Insights From the Pathwork® Guide on How to Face Our Fears
It’s an error to think that becoming aware of our fears—of turning towards them and facing them in the light—will give them more power. Yet too often we turn a blind eye, hoping to avoid something unpleasant.
In truth, it’s not awareness of our fears that causes us problems, but our fearful attitude about even looking at them. By not facing our fears, we keep fighting the parts of ourselves that happen to be in fear, right now. We cramp up our whole being—including our bodies—bracing ourselves against feelings of fear.
In this collection of insights, fear is illuminated from many perspectives. Because it’s only by bringing our fears into the fresh air of our conscious awareness that they lose their terrible roar.
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1 The Mother of All Fears: Fear of Self
Only when our search for self-knowing has gained a little traction do we become aware that what we’re really most afraid of is ourselves. We can recognize this by the backpedaling we do when it comes to seeing our part in our problems; when we won’t face our terror of letting go of our defenses, which would allow us to experience our natural feelings.
And exactly why do we hold back from allowing natural soul movements to guide us? Because we’re afraid of where they will take us. To simply become aware of this fear is to take a giant leap in the right direction. For if we’re not aware of our fear of our self, it can’t be overcome.
2 Fully Facing our Fear of Loving
As we’ve probably heard by now, love is the greatest power there is. Every spiritual teaching or philosophy, along with every religious scholar and psychology professor, proclaims this truth: Love is the one and only power. If you’ve got it, you are mighty, strong and safe. Without it, you are separate, scared and poor. Sounds simple enough. Yet this knowledge doesn’t really help us unless we’ve discovered where—deep down inside—we can’t love or won’t love. Why is it that we resist loving?
3 Finding Freedom and Peace by Overcoming Fear of the Unknown
Life is a trap, of a kind, stuck as we are in this struggle to overcome the duality between life and death. From this fundamental predicament stem all our other problems, fears and tensions. It shows up in our fear of death, of course, as well as in our fear of aging and our fear of the unknown. What’s the common root of all these fears?
4 Finding True Abundance by Going Through Our Fear
If we boil it down, there are essentially two philosophies about this thing we call life, and they are apparent contradictions. One imparts the perspective that if we are truly mature, we need to learn to accept life on life’s terms. Our best approach will be to accept what we can’t change.
The other school of thought postulates we don’t need to accept any of this unpleasantness. All this stuff about accepting hardship, including death, is totally unnecessary. Our only destiny is the one we create for ourselves. At first glance, these two philosophies might appear mutually exclusive. But maybe they’re not. Can we find a common denominator that brings them together and unites them? In fact, we can: it is fear.
5 Giving up our Fear-Filled Struggle to Guard our Secrets
Every pain and frustration cascades from the pain of not meeting our full potential in giving to others and to life. Turning this around, all pleasure and satisfaction flows from giving freely, no ifs, ands or buts. Why then are we so stingy? Why do we refuse to give freely of ourselves? This stems from our fear of the parts of ourselves we don’t yet see and know, which creates patterns that keep chunking out pain.
6 The Painful Predicament of Both Desiring and Fearing Closeness
Our biggest struggle in life is the push and pull we face between our desire to overcome our loneliness and isolation, and our simultaneous fear of having close, intimate contact with another person. Often these are equally strong, tearing us apart from the inside and creating a tremendous strain.
And yet, when we manage to move past some specific difficulty and resistance, we come to find that our fears weren’t justified; we feel relieved and have a renewed sense of aliveness. Just then, at that moment, we’ve contacted our innermost self. So why do we have so much fear about contacting our own core or the core of someone else?
7 How Fear of Releasing the Little Ego Spoils Happiness
Underneath our ordinary, neurotic, unconscious wrong thinking lies a difficult conflict embedded in all of humanity: We have a deeply ingrained longing to be happy and, at the same time, we fear happiness. And this fear is directly related to our fear of letting go. By the same token, our longing to be happy must also be a longing to be released from the clutches of our little ego. The two are linked. Let’s now dive into a deeper level of this topic so we can come to a new understanding.
8 Three Things that Underpin Self-Fulfillment
In this chapter we’ll weave three topics together to see how they create one comprehensive whole of self-fulfillment. They all depend on awakening our innermost self and activating the core that we can call the Real Self. Without that, it’s our ego running the show. And as long as our ego is our sole motivator in life, it will be impossible to have confidence that life is safe. This will make it impossible to be fearless about loving. It will also make it impossible to find that delicate balance between being active and being passive. Let’s take a closer look.
9 Our Fundamental Fear of Bliss
Through all of these teachings from the Pathwork Guide, we are being taught about the human condition. For instance, when we ignore how we deny our own fulfillment, we are creating difficulties for ourselves. When we project what we lack as being outside of ourselves—placing blame on circumstances or other people—we create more frictions and constrictions for ourselves. We create confusion and more entanglements, ultimately becoming more dependent.
If we continue to look away from our inner obstructions, preferring to believe that others or fate are the cause of all our problems, we then can’t help but live in tension and fear. So we can see that awareness—of our own obstructions—determines everything. With this understanding, we can comprehend the true meaning of self-responsibility.
Now let’s connect these ideas with a deeper understanding of this all-important mystery: Why do we say No to our deepest desire for the most intense bliss imaginable? What makes happiness seem dangerous and therefore undesirable? Let’s focus our light in this direction.