Descending Into Fear; Finding Spiritual Wholeness

I recently wrote about how love trumps fear.  Truly, love is the only game in town as far as trumping goes.  We are programmed by our culture to dismiss fear and equate it with cowardice.  When I was a boy, the one who showed fear was called ‘yellow’ and teased about being a baby.  An image of General George S. Patton slapping a young WWII soldier who was overcome by fear is an iconic example of our disdain for succumbing to it.  Love is not always easy to find when fear shows up.

But love is always present and always ready to be discovered.  Overlooking it is the problem.  We tend to try finding relief from fear by being brave, and by ascending above the troublesome circumstances we face.  Though there might be some validity to rising above fear, the solution is only temporary.  By shoving fear aside, planting it deep inside, and never dealing with it, we are setting up lifelong chronic survival responses. We are trying to grab control and hang on for dear life.  I’m not saying we shouldn’t be brave.  I’m saying that there is a time in which we must descend into the fear in order to find our true identity. Love can only be found when our tough exterior is cracked open.

Up is nowhere special at all, but hidden inside of down. Up is dangerous for the soul, while down is communal and comforting.” ~ Richard Rohr

The descent into fear is well chronicled in religion, mythology, and tales handed down to us over the millennia.  The Bible story of Jonah being swallowed by a whale, Luke Skywalker and friends caught in the bowels of a garbage compactor, Jesus’ forty-day desert experience, and Muhammad’s revelation in the cave Hira, all reveal the necessity of facing our greatest fears by entering into the depths of innermost being.  The result is a mystic transformation.  This is what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey. So, being bold enough to descend into fear leads us to the tunnel of liberation.  This is authentic courage.  It is not made up of violence and retaliation.  It is an embrace of our true selves and hence, a full embrace of infinite love.  In what seems to be brokenness we experience wholeness…and we find God.

Spiritual Awakening; From Pain to Wisdom

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“You embrace the pain that comes from knowledge and laugh at the bliss born out of ignorance. You accept that pain is a side effect of doing what you love, knowing that pain is merely the hard center of love that must be embraced, softened and transformed into wisdom.” ~ G. W. McGee

One of the signs of a spiritual awakening as defined by G. W. McGee, a former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, asserts that we find ourselves preferring to ‘be slapped with the truth than kissed with a lie’.  There develops a real appreciation for truth that trumps any amount of pain or suffering that’s necessary to achieve it. People in AA are well aware of this fact. Regardless of consequences, they face the reality that addictions have caused great pain to themselves and others.  They follow the 12 Steps and engage in a new responsibility to truth and begin to practice it in all of their affairs.

As William Goldman tells us through Westley (Dread Pirate Roberts) in The Princess Bride, “Life is pain, Highness. Anybody who tells you otherwise is selling something.

When we accept that there is always pain in life, the wisdom gained through even the most difficult experiences becomes attainable.  Regrets begin to slip away when we awaken to the certainty that God is with us through every suffering and heartache.  We face the truth and embrace the existence of unconditional love.  This is spiritual awakening.

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Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse.

In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers.

His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation.

Contact Bob Jones on Linkedin

Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast