What’s Left When Fear Falls Away?

I’ve been falling asleep in dim light, grasping a page at a time, to the passages from my birthday book “When Fear Falls Away” by Jan Frazier.

Gifted to me by my friend, The Artist, it chronicles the experience of a woman (and she insists she is quite ordinary) who had a sudden shift in consciousness. She claims that her entire life changed, deep to the core of every moment. That she went from being a woman living in extreme anxiety around repeated cancer scares, to someone that began existing in a state of great peace. That the fear simply went away. And what filled the empty once occupied by fear, was an infinite well of love.

Her book describes this experience, not as one that had a beginning and an end. Not one that had a peak of sorts and then faded. It explains that this shift within her was so authentic and profound that it sustained, no matter the circumstance, no matter the calendar days that passed.

What she tells is that she was a simple woman, filled with lots of fear. She did nothing special except that one night, filled with anxiousness for the next cancer test, she decided to ask. Asking no one deity in particular, she was not religious. She just asked something – that thing that was bigger than herself – if she could stop being afraid. And what she reports is that the fear did indeed go away. Not for a night or a week, but permanently. Frazier’s account describes her journey through this experience, all the while insisting that this awakening is possible for every person.

She recalls a time in life before this shift, when she could simply not believe that she would ever awaken to any kind of divine state. That she could read of masters living in this way, but that it was not accessible to her.

I can relate. Reading her words I reflect on this in my own life. I dwell with my beliefs. Just take a look at my own mind and how it can so instantly jump to “Nahhhh. Not me. I could never really be completely free of fear. I’m not one of those special human beings that could live in a state of grace, 24/7, no matter the outer circumstances. That is a state beyond me. Impossible for what I am capable.”

I realize these thoughts play quietly in the deep recesses. Strong enough to make a song, but sounding low enough that I do not notice them, though they hum assumptions that color my days.

How curious to simply listen to this song. Question it. Feel the freedom of even just considering singing a different tune.

Where else am I closing doors where I could be swinging them full open?

For inspiration, I’m including a quote from Frazier’s book “When Fear Falls Away.”

Here’s to the profound – found – in the every day.

“…The main thing is the experience deep in that has nothing to do with what’s going on around me. Trying to describe it is like trying to speak a language I don’t know: I’m new in this country. But also, it’s hard to put words to, because if I were to just say it like it is, say the way it feels, I fear I would sound immoderate, unseemly. And yet the experience inside is so incredible, it is for that very reason I am compelled to describe it. It is so very important. It is, in fact, the reason we live at all. Not a reason: the reason.

How can I keep quiet about this, self-conscious though it make me?

It’s the joy I refer to. The no-good-reason joy. It’s love that I feel-enormous love, vast, undirected love. Undiluted, unfunneled love. I know of no other way to say it.

I feel large, huge, vast, like what is in me pumps out into the world around me and fills it. Infects it.

It isn’t happiness. It isn’t directed at one particular person or place or idea.

But this isn’t what is most startling. It is the power that has opened to me, because of giving in to this force of love. I feel an enormous power inside-like I’m capable of more than I used to be.

God, I swear this is the best kept secret. Everybody can do it. I know this. I could have done it all my life.

It’s like I read once: The universe exists so God can hide and we can go looking for God. One big game. But the whole time, all we have to do is look. Right there. Right here: in this kitchen, where I sit in my wet socks, my coffee cup beside me, my boots on the floor, snow and mud melting out of the their treads onto the linoleum…”

– Jan Frazier “When Fear Falls Away, The Story of a Sudden Awakening

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