Thursday, December 3, 2009
SUCCESS Beyond FEAR
FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real.
There is the light at the end of every tunnel. The very fact that you are in darkness and trouble right now, means that light is few yards away, success is not far off. As the fear dissolves, you will start to see options and possibilities and become optimistic about the change. And this fear can only be dissolved by moving forward taking action, embracing the fear itself and dissolving it.
The wild ride between hope and fear is unavoidable. Fear is the necessary consequence of feeling hopeful again. Contrary to our belief that hope and fear are opposites where one trumps the other, they are a single package, bundled together as intimate, eternal partners. Hope never enters a room without fear at its side. If I hope to accomplish something, I’m also afraid I’ll fail. You can’t have one without the other.
Hope is what propels us into action. We’ve been taught to dream of a better world as the necessary first step in creating one. We create a clear vision for the future we want, and then we set a strategy, make a plan, and get to work. We focus strategically on doing only those things that have a high probability of success.
As long as we “keep hope alive” and work hard, our endeavors will create the world we want.
Motivated by hope, but then confronted by failure, we become depressed and demoralized. Life becomes meaningless; we despair of changing things for the better. At such a time, we learn the price of hope. Rather than inspiring and motivating us, hope has become a burden made heavy by its companion, fear of failing. Liberated from hope and fear, we are free to discover clarity and energy, but the journey there demands behaviors we’re not familiar with or have actively avoided. Those who have persevered and maintained steadfast focus even when their efforts have yielded little or no results. How does one make this possible?
I’ve noted that those who endure, who have stamina for the long haul and become wiser in their actions over time, are those who are not attached to outcomes. They don’t seek security in plans or accomplishments. They exchange certainty for curiosity, fear for generosity. They plunge into the problem, treat their attempts as experiments, and learn as they go. This kind of insecurity is energizing; people become engaged in figuring out what works instead of worrying about how to avoid failure.
A willingness to feel insecure, then, is the first step on the journey beyond hope and fear. It leads to the far more challenging state: groundlessness. Knowing that nothing ever remains the same, learning to live with the unrelenting constant of change, realizing that even the good things won’t last forever, accepting that change is just the way it is.
All fear (and hope) arises from looking backward or forward. The present moment is the only place of clear seeing unclouded by hope or fear.
Don’t prolong the past, don’t invite the future, and don’t be deceived by appearances, just dwell in present awareness. Of course, trying to be present when everything around you is crashing down is not easy. It takes enormous effort and discipline to keep recalling ourselves back to the present moment. Only in the present moment, free from hope and fear, do we receive the gifts of clarity and resolve. Freed also from anger, aggression, and urgency, we are able to see the situation clearly, take it all in, and discover what to do. This clarity reveals “right action”—those actions that feel genuinely appropriate in this moment without any concern about whether they will succeed or not.
Hope as an attribute we carry in us always, a state of being that is not dependent on outcomes.
Hope is a dimension of the soul … an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart. It transcends the world that is immediately experienced and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons.
… It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out.
Hope is not related to accomplishment. It is, quite simply, a dimension of being human. To feel hope, we don’t have to accomplish anything. Hope is always right there, in our very being, our human spirits, and our fundamental human goodness.
If we know that we are hope, it becomes much easier to stop being blinded or seduced by hopeful prospects.
Do not depend on the hope of results … you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself.
Beyond hope and fear, freed from success or failure, learning what right action feels like, its clarity and energy. You might still get angry, enraged, and frustrated. But no longer let your activities be driven by these powerful, destructive emotions. Learned to pause, come back to the present moment, and calm down. Take no actions until you can trust your interior state—until you become present in the moment and clarity emerges undimmed by hope and fear. Then act, rightly with hope. It isn’t outcomes that matter. It’s people, our relationships that give meaning to our struggles. If we free ourselves from hope and fear, from having to succeed, we discover that it becomes easier to love, everything you do and everyone around you. We stop blaming, and we stop being disappointed in each other.
Can we do our work without needing to see results? Can we be content that our work might bear fruit, but not in our lifetime? Can we cheerfully plant seeds with little concern for the harvest?