But I fear to step out. I fear to lose everything I have now, even though it could or could not turn out better.
How do I address this fear?” – Stevens
Dear Stevens, thanks for your question 🙂 It’s absolutely great that you already have full clarity of your purpose and your goals. This clarity is what’s going to bring you through a long way later on. 😀
However, right now you have something that’s blockading you from your dreams. And that’s fear. While it’s possible there are several aspects of fear involved, such as fear of change, fear of loss, fear of the unknown, what comes through most strongly is the fear of loss.
When there is a fear of loss, it signals a form of attachment to the item that is at risk of being lost. The fear of loss has caused many to freeze into a mode of inaction in their lives today. People have grown attached to the things in their lives they have come to have. Things like their career, their status, their salary, their lifestyle, etc. To pursue something different would possibly mean relinquishing all of these things they have come to know. Because of this fear of loss, some people choose to put their dreams perpetually on hold.
However, this attachment is illogical and comes about as a byproduct of being too entrenched in our physical world.
The reason why it’s illogical is because everything in our lives, except our consciousness, is impermanent. This includes everything in the physical world: from our wealth, our salary, our material possessions, our status, our careers, our property, our physical bodies. We were born into this world as ourselves, with our consciousness. When we die, we will lose everything and bring with us only our consciousness.
[I have written about attachment before in the context of material possessions, which you can read in the article Materialism Breeds Unhappiness.]
The full understanding and realization of this fact can result in quite a powerful shift in our minds. Suddenly, it doesn’t matter what we have in our lives, as much as how we are living it.
Instead of concerning ourselves with what we have, the important question to ask will be – Am I living my life to the fullest? Am I living my purpose, my passion and my dreams? Am I living my life in the best manner possible? Am I living my life in a way which I will stand true to even the day I die?
When I first realized this a few years ago, it resulted in a total paradigm shift. I suddenly realized all these structures I was focusing on creating in terms of career, wealth, possessions, status, etc were meaningless. They formed a nice, candy fort which I could proudly exhibit and keep building upon as I grow older, but for what – some 40, 50 years? That’s about it. After that – when I die, they would just crumble and disintegrate. They were not things I could take with me beyond death.
This was what drove me to pursue a life of higher purpose and meaning. When I decided to quit my job last year in Oct ’08, I wasn’t concerned with the lucrative pay check I was relinquishing. I wasn’t thinking about the attractive career track I was giving up. I wasn’t thinking about all the material goods and wealth I could be accumulating by staying on.
All I was thinking was how I would be wasting my life away if I continued doing something that’s not my passion. All the time and energy I would be wasting on acquiring different worldly possessions which were not going to last forever anyway. When I looked at my life in the broadest spectrum, beyond life and death, it was starkly clear that I needed to be pursuing my passion full-time. Everything else just didn’t matter at all.
The bottom line is this – If you are not living your passion, then you really have nothing to lose.
Ever since then I started pursuing my purpose full-time, life has been incredible. I’m serious. I’m living my best life ever yet, and I just know that everything is going to be even better and better from here on. And I’ve just scrapped the surface of what’s in-store for me. There’s just SO much more just waiting to be uncovered and unveiled that I can’t even begin to imagine.
Think about the day when you are going to die. Would you rather look back at having spent your life holding on to things which you can’t carry with you after death or look back at how you have passionately and fervently lived out your dreams?
Start by releasing your attachment to the things in your life. That’s when you will start making your best decisions for yourself and your life, devoid of ego and fear. 🙂
Image: Man walking alone