Reach for the Top!
As we have suggested, not only do you unconsciously resist experiencing fear, you also throw up barriers to joy. Odd as this sounds, your self-definition sets limits on how much love, wealth and happiness you will allow into your experience. It is as valuable to pay attention to your "top limits" as to your responses to fear. Indeed, to successfully deal with one, you will automatically face the other. It is as fulfilling to open to experiences of joy as to those of fear. That doesn't seem so strange does it? You will find it just as challenging though.
As we described in "Life is Nothing Personal", our friend here has grappled with stomach distress throughout the early stages of a new marriage. He has uncovered many of the dependency issues that inspire fear within him as a result. The tension he holds to keep the fear at bay churns his stomach furiously at times. Where though, do those dependency issues come from? From the earliest days of his burgeoning love affair, he has known a deep seated fear. He desperately searched for rationalizations and logical justifications for believing that it was safe to love as fiercely as he found himself wanting to love. It was such a large and sweeping flow of feeling, in the middle of which he found himself. Even though he dearly desired this experience, he had no illusions about being in conscious control of its motion. He was terrified!
Faced with an almost unlimited potential for joy in the immediate moment, he found as many reasons for fear as he found for trust. It seemed necessary to choose repeatedly to continue stepping into a love that held unknown resources of fulfilment and pleasure. It was almost too much for him. Many moments came up where bolting and running seemed a reasonable response; not because he was in danger but because he didn't know how to accept a "reward" that he had not earned. Was there to be a price extracted for this much joy? Immersed in an irrational world, he flailed about in search of the rulebook. To balance this fear of joy while standing firmly in his moments of intense love, he extracted a price of his own making. His rational fear of an irrational reality produced a clutching in his solar plexus which churned his insides until his buried fear and self-doubt rose with his stomach acid into chronic heartburn.
There is no phenomena like the strong bright light of love to bring out the shadows within you. Our friend here has been treated to some of his shadows in just such a way. Dependency is threatening to all of his well practised defences. Therefore, being loved by another becomes an overwhelming stimulant. He occasionally slams the lid on experiencing love from his wife, his children, his friends and even total strangers. He will, at first, deny it to himself, telling himself that their love is untrue or suspect. If that fails or if his "top limit" is a bit higher, he will block the flow of love, cutting it off with a seemingly poorly chosen word or abrupt change of subject. If he genuinely pushes his limits of acceptance, he may actually lash out to cut off the flow when those limits are exceeded. Though this is rare, it is certainly dramatic and easily seen. The defence against love which feels undeserved is as likely to be violent as the defence against more negative experience. Both inspire fear after all.
Having the courage to face happiness, pleasure and love is as much an accomplishment as facing fear and pain. Your cultural imprinting contains many justifications for refusing pleasure, happiness and love. You are not supposed to enjoy your bodies, be happy while others around you know pain or love "inappropriately". You have come to believe that your favourite foods will make you fat, that loving strangers is dangerous, that your happiness will anger other people. Do you have the right to sexual ecstasy? Is it sinful to love cheesecake? How dare you be happy when your Earth strangles in your effluent?
Even now that you are beginning to look at your world as a metaphor for the flow of spirit within, now that you are seeing every moment of your life as a creation of your infinite Self, you carry around baggage of such heavy-handed cultural messages. In truth, these messages are not so much burdens as opportunities to expand beyond your present moment limits. Exploring your "top limits" for joy is a glorious pursuit. No doubt it is challenging as well. Of course, if you did not love a challenge, you would not be here reading these words.
So, let's begin:
In a meditative state as you have practised for so long, open yourself to joy. Imagine yourself in a beautiful place. Everywhere you look, only peace and beauty exist. Feel the soft air on your skin and the comforting warmth of the sun. Open to the full pleasure of your comfortable perch, be it chair or bed or warm sand. Open to the most wonderful emotional experience that you can imagine as well. Feel the loving expansion of that feeling as it fills you with its buoyancy. Open to it as totally as you can. Enjoy it fully. Let your mind be filled with all of the awareness you have ever desired. Let every bit of knowledge you ever wanted fill you. Don't try to grasp any one piece of it or doubt will slip in. Just keep expanding into the great cosmic mind which is who you truly are. Knowing the oneness is a wonderful experience. Let that be yours without holding back. Bask in this experience. If barriers start to rise up, arguments against this experience or doubts and questions about whether you deserve to have it, go back to the imagined scenery and expand outwards once more. For these brief moments, give yourself the experience of simple joy. You are perfectly safe. There is no one to judge you harshly for such 'indulgence'. If you don't find this exercise fun, you really need to practice.
