Fear is a Limited Perspective

From the perspective of your soul, there is no fear.

The soul has a vantage point whereby it sees the larger context, and therefore understands the reasons that we must experience whatever challenges we may be facing.

When we identify completely with the ego, with the constructed psyche of the individual, then we feel only the fear of facing the perceived obstacles in front of us. We imagine and project, that is to say create the pain that keeps us from acting in accordance with our deepest, most authentic motivations.

However, from the vantage point of the soul, we see, or at least feel, the experience awaiting us on the other side of our perceived obstacle.

In this way, acting in accordance with that which compels us toward our desires, is not only the most empowered position we can take, but also the most honest and accurate.

Consider the fearful perspective of a child who feels only the fear of facing whatever seems daunting or even terrifying. This is the ego perspective. This perspective is overwhelmingly the experience of the perceived obstacle or pain.

Now imagine the broader perspective, that of the soul, as akin to the vantage point of the adult.

Let us say, for example, that a child is afraid to take his or her first jump into a pool. Despite the welcoming arms of a trusted parent who will keep their little loved one safe, the child may feel only the fear of imagined outcomes. Or even just the overwhelming, irrational fear of doing something new and frightening.

The adult on the other hand knows that their child not only will be fine, but will experiencing the joy of jumping. To the adult, while they may understand that their child’s experience of fear is very real, and possibly quite intense, they also know that the rewards of acting despite the fear are far more gratifying than the temporary nature of the fear itself.

But fear is not the only sensation the child feels in that moment. They also feel the exhilaration of jumping, and the pride of a challenge overcome.

Even in the situation where the child might not enjoy jumping into the water, she or he is still far better off for having faced the personal fear, not to mention eliminating the uncertainty of whether or not she/he enjoys the activity.

What are we to learn from this example?

Quite simply, if there is some challenge that you are facing, some obstacle to overcome, some question that begs you to answer it, the fear that you may feel surrounding this aspect of your life need not discourage you from pursuing your deeper motivation.

In fact, that fear, most likely, is the barrier between you (at least the concept of you with which you currently identify) and the goal you seek to attain (the broader concept of self with which you are learning to identify). In this way, the fear is far more than a random obstacle. It is the very resistance against which you need push to be the person you feel compelled to become and live the life you  feel compelled to live.

That fear is the very indication that you are standing at a threshold, a current, and if you so choose, temporary, boundary of your “self” as you perceive it from the limited vantage point of the ego.

To be clear, and to reiterate an idea that I introduced earlier, positive, decisive action should not be careless or foolish. When we do take action toward creating our dreams, it should be done with consistency, patience, perserverance, and forethought. But please do not allow your fear to confine you in a life that does not serve you, fulfill you, or allow you to serve your greatest purpose.

When you do act, you may still experience the fear. That is natural, and even necessary. The very definition of courage includes fear. To act courageously, one must feel afraid.

The difference, however, is that the courageous deed is done despite the fear. And when we feel our sense of courage, we also feel the fear turn to exhiliration, and quite possibly, when we have achieved our goal, joy.

So feel it all, act in accordance with your deepest motivations, and watch not only how your life transforms, but, more importantly, how you change in the process as you learn the lessons you as a soul meant for yourself to learn by designing the challenges you created for yourself to face in this life as a human before you embarked upon it.

Are there any deep desires within you urging you to knock down walls of fear in your life? I would guess so, since we all have an ever-expanding self which we are striving to realize.

At your service,

Jon

Small, Decisive, Consistent Action

Following from two of my previous posts, one on consistent action yielding incremental progress, the other on decisive commitment, I want to speak in more detail about what such action will look like. What are some concrete examples of the type of actions that will lead in time to the creation of your dream life?

Most likely, the behaviors are smaller than we might assume. They have been in my life anyway.

As I have mentioned in other posts, my tendency has been toward all or nothing engagement with my pursuits. Quite often, this approach has undermined me.

All or nothing more often tends to be nothing than all.

Think about it logically.

Since it is literally impossible for us to devote ourselves completely to more than one endeavor, with the all or nothing mentality, we cannot possibly pursue more than one goal at a time.

To be sure, we always will have pursuits and facets of our life that we prioritize ahead of others. But if we leave no room for additional aspects of our life to develop because we are focusing exclusively on one with all of our energy, we will we shut ourselves off from the richness and opportunities that accompany a diverse set of experiences. It is even possible that a narrow, closed-minded attitude will limit our progress in the one area upon which we have been focusing so intensely.

Again, I’m not stating that we should dabble indefinitely, withhold our energy from a pursuit about which we are passionate, or spread ourselves so thin that we accomplish nothing in any area of interest. But I have experienced time and again the failure resulting from burnout and unrealistically short time lines for my goals.

Which brings me back to the focus of this post; small, consistent, decisive actions.

