114 QUESTION: If someone has repressed fear and then has come to realize it, and this realization makes the fear overflow – you discussed today [Lecture #114 Struggle: Healthy and Unhealthy] how whenever there is an overflow, there is a struggle – how can he cope with it?
ANSWER: It is an error to believe that allowing yourself to become aware of the fear will cause an overflow you cannot cope with. It is not the awareness that causes the difficulty, but the attitude toward the fear and what underlies it. The wrong attitude is the unhealthy struggle against the fear.
Struggling in the sense of telling yourself that “I should not be afraid, I do not want to feel fear because it is unpleasant,” fights against the part of yourself that happens to be in fear now. The feeling of being flooded by fear comes from bracing yourself against the wave of fear. Your defenses against recognizing that you are in fear still operate.
You have partly removed the barricade because you realized that it prevents development, but another part of you bargains to have the fear removed before it is fully out of hiding, with all its ramifications. If you stop struggling against the fear, if you can say, “I, a human being like many others, am now in fear,” you will finally float and rise on the wave of fear, rather than being immersed in it. You will swim in the fear rather than drowning in it. This will eliminate the feeling of danger.
Although the fear will still be present, it will be experienced in a very different way. Immersion is due to struggling against the wave. The fear of drowning prevents people from swimming, even though they have capacity to swim. Only when you swim can you see what is behind the fear.
Nagging, persisting fears are unrealistic fears you do not cope with properly, regardless of what the issue may be. Underneath these, you will always find other streams of emotions that are blocked and thus prevented from flowing. These other emotions may be manifold: hostility, humiliation, pride, shame, hurt, arrogance, self-importance, self-pity, insistence on unreasonable demands, and many more.
You struggle against these feelings just as you struggle against the fear. Very often, the first layer underneath the fear consists of strong hostilities, which are particularly taboo. If they are allowed into the fresh air of consciousness, the fear will automatically cease. I promise this will be so, and this has often been corroborated by friends who have already gone through this phase.
QUESTION: And if it is not a psychological fear, but a physical one?
ANSWER: Your attitude toward a physical predicament does not preclude psychological deviations. A realistic fear will be coped with in the best and most reasonable way possible. If the unpleasant result one fears is not eliminated, then acceptance of the unpleasantness must finally come, if it is coped with maturely and realistically. But acceptance is impossible as long as one struggles.
The mind is divided. Part of it says, “I should accept what cannot be altered,” and another part says, “I do not want to accept it.” Situations result in nagging fears whenever this division exists and goes unrecognized. Moreover, the underlying negative emotions are still kept in hiding; they simply make themselves known in connection with a now real outer reason.
But the existence of the outer reason does not eliminate their presence. The inevitable difficulties of life can be met only if the psychological deviations are recognized. If a real outer fear overwhelms you, then you struggle against a part of yourself in life. And here we come around full circle to the beginning of this lecture.
Ask yourselves, my friends, if you are afraid of certain happenings in life. Are you not doubtful of your strength and resourcefulness to go through them? Tackle it from there. A final word regarding this: the doubt about your own resources has to do with your childish insistence on having to have your way, and your inability to relinquish it.
The more you must have, the more you will be in fear, and the more you will struggle against the knowledge of this fear and of your childish insistence. The emotional maturity we seek is the ability to tolerate frustration, and to accept that everything does not always go one’s own way. That acceptance will finally enable you to master yourself and life because you will float with the wave, instead of stemming against it. That alone will give you self-confidence.
If you can accept not having whatever you want, that will give you the trust in yourself you truly deserve. If you must have what you want without being able to provide it for yourself, you will remain helpless and dependent and insecure. If you can accept frustration, you will have the confidence of knowing that you can cope with life.
My dearest friends, meditate deeply on these last two sentences. You will then come to see that the event you fear is much less frightening than your helpless dependency on having to have what you want, while denying your own and life’s limitations.
QA124 QUESTION: I would like to know how come I’m full of fear and I don’t feel depressed whatsoever?
ANSWER: Because your deep psyche is aware of the fact that you are moving upward, that you are developing almost – almost, not quite – almost to your top potential, and that is well.