One Step Beyond

What is needed, rather than running away or controlling or suppressing or any other resistance, is understanding fear; that means, watch it, learn about it, come directly into contact with it. We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it.

When it comes to moving forward, demonstrating your power, it is the same experience for everyone. When life calls upon you to step up your pace, to move into a higher level of being, to put your great potential to use, it will bring up every aspect of fear that is hidden in your consciousness. When this happens, unless you are willing to acknowledge and confront the fear head on, you will not be able to move. More important, if you do not trust that you will be able to walk through the fear, you will choose not to move.

We all have little fears we have not addressed. In fact, we may have some we don't know exist. These unknown fears can and do lie dormant until you are called upon by life to confront and overcome them. That is when the degree of trust you have in yourself will be tested. It doesn't matter how much potential you have or how many divine opportunities are laid before you, fear can zap your energy, stamina and ability to move. The fear of failure, rejection and success will rage in your brain the moment your potential is called upon. In moments like this, you must trust that you can feel bad and recover. That you can survive mistakes that might make you look stupid. How you respond to fear when it rises will determine how much you can trust yourself. The catch is, unless you trust yourself, you will not be able to confront the fear.

Until today, you may not have recognized that there were unacknowledged fears lying dormant in your consciousness. As a result, you may have given yourself many wonderful, and plausible reasons for not living up to your potential and taking full advantage of the many opportunities you have. Just for today, consider the fear vs. self-trust theory. It doesn't really matter if you know what you are afraid of. What matters is trusting yourself enough to confront it, walk through it and survive.

Today I am devoted to trusting myself enough to walk through known and unknown fear!

-Iyanla Vanzant, Until Today! - Daily Devotions for Spiritual Growth and Peace of Mind ©2000


To Fly Requires Resistance

One of the goals of my life is to get rid of pain and frustration, and find peace of mind. At the same time, I want to control the future. I go through each day using my experiences as a platform for my decisions. Those experiences are based on all the memories of my life, those distorted and obsolete guilts and fears which can, at times, squeeze the joy out of the present. With a life-goal of finding an "inner peace," I am better able to focus my energy, better equipped to move around or through my fears and discard my guilt. My past may be archeologically interesting, but for the most part it has little value as recycled "stuff." Peace is to be found in this instant only.

Judging people comes naturally. It is more difficult to just love them. If I spend my energy forgiving them, I conclude that they do not have to change in order for me to experience love for them, and peace of mind for myself. Am I seeking love, or do I seek their faults? Neither guilt nor innocence should play a part in the process of forgiveness. Thinking that things outside of me are the cause, and that my behavior is the effect, is truly backward thinking. Peace of mind begins with my own thoughts and extends outward. Negative feelings represent some kind of fear, and that fear triggers other problems. But I am not a robot, a slave of my fears and negative thinking. I can allow my reactions to align with my inner guidance, and respond with love and understanding. It is a matter of choice. A different perspective.

Gerald G. Jampolsky in his book, Love Is Letting Go Of Fear suggests that whenever one feels that their personal peace is threatened by anything or anyone, they should repeat in their mind, "I could see peace instead of this. I can elect to change all thoughts that hurt. I am responsible for what I see. I will teach and practice love, for that is what I am." He proposes that we take responsibility for how we perceive our circumstances, and what part our own thinking plays in them. The teachings in A Course in Miracles ® suggests that we ask Spirit for a different perspective, that we not depend on the strength and focus of our old experiences and fears to help us see the path to inner peace and happiness.

When the struggle is great, the best I may be able to do is to find peace one moment at a time - but that is a beginning! This week, I need to take that extra step, the One Step Beyond, to step out of the box, constructed of fears, that I have created for myself. I need to take One Step Beyond the fault-finding, the search for guilt and innocence, the judgment of others and the difficulties of my everyday life. I will seek the guidance of Spirit in the experiences which come to me, because they are lessons that I need to learn in this life, and they cannot harm me. I can't do anything about the past, and the future is not within my control.

But inner peace is only a moment away, and One Step Beyond.



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