I first became aware, well, vaguely aware, that fear lurked in the background of my behavior when, as a pre-teen, my mom chided me for being “too timid.” However, the real moment of truth actually came as moments of truth. It seems the more I pursued the “mountain in my view,” the more aware I became of how that trickster fear stopped me.
The more I become willing to look fear in the eye, the more I learned how many disguises it has in its costume wardrobe.
It stopped me from taking the most challenging courses in high school and college — things like physics and calculus. It stopped me from trying to play a musical instrument.
It frequently stopped me from asking for what I wanted or saying what I did not want. I could go on, but my invitation to myself and you in this Lenten Season is to be truthfully, curiously aware of when fear might actually be stopping you or me from making a needed change or from ceasing to walk in the plains rather than head toward the mountain of exquisite freedom and exhilarating dreams — of personal expansion, of growing — by stopping.
One of my coaching clients and I were talking about a course he has been teaching, Life 101. We had just been talking about how he is a Visionary Leader. So, I asked him — what is beyond Life 101? What would Life 201, 301, 401 teach?
As it works with math in school where we first learn to add and subtract, it works in our experience of true freedom and real peace: get proficient at adding what is nurturing to our vitality and our joy in life and subtracting what is not — this requires a willingness to change and be changed.
It is the heart of being — a continual practice toward living in and from the heights of the divine presence within us for real, a continual practice of going/growing beyond where we are and what we know.
Think of what the world would be like if no one got beyond basic math — no indoor plumbing, no dishwashers and, definitely, no landings on Mars. Change is the path. If you don’t like the word “change,” use words like “grow, develop, expand.”
This is the gift of acute awareness and understanding. It is the kind of discipline we are invited into during the Lenten season. It is the gift of intentional letting go of fears that stop us from growing, expanding our horizons and coming to know the power within us.
Embrace what gives us life and let go of what doesn’t. That’s what Krishnamurti and von Goethe were up to during their lives. That is what the greatness within us wants us to be up to also.
There is often fear in believing differently than we always have; in doing things differently, of being different.
You can bet that the trickster is in there somewhere when we want to keep things as they always have been, do as we have always done.
Spiritual teachers and masters have assured us that recognizing our fear and accepting it would prove to result in irrepressible freedom and joy. It is the Heart of Being who we really are, a divine spark that is meant to become a fire. It is Easter.
Sharon Connors is a reverend at the Unity Spiritual Center, 10101 W. Coggins, Sun City.