The single greatest factor that holds most of us back from being the person we would love to be, who lives the life we would love to live … is FEAR.
And when it comes to our intimate relationships, fear can raise it’s head big time. Most everyone I know feels some fear of being truly intimate with another human person, let alone being intimate with our mutual Heart Essence. Despite all the romantic songs and films, despite sex being purveyed every which way, our culture does not encourage intimacy.
Why is this? Seems to me there’s almost a taboo against being truly intimate.
Some people use humour to keep their distance from others, to maintain a sense of separation. Masses of people seek amusements of all kinds to distract themselves from feeling deeply. Others take drugs, not just the illegal ones but the socially sanctioned drugs of alcohol and sugar. We live in a sea of shallowness, passing pleasures … and lies.
In a world such as ours, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. But what is the truth?
The truth is, in my experience at least, that intimacy arises when our identification with the feeling of separation (aka egoity) between us dissipates. Intimacy then emerges as our natural state of unconditional love, the silence of our mutual One Heart.
When egoity dies, the intimacy of unconditional love is born
Fear is the primal negative emotion
The fear that stops us walking in front of a bus is healthy. That’s obvious. A similar fear got our ancestors to run away from sabre-toothed tigers. This kind of instinctive fear is essential for our physical survival.
But the fear that stops us enjoying truly intimate relationship, with other people and with our mutual Heart Essence, is neither healthy nor helpful.
Now, let’s look a little deeper. Notice that it’s possible to interpret the physiological symptoms of fear in different ways. In other words we can choose the meaning we make from the symptoms, the story we tell ourselves.
For example, when experiencing the emotional energy that we label as “fear”, our heartbeat may increase, our palms may become sweaty, our stomach may do somersaults, our breathing may become more intense, and so on.
Notice that these symptoms are almost the same whether you feel frightened or excited … hmmm … interesting …
Notice how you feel about these acronyms of F.E.A.R.
1 False Evidence Appearing Real
2 Feeling Excited And Ready
3 F**k Everything And Run!
Notice that you can make whatever meaning you choose from the same four letters.
And notice that the meaning you choose to identify with determines how confident you feel – confident to be the person you would love to be – and confident to take action and live the life you would love to live.
The frozen thought waves of fear
“Phobias” are caused by memories of emotionally charged events, usually, but not always, from childhood, which have become frozen in time by fear. And so they impact on our present moment emotional experience as if the events they represent were still happening.
We could think of this principle as if those thoughts are like waves of an ocean that have suddenly been frozen into a particular form. Because they are frozen, they stop flowing, changing and adapting to their environment. In a sense we could say that they are dead.
Fortunately, the warmth of our conscious love can, if we choose it, unfreeze the thought-waves of fear, which then spontaneously melt back into the ocean of pure consciousness from whence they emerged.
This is how our deepest and most painful fears can effortlessly dissolve, leaving us feeling a blissful calm.
Conscious love melts the frozen thought-waves of fear
The best expression of the essential spirit of releasing our fear through unconditional loving acceptance that I know of, comes through the poetry of the Sufi poet-master Rumi:
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house,
every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness.
Some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
They may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
Meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond …
If you can truly feel the spirit-essence of Rumi’s words, which I for one never tire of reading, then you are already at least half-way there. Combine this spirit with the practical wisdom in my book Break Out of Your Mind and you will have the secret to enjoying a life of timeless freedom.
“Leo encouraged me to face and deal with my fears. Our sessions were relaxed and sprinkled with humour (fears are ridiculous things) but he didn’t let me off the hook in dealing with issues I need to look at. Each time I reflect on my journey, I am truly surprised at the achievements I have made. Leo’s empathetic style means that I feel he genuinely shares my successes and this also contributes to boosting my confidence.”
Claire Coldwell, Ad Astra Career Management Consultants