We did not complete the program for overcoming fear in the last chapter because it is the same process for reaching beyond the limits of your sense of worth. Both issues, tied together as they are, respond well to being experienced fully. In both cases, to embrace what 'is' drains the emotional charge so that you can gain a broader perspective. Holding back the joy you feel because you just may not deserve it or be able to handle it or there may be a price to pay for it later, is an expression of fear just as much as running madly from a possible source of pain. It is more fun to push your limits into pleasure. Why not choose to focus your attention here more often? Joy is the end result of opening to your spiritual Self. Your Soul lives in a state of total, unlimited joy. It is this experience which your Soul desires to express into your universe. Every message from your Soul which flows constantly into and through your life, is carried upon a wave of pure joy. To expand into spiritual awareness means opening to this blissful experience. Not bad work if you can get it!
Our program is incredibly simple. Children learn it quite naturally and quite easily. As you have come to grant more validity to the world outside of yourself than to your own feeling experience, you have let this skill atrophy from disuse. You will find it comes back to you with ease once you decide to enjoy life again.
After becoming familiar with your fear responses, experiencing them willingly and with an open heart, you can begin to replace them with a new response or choice. Just as you catch yourself lost in thought while meditating and choose to return to whatever your focus is, you can replace, with just such a choice, any internal experience. You have often derailed your pleasure in this way by replacing it with your fear and the arguments it inspires. Doing the opposite will not be a refusal of that fear or a wrenching away from it. Quite simply, we suggest recognizing and acknowledging the fear and then using your power of choice to take a new direction. Move instead into joy.
Key to moving in a new direction is having a new direction to move into. This is not a decision to leave to the moments of anxiety or trauma, when you might need it most. This focus of attention, "Where do I want to go?" is an ongoing quest. Pursue this quest in your quiet moments. Ask directly in meditative states, "What is my purpose in life? What is my primal intent?" Look upon your life experiences as examples of your fundamental desires in action. These desires are a consistent thread running through the entire fabric of your life. Even when you think you have been pursuing something quite different from your life's purpose, you have expressed that purpose quite clearly.
(Author's Note: Chapter 2 of "Life is Nothing Personal" includes exercises and discussion for discovering your fundamental intent for your life.)
Our friend here has come to learn (in his forties mind you) that his life is powered by his desire to know, to be aware. More specifically, his drive is to know who or what he is. Because he is, in essence, a spiritual being or entity, what he deeply desires is very large and very ethereal. Such large quests can easily be expressed through the entire gamut of human experience; that and so much more. Our friend here has seen that even when he thought he was teaching what he knew, he was learning more of what he is than he knew before. Even in the most mundane actions, he was building his knowledge one excruciating brick at a time. Sometimes he had many pieces at once sliding into place. Such primal desire is the language of the Soul being expressed into three dimensions into your life. It is ever present, conscious or not and it pervades every moment of your existence. It is also the source of all of the fulfilment you experience in life. Every moment of your life which you fill with the glow of joy and love is an expression of this most deep desire enacted. Knowing that desire intimately is the most vital piece of the human puzzle. It hides right under your nose too.
Ask your Self what this desire is. Ask repeatedly and often. Ask as you go through your days; in moments quiet and chaotic. Make this quest your new direction for a while. You will find that even once you find the words that touch this desire within you, you will have an infinity of the implications to explore, each more joyous than the last. This search alone will bring your fears and insecurities to the surface to practice on. "How dare you think you can know your purpose in life? What makes you think you deserve to fulfill your deepest desires?" Such thoughts are common to all humans. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to embrace such thoughts and then choose to replace them with your quest for truth. You know your fears are not the truth of who you are. They are half truths that can never be more than half. The other half is always loving joy.
