Question: Is there another exercise I might work with to remember my true aim the next time fear floods through me?
Answer: The next time (and every time) you catch some negative thought or feeling that says, “I am scared,” the first thing to do is to come wide awake to yourself. By taking the following inner action, you can deliberately snap yourself out of that dark dream that is trying to weave itself into your identity. Rather than allowing yourself to be drawn into all the reasons that have appeared in your mind to justify why you should panic, reach instead for the shelter of the present moment. Then, while knowing that this negative state is present and pressing you to identify with its little life, work as consciously as you can to drop everything in that negative declaration except for the awareness of I am.
In other words, let go of any dark definition of yourself about to be draped over you. Just stand there, in the Now, within the light of your awareness, and allow your newly awakened state to give you its identity. Then be still; just watch. Be the new you that sees the moment as it is — instead of being deceived into seeing what that false I wants you to see so that it can go on stealing your life!
Have you ever heard yourself say, “What in the name of heaven was that all about?” and you were asking yourself what you had just done? Or along the same lines, “What on earth was I thinking?” when it became clear you hadn’t been thinking at all! Then there’s always, “How could I have been so stupid? So blind?” Or — you fill in the blanks.
It’s more than clear there are many times when we act out behaviors that, while seeming right to us at the time, are later found to be all wrong for us and everyone else unfortunate enough to have been caught up in our misguided choices. But how do such blunders take place, knowing that no one would consciously choose to defeat himself?
The simple answer is that we don’t see what’s actually before us. We are temporarily blinded, but not in the sense of having no vision. Our momentary blindness is due to our own conditioned nature as it supplies us with its view of reality — one that we mistakenly accept as being ours — an error that can only be corrected by becoming more and more aware of the actual nature of our own internal workings. To see where we have been deceived — after the fall — is one thing. But learning to see how we’re being fooled — right in the act of it — brings an end to both the fool and the fall brought on by his foolishness.
Achievements in and of themselves change little in us; they are little more than a merit badge that tarnishes in time. Seen aright, it’s the suffering we endure for the sake of what we love that helps to transform and perfect our nature into something newer and truer. It is not so much what we acquire, as it is our willingness to pay the “cost” of it that actually enriches us.
Act on what you love, not from what you fear, and watch how fear fades as love grows.
Question: Are failures in life inevitable?
Answer: Try to understand the difference between living from something within yourself whose nature is contentment itself, and living from those parts of yourself that are forever seeking contentment. For those who persist with their wish of self-discovery — who will put this love of the Light first in their lives — there really is no such thing as failure. Why? Because every event — regardless of its “apparent” outcome, reveals to these sincere seekers what was formerly unknown to them . . . about themselves. That’s the key! The only thing that stands between us and the higher self we all strive to be, is what we don’t understand about the nature of the “barrier” before us. And all such barriers, all, are constructed out of what we’ve yet to learn about ourselves. This means that self-discovery is self-success, and that for the self-studying man or women, failure simply ceases to exist!