When we allow ourselves the gift of a well chosen set of consciously selected endeavors, we automatically acknowledge that our larger goals probably will come to fruition over a longer time frame than we might hope. When we recognize and accept that reality, we are far more likely to sustain our effort for the necessary duration.

And when that happens, we empower ourselves to enact a plan that comes together piece by piece by piece.

The example of fitness is an excellent one from my own life. Especially as my time became increasingly fragmented in adulthood, it became more difficult to implement a workout regimen by jumping into high intensity exercise without building up to that level of intensity.

In fact, the aches and pains that most of us experience in adulthood often have their origins in some injury or accumulated damage sustained by implementing routines and performing exercises incorrectly at a younger age.

For me, running is the best example of what I’ve experienced in my own life that fits perfectly with the larger concept I’m trying to convey here.

To be clear, I fucking hate running. I enjoy sprinting. Long distance running though? Not at all my thing. The shock to the joints, the pounding, the shin splints. No thank you.

But the fact is, there are few exercises that burn fat as well. And I had goals for my fitness level that include a body mass index of below ten percent body fat. Indeed there are other forms of exercise, such as swimming and cross country skiing, that provide equivalent or greater fat burning potential. Additionally, weight training has the potential to burn far more fat than static state cardio (such as forty-five minutes on a treadmill).

But running is far more accessible and convenient than swimming or skiing. And resistance training, while excellent for strength and muscle building, is not as effective for cardiovascular conditioning, which is essential for true fitness. So running is something that I needed to do.

In beginning to run, I discovered that some of the stabilizing muscles and tendons in my lower legs were getting sore and even sprained quite easily. So in order to run more, which I needed to do in order to reach my body fat goals, I needed to strengthen and condition those areas.

Clearly, this is not a situation where I simply could push myself harder. I tried that. The result was a lingering sprain or strain in my left ankle/lower leg that rendered me unable to do any jumping or running on and off for the better part of nine months. In fact, the roots of that injury dated back to a previous attempt to push myself beyond my fitness level at the time.

So I needed to heal. I needed to find an exercise that I liked. I needed it to be relatively convenient and accessible. And I needed to increase the duration, intensity, and frequency gradually.

Enter the jump rope. Now this is an exercise mode that I do enjoy. But when I began jumping rope for the first time as a serious exercise, already in my mid-forties, I had little to no endurance. Again, pushing through pain (as opposed to discomfort) would have been a recipe for further setbacks.

So with no other choice, I had to humble myself by doing far less than my ego would have liked to accept. I found that two to three days per week, a few sets of low reps, regular stretching, and a short run once per week were a good starting point.

The most important aspect of starting small was that I had nearly completely removed any psychological resistance against adhering to my routine. It never required too much inertia to go into the garage, put on some high energy music, and do my short workout. Plus, since it was short, attainable, and not too frequent to begin with, I could push myself that much harder, knowing I was nearly finished, and that I would have earned a stretch or rest the following day.

Thanks to my fitness level being relatively low (based on past fitness levels and my current goals) I saw results very quickly. Within a few weeks, I had increased the number of reps per set.

On one foot rope jumps, for example, I could barely do twenty-five on my left foot when I began, including stops caused by the rope getting caught in my feet. Within two weeks, I was up to seventy-five jumps per foot non-stop, and another twenty-five reps of a set where I alternated single foot jumps (right, left, 1, right, left, 2, etc.)

My standard jumps (with feet together) went from one difficult set of one hundred to two much easier sets of two hundred in about two weeks as well. And not only was I preparing myself for increased running endurance, I was burning fat while I prepared.

One final benefit of the incremental approach was the psychological flexibility that I felt as a result. As opposed to prior situations, in which the intensity, duration, frequency, and expectations were high from the start, this approach allowed me to miss a day if necessary without feeling as though I had fallen off of the bandwagon and needed to start all over from the beginning.

I even found that during times when I may not have maintained proper nutrition or gotten enough sleep over a period of several days, I was able to discern between low motivation and a genuine lack of energy. In those times, I could grant myself additional rest without shaming myself. I recognized that it is better to rest when truly necessary than push too much and risk completely depleting my energy and/or risking an injury that might delay my progress.

This, of course, is merely one example of how decisiveness, consistency, and the accumulation of smaller actions will yield dramatic, long term results. Whatever the endeavor, there will be challenges to overcome in multiple areas.

We may need to learn new skills, dust off old ones, risk embarrassment, overcome physical challenges, exorcise psycho-spiritual demons, make bold predictions, face failure, ask for help, etc. But if we acknowledge whatever task we may be facing us in that moment as the very one that needs to be completed in order to take another step toward realizing our larger vision, bit by bit we will get it done.

And far more important than the external rewards that we may reap, is the person we become in the process. That person is one who lives a life of fulfillment by acting in accordance with his or her divine purpose. Living that divine purpose means serving the universe.

What actions can you take right now to begin living in integrity with your divine purpose?

Please feel free to reach out to me if there is any way that I may assist you.

At your service.

Jon