"I want to be brave when it comes to cutting myself loose from self-destructive situations, but each time I even get close to letting go, I get really scared. And when I get scared, I seem to hold on to everything even tighter! Is there a way to get past this fear? I loathe the idea that I may be too frightened to find freedom."
"Yes. There is a way past this part of yourself that would rather hold on than get out. However, to really let go of these fears we must first go through them."
"But I have tried overcoming my fears, and fight as I might, I just can't seem to break free of their dark and self-limiting influences."
"That's because you're trying to dominate the fear."
"Well, what else do you do with something that won't let go of you? Don't you have to find a way to be stronger than it?"
"Yes, of course, but fighting with fear is like trying to deliver a knock-out punch to a scary shadow. All you do is wear yourself out. To flatten your fears once and for all, you must forget about the idea of domination and start thinking about illumination."
"Illumination? What do you mean?"
"I mean self-illumination: The miracle that happens within us whenever we dare place the wish to understand what is frightening us before our certainty that there is no other choice but to feel afraid."
"I like the sound of what you're saying, but tell me, how can what I understand cancel the fear I feel?"
"Because if you dare to go ahead and be just as frightened as you really are, but at the same time agree to meet these fears consciously, you will actually see that what is so shaky is not you!"
"Please -- I would like to know more about this new understanding."
The seemingly scary condition, whatever it may be, is not the problem. It is your reaction that is fearful. This is why if you will become conscious of your condition instead of afraid of it, you will change forever your relationship with fear. It is only within this special kind of inner relationship that there is real safety, because now you are interacting with fear in an entirely new way. You are no longer letting it dictate to you how to act or what to do. Instead, you are aware of the fear. You are learning to quietly observe and study it. And, each day, as you discover something new about the strange and shaky nature of your own fearful reactions, they begin to lose their power over you.