By Wes Annac, Editor, Openhearted Rebel
Writing again after a nearly month-long slump, which included being sick with a 103-degree fever, I feel a lot of fear.
I fear failure, inadequacy, fatigue, laziness – the list could go on. I fear I’ll just stop writing one day and never pick it back up. This will obviously never happen, but the first step to healing this irrational fear is to shed light on it.
Right now, inadequacy and failure are two of my greatest fears. Although I know they’re irrational and success is assured if I keep going, the fear that my writing is insignificant or that one day I’ll decide it’s not worth it and give up has ironically kept me from writing.
I see now that to suppress this fear will only make it stronger, whereas being open to it will bring healing.
Why Suppress Fear?
Why do we suppress fear? What is it about this constrictive emotion that makes us want to push it under the surface?
I think for most of us, the answer is that we don’t want it to show. We don’t want the world to see us in our realest, rawest, most vulnerable state. We want to maintain the illusion that we have it all figured out. We have everything together, and nobody has any reason to think we don’t.
But inside, we’re sad, fearful, unsure, and unwilling to acknowledge the pain. This eats away at us from within.
We’re usually too prideful to work through it on our own, much less ask loved ones for help. It’s here, however, whether we acknowledge it or not. For most of us, the choice not to acknowledge it is our greatest source of pain.
I’d love for my writing to convince you I have life figured out, but I don’t. The very notion is presumptive, because nobody, not even the greatest scientific or spiritual thinker, has figured out this bizarre thing we call life.
We’re each doing our best to establish truth and create a moderately successful life, but to do so, we need to be comfortable with the mystery. Even those who ask the big questions about life, science, spirituality, and other important topics are basically feeling around in the dark.
If you think the idea that everyone carries inner pain and nobody really knows what’s going on is a little pessimistic or nihilistic, read on to understand why knowing you know nothing can be the key to mental, emotional, and spiritual growth.
Before we move on to that, let’s spend some more time on this emotional pain most don’t acknowledge.
“The Only Thing We Have to Fear…”
We don’t acknowledge it because, put simply, we’re afraid of the fear involved. Is a certain well-known quote about “the only thing we have to fear” coming to mind? It should be, because it’s relevant, profound, and worth pondering.
Fear is the scariest thing of all, because it’s the source of everything that scares you. It is everything that scares you.
Fear is the troll standing in front of the bridge you want to cross, demanding you pay it first. But this troll doesn’t go away when you pay it. It stays put, demands more, and ensures you never cross. If it has its way, you’ll forget about the bridge altogether. You’ll stop trying and stop caring.
You’ll be content to sit in front of the TV in your spare time because it’s comfortable and requires no effort toward personal change. The troll will return the moment you attempt such a change, ready to bombard you and hopefully lull you back to the couch.
We suppress fear because it’s overwhelming, but in doing so, we increase its power and control.
Acknowledge Fear, Live Anyway
So, how can we get past this seemingly insurmountable wall of fear? The first step is to acknowledge it and the desire to suppress it. The next step is more difficult: live the way you want regardless of how much it scares you.
You’ll have to do this while still dealing with the fear that directly inhibits you. Let me be clear, however: this does not mean you should suppress fear when it surfaces at inconvenient times. It means you should be open enough to heal it while refusing to let it take you off your path.
It’ll be difficult, but how many worthwhile achievements are ever easy? It’s a doable yet difficult and worthwhile challenge for he who desires genuine mental, emotional, or spiritual growth.
I’ve learned that to be open to love, you must accept fear. Shining the light of love onto fear, hesitation, and uncertainty will help you see them in a new light and subsequently heal them. In this light, they seem like little more than obstacles on the path of personal growth.
Once you have an idea of the unique path you want to walk, love will inspire you to accept the challenge of fear. You’ll no longer doubt yourself when fear steps in the way, because love will be there to remind you you’re a spark of God who can persevere in the darkest circumstances.
