunnel either. I see abundance, and I see fulfillment of a long overdue commitment to myself.

A very long comment, this one. But needed to put all of this out so that my learning from “embracing” my fear could be placed in perspective. Thanks again, and may all your readers find all that they need, and seek that which is truly worthy of being sought.
subhorup dasgupta recently posted..Angel In Blue

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Christopher Foster June 9, 2011 at 10:07 am

Dear Subhorup,

First of all, thank you so much for sharing your remarkable story here. It is very touching and also very inspiring.

I want to support you in listening to your heart and facing your fear, and especially in your brave choice to do what you LOVE to do. Write and paint. I have to believe the universe will support you and this support will be full and rounded, it will include the material support and abundance that we all need to not only subsist in this world but to offer our true gift ever more abundantly.

Our gift is Love, ultimately, isn’t it, Subhorup — finding its own unique forms thru each one of us. Blessings and hugs.

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Daniel M. Wood June 9, 2011 at 7:16 am

This was a completely new way of thinking to me, but I believe it is true.
“We have nothing to fear but fear itself” if we accept that fear, what happens then?

I think you might be right to say that it does become less.
Daniel M. Wood recently posted..How to Find the Right Mindset to Succeed With Time Management

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Christopher Foster June 9, 2011 at 9:53 am

Thanks for sharing Daniel. Good to touch in with you again.

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Sabine June 9, 2011 at 2:24 pm

I feel that you say wise and true words, even though I do not know yet, how to bring some of my fear-stuck energy home!

I would like to recommend to you and your readers the Art-Project @1Q365A on twitter – One Question, 365 Answers. The question is: What are you afraid of? The answer is written, painted or a drawing about one person’s fear for every day, published in twitter.

Since I wrote one of my problems, it did not come back again – speak out loud what scares you, and it will go away, really!

Thank you for your work, it is good for me to read! Yours, Sabine (becoming 50 soon, feeling like 25)

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Christopher Foster June 9, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Thank you Sabine, so much. This sounds like a great idea. I think that’s exciting that you vanquished (dissolved) one of your problems so easily. Good for you. Stay with it. Blessings.

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Joe @ shake off the grind June 12, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Christopher,

Fear is something we must learn to face and understand. I have learned that uncovering what I really fear is a key. Often I have fear emerge though I’m not quite sure what it’s from.

I have learned to identify what it is I’m afraid of in the moment and this helps me to surmount my fear. For instance, my fear may be about me never being good enough. Once I realize this I can begin coming to come to terms with this limiting thought.

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Christopher Foster June 15, 2011 at 12:14 pm

It’s a joy to welcome you here Joe. This is a powerful lesson that you share with us. Thanks, good luck, and God Bless.

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Colleen June 12, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Oh golly Christopher I smiled when I saw your post on fear. I love your gentle energy around fear. I have been in the throes of fear myself as I have been proceeding in new and expanded ventures and as I rested in the shadow of Grace I too found that the hungry bears of fear, as intimidating as they seem, are my friends, nothing more than my thoughts awakening me to what I have been feeding.
Thanks for your gentle reminder.

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Christopher Foster June 15, 2011 at 12:10 pm

So beautifully put Colleen. Yes, there may be bears out there, but what they are really after (besides honey I suppose) is our love.

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Sibyl June 12, 2011 at 9:56 pm

Love this post and this message Chris. Fear really is meant to be transformed. I loved how you pointed out that we shouldn’t resent it and the problem is not when it comes to our door, but when we don’t deal with it properly. I think that is such an important thing to remember. It is okay to have fear, but you have to work through it and transcend it. It is meant to be overcome. Great post.

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Christopher Foster June 15, 2011 at 12:05 pm

I love feeling a sense of connection with you Sibyl. Thank you for your words and thank you for the very special spirit you share with your world. Blessings.

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Hilary June 19, 2011 at 6:05 am

Hi Christopher .. what a wonderful post with amazing comments .. such a good read, while reminding us to find our balance of life .. which will include fear at times – there’s so much to learn from here – thank you … Hilary

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Christopher Foster June 20, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Hilary, I’m so glad you found the post and comments a good read. Thank you for taking the time to write.

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Jonas July 20, 2011 at 3:25 am

Hi Christopher,

I think fear is one of the most important pointers we have towards well-being.
Fear shows us our values, our priorities, our model of the world. Very often we exaggerate the fear of what might happen, to the point where it seems the world would end.

“Ask yourself what problem you have right now. Not next year or tomorrow or in five minutes from now. You can always cope with the Now, but you can never cope with the future – nor do you have to.” – Eckhart Tolle

Jonas

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Christopher Foster July 21, 2011 at 9:10 am

Thank you Jonas, it’s a pleasure to hear from you. I appreciate your thoughts on this universal experience we call feark. What a great quote from Eckhart. Be well.

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nel September 27, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Christopher, I am amazed at the cleverness, insightfulness and beauty of your readers. What a wonderful community you have created through sharing your loving thoughts. I feel privileged to be a among you all.

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Christopher Foster September 28, 2011 at 11:38 am

Thank you for your kind words Nel. It’s a real pleasure to receive such input. Yeah, I think it’s a great bunch of readers too… blessings…

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