I often get asked questions about fear, especially fear of public speaking, fear of writing, fear of rejection, fear of criticism, fear of pretty much anything and everything. So, here’s my answer.
Yes, I still get afraid. When I pay attention to my mind, I notice it is full of fears – fears about pretty much anything and everything. I’d love to tell you that I’ve become less afraid as the years have gone by, but, honestly, I’m not sure it’s true. I’d say I’m either more afraid now than before, or, I am, at least, more aware of my fears than before. Becoming a father hasn’t helped matters! I notice I worry about my children continually. It’s like my heart no longer belongs to me, and it runs around inside both their bodies – and either of them could fall over and get hurt at any moment.
While it’s true that I still get afraid, it’s also true that I have a much better relationship to fear now. The way I now relate to fear has been influenced largely by my study of A Course in Miracles (ACIM), which offers a training in Continue Reading
This May, I am a guest on the St. Francis Heart Full of Love pilgrimage to Assisi, hosted by Dancing Spirit Tours. On the pilgrimage, I will give a 3-day Love & Enneagram retreat, which features the work of St. Francis, Rumi, Tagore, and other great mystics and saints.
Saint Francis is knocking on my door. He’s everywhere I am. He appears on my Facebook page, he’s quoted in articles I’m sent, my daughter Bo is learning about him at school, and he constantly pops into my mind throughout the day. I imagine it has something to do with my excitement about the St. Francis tour. In my experience,
a pilgrimage begins the moment you say yes to it, even before you Continue Reading
Practices For Greater Abundance And Happiness
I’m grateful to have given several talks over the last few months on Life Loves You, the book I co-wrote with Louise Hay, because it has helped me to deepen my own inquiry.
In the postscript to Life Loves You, I wrote,
“This book is nearly finished, but it feels like the inquiry has just begun. Each of us has a self-image, an ego that we hope is loveable, but our egos are full of holes. These holes hide buried fears and doubts, and they cast a shadow on the world as we see it. Life loves you asks us to dig deep, to excavate the ground of our being, where our true nature lives. Here is our buried treasure. Here is where we meet our Unconditioned Self. This is the Self that life loves.” Continue Reading
1. Is this love or fear?
The basic fear “I am not loveable” is the primary cause of all suffering. When you identify with this fear, it causes many tears to fall. The fear is not true, but if you believe it, you will turn away from yourself. Feeling unloveable causes you to reject your eternal loveliness. Instead, you put on an act that takes the place of your true self in the hope that this will trick people into loving you. However, because you have rejected yourself, you are afraid that everyone else will reject you, too, especially when they get to know the truth about you.
When you believe “I am not loveable,” it causes you to contract inside, to defend yourself, and to behave in unloving ways that add to your pain. You also experience pain when fear appears to triumph over love: for example, when it looks like love is not present, that love changes, that love is being withheld, that love is not enough, and that love dies. In deep pain, the fear is that love has forsaken you. In other words, love has rejected you, too. This is your private hell. The temptation here is to reject love. However, when you stop loving, it hurts you even more. Only by loving can you begin to face the fear, heal the pain, and walk out of hell.
When you pay attention to a baby, you notice how naked he or she is. Babies haven’t put anything on themselves yet. They have no masks, no personas, no armor, and no dark glasses. They are still wearing what Zen Buddhists call the Original Face. They aren’t putting on a face for the world to see. What you are witnessing is their true nature. They aren’t trying to be some-one, to be nice, to look good, or to be interesting. There are no pretenses. There is no deceit. There is no attempt to create a pleasing image. They aren’t trying to be loveable; they just are.
“Sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness.” — Galway Kinell
Babies are still close to the Unconditioned Self, which is the name I give for our true self. They haven’t yet learned to identify with gender. They don’t know if they are American or Chinese. They don’t care if they are black or white. They aren’t interested in what religion their parents follow. They haven’t had time yet to make up a story to tell about how elusive love is, or how difficult love is, or how worthy or unworthy they are of love. They don’t judge themselves. They carry no grievances. They are not cynical yet. Have you ever met a cynical baby?
There were no lectures on love when I studied psychology. Things are changing now, but love is still the road less traveled in universities and colleges in the Western world.
My classes were interesting but not enlightening. We studied a self with no soul and a mind with no heart, and the body of our work was full of disease and anxiety. There was no joy.
Love was absent.
A lecture on something called Interpersonal Attraction Theory flirted with love, but only a little.
No one addressed love directly, not even Carl Jung, who wrote about everything. Continue Reading