When next you are offered praise or affection or reward, notice your responses. Do you push the offering away? Do you say, "No thank you!" or do you accept the offering graciously, letting yourself feel fully the pleasure of it? Which response do you find the most fulfilling? Which is most likely to feed your Soul's desire? Watch out for all of the old messages that you "should" do this or that you "must" do that. The messages that lead to shame and guilt, that urge you to be humble and self-sacrificing, these are not the impulses of your Soul. These messages are your fear that you do not deserve, are not enough, that you have collected like stamps or coins or cards as you have gone through life. Your Soul has one simple desire which drives you through life. Embracing that desire and giving yourself permission to fulfill that desire, trusting your Soul to lead you along the way, makes these messages meaningless and without power. You will not open yourself to pain, now or later, by following your primal desire. You do not risk eternal damnation or judgement. You do not risk the collapse of the life you have built. This desire has always been expressed through your life. By becoming a conscious participant in this expression you risk only joy and fulfilment.
So, find and replace, find and replace. Go looking for fear and replace it with joy. Fear lurks in every experience, it is intrinsic to creation. Find it and replace it with your desire fulfilled. Your Soul has no need of your pain. You do not need to suffer in order to know joy. Your Soul desires only the loving joy of expressing itself into form. You create your pain by resisting this inexorable thrust into form. By holding back from expressing your true desire, you create all of your suffering, physical, emotional and mental. Yes, this desire is passionate. It drives your life after all. It is so powerful a force that the very idea of you rallies around it as it coalesces into physical existence. That is pretty scary stuff; way beyond your control. It is ridiculous to stand against such a powerful motion. Still, you do that often, letting your fears, great and small, bring you to a near halt. You make a choice in every moment. Whether that choice is to express your deepest desire or to refuse it is entirely up to you. Blindly ignoring the choice doesn't stop it from taking place. You can make this a conscious choice any time you decide to. You are safe to choose joy and fulfilment.
As you go through your days, your concept of who you can be goes through many transformations. From the mundane to the sublime, your attention to your aspirations expands your sense of Self. Who you can be becomes who you are, bit by bit. Giving your attention to your aspirations shifts your attention away from limitations that you believe that you have. Such practice becomes a statement that you CAN be who you want to be; a very powerful statement indeed. Even your most physical aspirations, be they wealth or fame or social acceptance or freedom from pain, can become expressions of who you are, given enough attention, energy and passionate intent.
If you look past the details of your daily life for a moment and contemplate a more universal theme, the question "Who Am I?" inevitably arises. We have offered you our perspective on this question repeatedly. You are God! You have created the entire experience of life on Earth and immersed yourself in it. Not one speck of your experience has been thrust upon your from outside of your Self. That is how large you really are. Of course, our telling you this does not answer the question does it? That only you can do. That is the challenge. It is not simply pleasure that we challenge you to allow and experience. It is the wholeness of who you are that calls to you through us. In the deepest recesses of your psyche, you crave wholeness. You crave knowing who you are in your totality. You ARE totality. You need not let anything stand in the way of embracing that lofty awareness, not even your fear.
In past books, we have told you that in every moment you stand before God (figuratively speaking) and state loudly "I AM This!" That statement is the present moment culmination of all that you hold true, consciously and unconsciously. God responds (figuratively speaking) by showing you a world both inner and outer that fulfills that statement. Imagine your Soul telling God in this moment who you are, a statement perfectly reflected in your world. If you fill that statement with the power of your focused attention on who you want to be, instead of who you are afraid you might be or think you have been, your world will change. Stand alongside your Soul and tell God that you are who you most truly want to be and let God shed his grace on thee.
This is not an unreachable experience we suggest here. Your Soul already has this awareness. It thrusts it into every infinitesimal aspect of creation. You are never separated from the wholeness of your Self except by your own choice. Just like the experience of pain, as you recognize that you stand apart from your deepest Self, denying what you desire most, make that new choice, open to the thrust into life of your Soul's desire. Simply state that desire. You can say, "Thy will is my will", or as we prefer, "I AM!" However you define this most exalted vision of who you are, one moment at a time, be your Soul. Embrace and allow the fullness of the moment. Experience your Self without resistance. Passionately pursue your heart's desire. Trust in the God that you are.
How To Make Your Dreams Come True
Step #1 Foster a belief that it is possible.
Step #2 Foster a belief that you deserve it.
Step #3 Choose what your dreams really are.
Step #4 Imagine the feeling of your dreams fulfilled.
Step #5 Live your life from within that feeling.
Step #6 Foster an Attitude of Gratitude.
Step #7 Get out of your own way!
On to Chapter 3:
Journeys Archive |
Guestbook | Home