To face your greatest fear requires that you go beyond expectations to embrace the wild ride of love.
For me my greatest fear was opening up about my difficulties with intimate relationships after experiencing sexual abuse during my childhood. I had great success as a High-Performance Sports Coach, great success as an Inner Peace Coach, and great success in my meditation practice after working one on one with many great teachers for a number of years. Intimate relationships, however, were very difficult for me.
Why were they difficult?
Because they brought up expectations that were rooted in fear.
Fear-based expectations come from our conditioning, they come from our past experiences and they come from the part of our mind that has to “know”. It wants a safe outcome, a safe pattern to fit into its stories, and a safe way of living.
We need to have practical expectations around certain things to be able to live in this world. Using the example of intimate relationships, we have expectations in society around what is an appropriate age to be in an intimate relationship and what is appropriate in certain roles. The expectations rooted in fear, however, have no real practical value for us throughout our life but were often triggered in childhood to get our needs met in indirect ways.
I credit my regular meditation practice and wonderful training as the main reason I was able to eventually break through all this negative conditioning with intimate relationships. Although meditation can result in many wonderful inner states and experiences, the real value of meditation practice is how it uplifts us in our everyday life.
There are two critical things that should be brought into a meditation practice…
A positive intention assures we are being grounded and practical. It could be looking for improvements in sleep, reducing our stress levels, helping with anxiety, improving our relationships, and so on.
Most meditators have this positive intention towards their meditation practice but they limit the results of their meditation hugely because they place many inner expectations on it.
Inner expectations come from our expectations of how our meditation should look and feel within. For the best results with meditation, I suggest an inner posture that accepts and trusts whatever comes up. All of the bodily sensations, thoughts, emotions, and moments of deep profound awareness are to be welcomed and embraced during meditation practice.
Otherwise, what happens is that you subtly fit your meditation into a predetermined set of fear-based expectations when really the expectations are what you need to shift to get the practical result you want. For example to relax more you may actually really need to feel a deep emotion very powerfully or some crazy bodily sensations for a couple of minutes. Or maybe what you needed in your meditation was quite a dry and bland experience that didn’t seem to do a lot. You just don’t know!
Fear-based expectations come from our conditioning, they come from our past experiences and they come from the part of our mind that has to “know”.
With a positive intention and open inner posture though you can really trust that something good is happening for you even if it was the complete opposite of what you expected.
This trust comes from the fact that this inner posture opens the door for Divine Love to be the driving force of the meditation practice. This transforms fear-based expectations into an open space of love. Love is the great door-opener, spreading her divine light so big changes can happen in your everyday life that you so desperately want and need.
The wild ride of love welcomes all into your meditation practice with no need to know, no need to control and the ability to dive deep into whatever is arising in the present moment. Tears may be flowing, then there may be complete silence and then a deep emotion of anger may arise shortly after. Love in her infinite waves of surrender and grace welcomes it all in this messy, imperfectly perfect and intensely personal way of meditating.
I suggest taking two firm intentions into your meditation practice before you start, taking a couple of minutes with each.
One intention is about what you are aiming to get out of it in your everyday life and then the other intention is to align with love by allowing all to be there from a place of deep innocence and surrender. Then you relax deeply into the meditation, staying fully present to whatever is arising with perfect trust that this is what needs to be in your awareness right now.
Over time practicing this inner posture helps you see that life is one celebration of love and all that was ever needed was for us to drop the shields of our fear-based expectations that we’re defending our own little stories and patterns. Love was in our thoughts, love was in our emotions, love was in our bodily sensations and love was in the moments of deep awareness. It was wild, free and totally beyond anything you expected it to be.