This week I would like to explore letting go of things, thoughts, people or ideas that you may find that you are holding on to. Usually if we are holding on it is because we are afraid of what may happen if we were to let go. We fill ourselves full of reasons for hanging on regardless of whether what it is that we are hanging on to is good for us or not. Well, here’s a life-transforming concept, that thing, thought or whatever it may be that you are hanging on to, is not the problem. It is your reaction to the letting go that is fearful. If you will allow yourself to become conscious of your fears instead of being afraid of them, you will change forever your relationship with fear.
It is only within this special kind of self exploration that there is real safety, because now you are interacting with fear in an entirely new way. You are no longer letting it dictate to you how to act or what to do. Instead, you are aware of the fear. You are learning to quietly observe and study it. And, each day, as you discover something new about the nature of your own fearful reactions, they begin to lose their power over you. To be consciously afraid means that you know you are frightened, but at the same time you know that these very fears, as real as they may seem, are not you. And no wrong reaction can keep you captive once you begin to see it for what it is.
Fear is, and has always been, nothing but a self-limiting reaction that we cling to in the darkness of our present life, having mistaken it for a shield of self-protection. And, just as the faintest of early morning sunlight can dispel the night-long darkness, so does the smallest of insights into a persistent fear lead to letting it go.
You can prove this powerful principle to yourself anytime you want. Just dare to proceed even while being afraid. Though remember, your new aim isn’t to be courageous or to try and act strong in the face of fear. No. We’ve seen that this won’t work. You simply want to be more curious about your frightened thoughts and feelings than you want to believe in them. If you will follow this simple instruction, not only will you start to see these habitual reactions that have been keeping you scared and running, you’ll actually start seeing through them. This is where the real miracle occurs.
Each new insight into the actual nature of these negative reactions removes some of their power over you. And their loss is your gain. You are stronger now and you know it. You also know this new strength will never fail you because it isn’t just the temporary appearance of a bold opposite.
This new strength of yours is the absence of an old weakness.
Let’s look at just one of the ways in which this principle of putting selfawareness before psychological self-protection can turn fear into fearlessness.
Do you know someone who you would rather run away from than run into? I certainly do and I am certain that most of us do. Taking a deep breath, starting right now, make a promise to yourself never again to avoid any person that scares you. In fact, go ahead and walk right up to that critical or aggressive person and say hello instead of letting the fear tell you to do what it wants. Have no ideas at all about the way things should or shouldn’t go. Just be there to watch and learn about yourself, and to learn how to go towards the difficult situation rather than run away.As you face your fears, you are letting your reactions roll by instead of letting them carry you away. As you stand there, momentarily apart from your usual self and working hard to remain as inwardly watchful as you know how, you can see that this flood of previously unconscious reactions has its own life story — a shaky sort of story that up until now you had embraced as your own. But now you are beginning to see the whole story.
The fears do not belong to you.
Here is the reason: You have never been afraid of another person. The only thing you have ever been frightened by is your own thoughts about that person. Yes, you did feel fear, but it wasn’t yours and it wasn’t toward someone stronger than you. The fear you felt was in what you thought he or she was thinking about you.
Amazing, isn’t it? You have been afraid of your own thoughts! And now, being able to see this ends the old behaviour. As you become more self aware and more open to self reflection you will find a freedom that is beyond anything that you have ever imagined.