9 January 2015 2 Comments

Managing Your Energy, Part 32: Do You Scare Yourself Out of Developing?

Working with a spiritual teacher several decades ago, I remember getting really scared. I was thinking: “If I REALLY open my heart I will have to give everything to the poor and live like Mother Teresa.”

That was my concept about spirituality.

A dear client felt afraid to take her next step in personal and spiritual development. As we looked into this fear, she formulated its underpinning as something like this: “If I become perfect, I will have to give up getting angry, and therefore will have to do what my husband wants me to do and give up the control I feel through my resistance.”

Most of us fear transformation. Faced with the possibility of profound change, we often have an underlying, anxious construct like: “If I become like _____ I will have to _____, and therefore ______.”

Such constructs and resulting predicaments stem from unexamined assumptions, driven by fear. Either/or thinking often plays a part. The initial premise is usually an inaccurate assessment, which leads to an unrealistic extrapolation about a frightening and fictional future.

Noticing and investigating rhetoric or propaganda from our less-developed inner sectors is essential to successful personal and spiritual development.

Here is a line of inquiry for investigating fears and conflicts about inner growth:

  • What are you actually afraid of?
  • Is this fear warranted?
  • How does this fear indicate a conflict of values between different parts of yourself?
  • What part or value is most important to your life satisfaction?
  • Can you intentionally choose your most important value and go with it?
  • What inner resources would serve you in doing so?

Let’s walk this through with the fear I began with:
What are you actually afraid of? I was afraid that I would be compelled to sacrifice myself entirely in order to have spiritual validity.IMG_0105

Is this fear warranted? No. In actual fact, my issue has been with over-giving; too much sacrifice. My spiritual path has actually helped me to give in healthier ways.

How does this fear indicate a conflict of values between different parts of yourself? Part of me wants to give everything, while part of me is survival-oriented and selfish.

What part or value is most important to your life satisfaction? Balance and healthy adjustment are more important to me than either sacrifice or selfishness.

Can you intentionally choose your most important value and go with it? Yes, and I have been practicing. When I begin to feel too self-sacrificing or too selfish, I make adjustments.

What inner resources would serve you in doing so? I understand that very life time has different requirements for balance, and that the things that serve my soul bring about real happiness.

When we become fully loyal to our most comprehensive values, we resolve mental conflict and can use our values to navigate life challenges.

A few more thoughts about scaring ourselves with ideas about growth:

  • States of awareness that we move toward in the process of healthy development are rarely the way we imagine them from within our current limitations.
  • We usually enter new states having developed the foundations that support them.
  • A new state may require adjustment, but after adjusting we feel better than we did before.
  • We usually develop new stages of awareness gradually, and must work to stabilize them so we do not regress. This process is like adding drops into a bucket of a waterwheel, which begins to move slowly once its weight hits critical mass. If we do not keep adding water it may come to a stop.

Spiritual work consists largely of learning to be able to accept and tolerate WHAT IS. This includes ourselves! We are not attempting to transcend our humanity, but to integrate it within the Whole.

Do YOU ever scare yourself about doing the things that are most important to you?

If so, how do you construct or deconstruct your rhetoric about it?

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2 Responses to “Managing Your Energy, Part 32: Do You Scare Yourself Out of Developing?”

  1. Therese 9 January 2015 at 12:19 pm #

    This is so much about my current process of taking care of me. Can I take care of me and still have a marriage? How long will I feel the need to isolate myself? How minimally can I live? What will I lose if I live my dream?

    All fear questions. All ridiculous. Whatever happens is for my best self. Change is scary and the ego is attached to the current paradigm. My favorite bumper sticker reads, “Upset the current paradigm.” I love that idea. My ego still resists the idea but my soul loves the idea.

    Thank you Teresa.

    • Teresa Dietze 15 January 2015 at 3:37 pm #

      All GOOD questions.Yes, fear-based, but the fact that you can formulate and therefore address them with your value system intact is excellent.

      I sure know what you mean about the ego/soul interaction. So prototypically human!

      Love,

      T


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