Fear or Freedom?

My post yesterday on embracing pain left me thinking about how much fear a lot of us have about facing pain and the many ways in which fear can show up and cause problems on a spiritual journey.  As always, in keeping this short I am not being exhaustive here so there will be more at some point.

In 27 years on the journey I’ve assisted some of my teachers in classes, taught a lot of classes and participated with a lot of people as a student in classes and I’ve encountered a lot of ways in which fear can impede a journey. Sometimes it’s fear that life will change and the change will be painful. I’ve seen a lot of people who talked about the new life or new career they wanted while clinging so hard to their current job or relationship or circumstances that there wasn’t room for something new. I think that’s fear that letting go will wind up hurting and the fear winds up trumping the longing for being new.

Another fear relates to our (American) societal tendency to feel that we should be happy all the time* and it translates in spiritual seeking to an expectation that all spiritual pursuits will lead only to serenity and bliss and, hopefully, nirvana. The thing is most spiritual practices contain the possibility of touching into some issue or emotion. I’ve long felt that all those deeply hidden issues and beliefs and traumas are really the main point of “detachment”. They’re the strings that keep us stuck in the past and in feeling separate from our divine natures.

I used to be one of the ones who resisted emotional work – my ego was so determined not to do it that for a long time I didn’t even realize I was resistant. I finally had to acknowledge that the main thing blocking my path to a new life was me and I dragged my heels all the way to the Fischer Hoffman process as facilitated by the late Ellen Margron (she’d been doing it for many years and had developed her own version which was quite different than the process as it’s currently done at the Hoffman Institute). It was hard for me but eventually I started releasing big time and that was when transformation began on so many levels.

Sometimes the journey demands facing painful truths or shaking up what has been familiar or comfortable. Sometimes a practice opens some deep pocket of grief or anger. A lot of people will give up a practice that ever makes them feel that way. Others will do the practice with such control that the possibility of release and freedom is squashed. Either way a great chance for getting free and moving closer to your essence is lost. I’ve come to love facing the fear and the more I do the more I realize that it often only takes a moment to face a tough issue and the result changes the rest of my life.

This post is for Jenny Matlock’s AlphabeThursday, which is “F” today.

* I have a theory that the “pursuit of happiness” has somehow become a belief that Americans have a  right to be happy all the time, or think something is wrong if they’re not happy all the time. 


12 thoughts on “Fear or Freedom?

  1. Very pertinent, and timely post. I have been at this for a long time, like you, yet…..as many different techniques I know on clearing…I avoid, avoid, avoid. I have been meaning to do this one thing for two years now. It is easy, yet my ego doesn’t want to. Clearing is like a good cry, you feel better, lighter after, but during…not so much.

    Anyway I have had the opportunity lately to really see and observe some of these “fears” that linger in the dark corners of my subconscious.

    The light is on for us now. Those “I’s” are having a much more difficult time hiding.

    Great post, thank you for sharing.

  2. This is beautiful written.

    Your last statement is the one that struck me the hardest. Such a sad truth about people today. The desire for all things at all times instantly seems to be a curse in society.

    Thanks you for a fabulously thoughtful link for the letter “F”.


  3. Hello. I came across this blog while doing a search for what I would call my, first sought out formal teacher. Ellen Margron. I just discovered that she had passed away some time ago.
    I too did the “Process” with her and was there when she began teaching her Emotional Mastery classes and as that work progressed she was grooming me to teach as well. We had some unresolved issues as did most of those who got close to her, but none of us can forget how firmly she was able to guide us on our own paths of self-discovery. How she truly was a life changer. How she allowed us to look at our own fears with a sense of love and compassion and later gratitude.

    • So nice to hear from someone who knew Ellen. I don’t know if your search turned up my post “Not as much time as I think” about Ellen, but I wrote of the troubled side of our relationship there. It’s not that I didn’t always love her but liking her was sometimes hard… I was out there for a visit during what turned out to be the last seven weeks of her life — at the beginning was a birthday party at which we all thought she was going to make it. By a dinner party at the end of my visit she seemed weaker but I left really thinking she was going to live and looking forward to spending more time with her. She had new ideas for teaching more about bringing out the positive in people and I really wanted to see that come to be. At her birthday party people came pouring forth and showing their love — as they did throughout her illness. I had the feeling it was the first time she really understood how much people loved and appreciated her and I think it changed her…

  4. Thank you for sharing that. It lightens my heart to know that the people she loved were there for her, showing her how much she was loved. Returning the love to her that she had for us. Had I still been in the Bay Area, I would have also been there. I went back and read some of your other posts, including the one you mentioned, “Not as much time as I think”.
    She really had an impact on your life, she showed you things, ways of being, that made a difference in how you chose to live your life and continue to live it.
    My experience is, I think very similar to yours in that respect. Thank you for honoring her work and her memory.

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