by Matt Licata
Rather than going to war with fear – and deeming it a mistake or problem that you must eliminate, transform, or transcend – the invitation is to enter into relationship with it. Fear has been wired into your nervous system for millions of years and is unlikely to be undone in a few decades through spiritual process. You can rest in the strong likelihood that fear may arise most every day for the rest of your life, in some form or another. Welcome. You are alive.
Look very carefully inside your present experience. Is fear a problem? Is the surging of sensation, feeling, and intensity within you something you must continue to argue with, to shame, and to subject to the movement of self-aggression? Must you continue to tell stories about how it is the “opposite” of love (as if love had an “opposite”) and that as soon as you are no longer scared, then you will fully show up and participate in life, in relationship, in your own vulnerability?
Is it actually the appearance of fear that is the cause of your struggle and suffering? That wavelike movement of felt sense as it ripples through your belly, your throat, your chest, and your shoulders? Or does the struggle emerge from the abandonment and rejection of the life as it moves through you? As well as from the unexamined conclusions that its mere presence is evidence of a problem that must urgently be solved, that there is something wrong with you, and that you have failed?
Yes, fear may be a fierce and burning companion, but it is not an enemy that has come from the outside. It is a lost part of you that is requesting your attention, arising in the radiant here and now to reveal something that you have lost contact with.
With practice, it is possible to enter inside your fear, and to infuse it with your presence, with your tenderness, your curiosity, and your warmth. To even open your heart to your fear, to become friends with your fear. Of course, this is a radical invitation that the mind may have a difficult time embracing. It is also one that may not go over so well in a culture that has abandoned the shadow in its scramble to get to “happiness” at all costs.
But as an act of self-love, you can start to open into your fear. First, drop the word “fear” as it can never touch the unprecedented movement of energy and color within you. Surround it with your awareness. And start to move just a bit closer. And see. Close enough to start becoming intimate with this part of you, but not so close that you fuse and identify with it as who you are, or overwhelm yourself. Slowly. Short periods of time. One second, Two seconds. Three seconds. And rest. And then maybe next time for four or five. Then rest.
You might then come to discover that the movement of energy that we call “fear” is not an adversary, working against you, but actually an ally, sent to bring you closer to yourself, and to reveal wholeness. The only way we will ever know the truth of fearlessness is through the willingness to stay embodied to waves of fear.
You can call off the war and put down your weapons of dissociation, aggressiveness, and abandonment of what is. Reality will appear at times as fear, for even fear is a tool of skillful means in the arsenal of love as it has its way here. Slow down. Say yes to what is and it will liberate in front of your eyes. There is no enemy here. There is nothing working against you. Only further revelation. The path is everywhere.