“Embarking on the spiritual journey is like getting into a very small boat and setting out on the ocean to search for unknown lands. With wholehearted practice comes inspiration, but sooner or later we will also encounter fear. For all we know when we get to the horizon, we are going to drop off the edge of the world. Like all explorers, we are drawn to discover what’s waiting out there without knowing yet if we have the courage to face it…
Fear is a universal experience…It is not a terrible thing we feel fear when faced with the unknown. It is part of being alive, something we all share. We react against the possibility of loneliness, of death, of not having anything to hold on to. Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.
If we commit ourselves to staying right where we are, then our experience becomes vivid. Things become clear when there is nowhere to escape.”
PEMA CHODRON, In the Intimacy with Fear
Pema is directly addressing how someone feels as they embark on a spiritual path and it is the same thing that often most people feel when we begin our journey together. What I have noticed over many years of practice at the beginning of our work together fear shows up especially around what someone might discover about themselves. This is completely natural and expected. Fear functions as a signal from our unconscious that something that was previously unconscious will be revealed like you wet your pants in kindergarten, at that time it may have needed to be kept unconscious. But also fear can indicate that you might discover you feel unloveable, and you didn’t really want to know that because of all the ways you have been covering that up, or that you are protecting yourself from discovering that you feel you are bad.
So here is the good news about that. These feelings and beliefs about yourself are really obscuring the reality of who you are, they are obscuring your magnificence, your preciousness and your fundamental goodness, the goodness of being. It is like these distorted beliefs about yourself and feelings of deficiency are actually calling you to discover the truth of who you are. So fear is natural and courage to be with the fear along with curiosity will take you far.
Because of all the ways you believe these things about yourself you begin to see is a story that you tell yourself over and over without ever really being aware that it is a story or what it is about.
In our exploration new horizons are revealed, new territories which were formerly part of the great unknown are being discovered layer upon layer at times or sometimes a big chunk of knowing revelation arrives. You are being called to the search so you can intimately discover and know and celebrate the truth of who you are. We embark on a journey using the body sensing and inquiry as our vehicle of exploration. Join me on a journey of exceptional importance, a journey that is transformative.