Love and Service
Fear may be ruthless, but love is the opposite. Love is forgiving, welcoming, and understanding. If you let it express itself authentically, it will help you through your fear. It will help you keep on when you want nothing more than to give up, and it’ll consistently remind you why you’re doing this: to help others.
In truth, a fulfilling life is not spent pursuing one’s own interests. The path of love, which brings the understanding that we know nothing in the big picture, reveals that the most fulfilling life is spent serving others.
Whether it’s through creative work, activism, or helping your community, serving others with an open heart will bring the transcendence of fear and a subsequent burst of inspiration. It motivates me to know this work is just as much for you as it is me. Knowing this will help someone, in some way, inspires me to keep going.
I’m almost certain serving others in a similar way will help you get past fear and find meaning in your life. But to be humble enough to serve others with the ego out of the way, you must understand how little we all know in the big picture. Otherwise, you’ll spend less time helping and more time preaching.
Knowing Nobody Knows
This brings us back to the value of knowing we know nothing. I find it imperative when studying any spiritual philosophy to remember that when it comes down to it, we’re tethered to a giant rock in an unfathomably large cosmos and being kept alive by a giant yellow burning star.
Nothing about our existence is normal, and nobody short of the Source itself can claim to know what’s going on. Science does its best, and despite its focus on the material world and denial of the spiritual, it’s found a lot of answers.
Spirituality is here to fill the gaps left by science, but it can only properly do so if approached with an open mind. Gone are the days when finding and sticking with one solid belief system can be considered helpful to mankind’s evolution.
If you want spirituality, it’s best to walk your own path and let the preachers and gurus say what they will. In walking this path, you’ll be humbled to see how little you and the rest of the world truly know.
This will free you to explore different philosophies with a feeling of detachment, as if you were there for little more than spiritual entertainment. Moving freely between different philosophies, you’ll learn to extract the best out of all of them. Fear, once acknowledged, will no longer hold you back.
Knowing you know nothing will free you to be an explorer instead of just a scientific or spiritual thinker. As an explorer, you can learn or study whatever you want with no dogmatic spiritual or scientific mindset to hold you back. You can seek wisdom from Einstein as willingly as you would the Buddha, or vice versa.
You can be open to everyone’s perspective while remembering that the best wisdom lives within. You can get comfortable with this beautiful, outrageous, uncontrollable mess we call life as you discover the secret to a fulfilling existence: selfless service.
So, for your sake and the sake of the people around you, go explore. Set yourself free. Don’t be afraid to live with fear, and don’t be afraid to live without it. Get comfortable knowing nothing, and try to appreciate what you’ve learned so far.
I’m confident that every genuine scientific and spiritual path leads to love, so if you’re unsure where to start, start with the heart. Let love guide you, because no matter how far you’ve strayed, it will put you back on your path.
The Ultimate Freedom
Be comfortable with who you are. The world needs you to be the unique person only you can be, but to do this, you must heal the fear standing in your way. It’ll deplete your confidence and drown out your intuitive voice if you let it, so instead, heal it and never look back.
Fear is the ultimate dream killer, but transcending it, which requires you to acknowledge it, brings the ultimate freedom; the freedom to explore and enjoy your life.
You’ll no longer be tied down by belief systems that prevent you from checking out different philosophies. You’ll no longer cling stubbornly to your beliefs or fear different perspectives. You’ll be free to live from the heart, and nothing – not even your greatest fears – will stop you.
About the author:
I’m a twenty-something writer & blogger with an interest in spirituality, revolution, music and the transformative creative force known as love. I run Openhearted Rebel, a daily news blog dedicated to igniting a revolution of love by raising social and spiritual awareness.
I also have a personal blog, Wes Annac’s Personal Blog, in which I share writings related to spiritual philosophy, creativity, heart consciousness and revolution (among other topics).
I write from the heart and try to share informative and enlightening reading material with the rest of the conscious community. When I’m not writing or exploring nature, I’m usually making music.
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