QA163 QUESTION: I’ve become increasingly aware of how much I’m afraid of people per se. For instance, when I’m walking down the street and people pass by me and suddenly yell at someone nearby me, I immediately feel a threat. I’ve also been frightened by even children coming at me or passing in front of me. I feel a very precise, physical fear of people and it makes me want to protect myself, and yet I somehow see the absurdity of this. Would you comment?
ANSWER: Yes. I would like to say here, once again, something I said to you before but perhaps in a different way to show you how important this is for you. Number one, I want to say how important it was that you realize this; that you are so acutely aware of it; that you have come to the point where you can talk about it, pinpoint it, say it, and perhaps even begin to realize that these ideas are not real – that they are not according to reality. This is a very important step in your development.
As long as you fear your own good feelings within yourself, you must have – let us put it as primitively as this – bad feelings. You must have feelings of anger and rage and fury against others, because the energy of emotions or feelings must turn into negative if the positive is prevented. So if you deny your good feelings, they turn negative.
Your own negative feelings create this vicious circle, for it is impossible not to believe that others feel the same way as you do. What you really experience in the threat of others, what you assume comes from them to you, is what exists in you.
Now, only as you now, in the next phases of your work, can proceed to make yourself capable of tolerating good feelings, in your body and in your psyche – only then will you cease to fear others as constant danger. This is a very, very direct thing; you have to focus your attention on this fact and become as aware of fearing your good feelings as you are now aware of fearing other people as a potential danger to you.
Now, this too – this fear of your good feelings – is not yet conscious, as only a short while ago you were not at all conscious that you irrationally fear other people. You were aware of some very unpleasant feelings, but you could not pinpoint it in that way.
You were not, as you know very well, able to state it in that way and know even that this may be a completely unjustified assumption on your part. So are you now not really aware yet – not personally and feelingly aware – of fearing your good feelings.
Once you are aware of, namely, the fear of other people, once you can bring it back to that, then you can proceed further and systematically – gradually and step-by-step – to teach your body, as it were, to allow the good feelings in you.
That will proportionately change your attitude to others. Proportionately, you will cease fearing them. I can promise you that. Do you understand?
QUESTION: Yes. I noticed something along that line tonight when I was talking to someone. I felt very anxious, and then I felt my legs shaking for some reason. I thought there was some sort of battle going on inside me, in terms of feelings that I might have. And I feel constricted.
ANSWER: Yes. Exactly. Now you see here, I have to say again and again and again what I say so often to all of my friends – and it cannot be emphasized enough, for man consistently forgets, even if he has known it, and even known it more than a theory but a reality and feeling – that there is nothing more harmful than fearing what is in you, whether what is in you is good or bad as you may use these words, often quite arbitrarily; fearing your best and fearing your worst – it is equally foolish to do so.
For only by fearing yourself do circumstances arise that warrant fear in the first place. So, please, my friends, do not fear what is in you. Do not ever fear what is in you – what you feel, what you believe secretly, what you assume, what you conclude, what you think, how you react. Everything that is in you is precious, even if it is, first of all, destructive on the uppermost level of your unconscious being.
For it is precious, because only as you look at it and deal with it intelligently can you then see that it turns into a wonderful force that opens the gates to the infinite that is never outside you. It is always inside you.
This word, infinite, is not to be taken lightly. It is not to be taken as a stereotype or as a shallow, religious expression. The infinite means something extremely practical – right now, right here – a constant possibility of expansion, every day – every day! – of realizing the true nature of life in exactly the same proportion as you realize your own true nature as it is at this moment, good or bad.
So fearing yourself hinders you in every possible respect. Cultivate, again and again, the attitude, “I will not fear; I will let come what is in me; I will make myself calm and quiet to let be what is in me.” If you practice this attitude, again and again, something must happen, something new must begin to pass within you.
Take this feeling home that you just described and say into yourself, “There is nothing to fear. Whatever I feel threatened by, I will look at it. I will let it happen to me. And if I don’t like its results, it will grow in its natural way only if I have the courage to let myself feel what I already feel anyhow. By turning my head away from it, as it were, the feeling does not go away.”
It merely manifests in very unpleasant ways, as you know. All the things you describe, all the loneliness and unhappiness and anxiety is a result of that.