Fear and Its Disguises

Photograph © 2012 Peggy Kornegger
Photograph © 2012 Peggy Kornegger
The presence of fear is not always recognizable as such. Yes, it can be the jolt to the gut, adrenaline coursing through your body, at a near-miss in traffic or sudden turbulence mid-flight. Obvious. Unmistakable. But most fear is more subtle than that, more hidden. It lurks in your subconscious and disguises itself as other things when it emerges. Anger, sadness, negativity, shyness, humility, resentment—all these are perfect covers for fear.

A friend of mine feels angry when she’s in a situation that frightens her, such as running out of gas on the highway in the middle of nowhere. Anger comes up first; irritation. Next could be self-blame or regret. But really the root feeling is fear. Another friend experiences depression or sadness instead of active fear when facing a potentially difficult turn of events or future circumstances. Yet another friend recently wrote about how he now realizes that his spiritual “humility” has concealed a fear of standing out, of being fully himself in the world. I can relate to all of these experiences.

I’ve also had disguised fear directed at me in the form of well-meaning, but basically negative advice or warnings about something I plan to do. Naysaying. Actually, we live in a naysaying world dominated by fear and a mainstream media that promulgates it. We learn to internalize it and then pass it on to others. Our news sources rely on sensationalism to attract an audience with frightening new dramas every day: murder, disease, abuse, scams. Those who financially sponsor the media use fear to control people, to keep them distracted, apprehensive, and unquestioning.

Conscious awareness can shift everything, however. Once we recognize the sources of external fear in our lives, we begin to recognize it within ourselves. Some fear may come from past experiences, which needs to surface and be released, and some may come from present events and how they are perceived. When we become more aware, we realize that the world is not all mayhem and catastrophe. Positive solutions also exist, and we can become part of that wave of positivity on this planet. When we are not stopped by internalized fear, so much becomes possible. We can step into our own greatness: the fully realized humans we came here to be.

My own fear of “being great” has hidden behind childhood shyness and then adult political and spiritual beliefs about equality and humility. I’ve never liked the existing hierarchical paradigm in which individuals battle for top-dog status at the expense of others. I envision a world in which self-actualization is possible for all. To be humble is to know we are connected to everyone else, and what each of us does affects the whole. As I evolve spiritually, I have come to see that becoming my own greatest self does not negate humility but can actually enhance it when I align with my connection to all beings everywhere. That’s the magic; that’s the miracle.

Becoming your full-out magnificent self and also being aware you are part of a whole involves a delicate balancing. But that’s the humility of oneness. No self-abnegation or belittling of self, but instead, expansive creativity within a framework of collective brilliance. We can be fabulous with inclusivity, not exclusivity. We can inspire others without causing them to feel small. Because we are all inspiring when we allow our souls to step to the fore. So don’t let fear stop you, no matter what disguise it wears. See through the masquerade to the soaring spirit at the core of everything and everyone.

Is Pain Godly?

Photograph © 2016 Peggy Kornegger
Photograph © 2016 Peggy Kornegger
What role does pain play in our lives, if any? Certainly it can be a reminder at the physical level that we may need to pay more attention to our own health or stress level. But beyond that, what function does it serve? If looked at from a spiritual perspective, pain is present for a greater reason, as is everything that appears in our lives. There are no accidents or coincidences. No alien beings possessing our bodies against our will. If everything is God, then how exactly is pain godly in our lives? Good question, especially for me, as I have spent most of my adult life living with recurring pain in the form of migraine headaches. For many years, I also carried a heavily weighted wish for them to disappear and leave me in peace.

It was an interesting thought: that I couldn’t be at peace if I was in pain. True? Not really. I can be at peace if I let go of suffering on all levels, including the physical. If I am in pain but not suffering, peace is present. Which comes first, peace or letting go of suffering? Actually, they are closely linked, like the loops in a Celtic infinity knot. The soul is always at peace; if the personality consciously aligns with the soul, it too is at peace and suffering fades. When I stop resisting the pain and just breathe into it, peace arises from my soul. Within peace, pain lessens and sometimes disappears entirely. So any way you want to approach it, peace and pain are not actually in opposition to each other. As my spiritual journey deepens, I continue to learn the truth of this.

I also learn about pain’s hidden gifts—how it can highlight the blessings in life, bringing into my conscious awareness how precious each moment is. After a two-day headache ends, I feel such immense appreciation for life’s small wonders. It also teaches me compassion and resilience: to have heartfelt empathy for others’ pain and to be able to spring back from adversity or trauma. Pain is the dancing spirit, like Kokopelli and his flute, that reminds me to embrace all of life’s experiences, even when they hurt. Life on Earth at this time is not easy. Every one of us has to face pain in some form, physical, emotional, psychological—even spiritual (the dark night of the soul).

There is a heightened energy now that is immersing us all in intense transformation within our day-to-day lives, and we are constantly adjusting to and integrating it, whether we are aware of it or not. Sometimes these adjustments, as we evolve and expand into light-filled human be-ings, can cause physical pain, emotional turmoil, or psychological distress. When we allow ourselves to fully feel whatever arises and let it pass through us without resistance, we move forward more freely with greater awareness, trust, and inner strength. We let go of the old and open to the new on the deepest possible level.

So, are my headaches related to planetary change? Perhaps my physical form is adjusting to embodying a higher vibration, an expansiveness that is continually creating new neural pathways. That may be pain’s ultimate hidden gift: an elevation of the human/divine experience. Still, on some level, it continues to be a mystery to me. But the mysterious, in all its wondrous manifestations, can be the gateway to spiritual insight. When I look through the eyes of my soul, I see with increasing clarity the oneness, the seamlessness, of all of life. Each experience I have is intricately interwoven with every other.

There is truly nothing in this universe that is not God, or godly. All of nature, all people, all events, all experiences, are interconnected. When we open to this truth, we learn to welcome everything as part of our growth and evolution. That is one of the blessings of the times we are living in. Gradually, we are beginning to recognize the presence of grace and perfection in every aspect of our lives, including what we can’t understand with the mind or have labeled “pain.”

“Inside my pain is the seed of my strength…
No mistakes have been made in God.”
—Rickie Byars Beckwith

A Lifetime Longing

Photograph © 2013 Peggy Kornegger
Photograph © 2013 Peggy Kornegger
In a recent teaching, Panache Desai talked about how so many of us have unconsciously yearned to know God or the truth of existence all our lives. We didn’t always have words for it, but at our core was a deep-seated longing to understand the universe, to feel a connection to something beyond our own separate selves. In our individual aloneness, we reach out for contact, for meaning, even in our early years. I certainly did, although I did not recognize it as a desire to know God. My reaching or yearning took the form of fear. Fear of eternity, of an infinite universe. It scared me so much that I was unable to sleep at night, and my mother would sit at my bedside to comfort me.

I was not raised within any particular religion, so God was just an idea to me. A possibility, my parents said, a question that each person must answer for themselves. I suppose, in their own way, they were referring to what Native Americans have called the “Great Mystery.” Nothing I could relate to at 6 years old. What I was seeking was relief from the terror I felt whenever I thought about the universe going on and on forever. God’s existence had no relevance to that, at least in my own mind at the time. As I saw it, eternal life (heaven) and eternal death (the void) were both eternity and thus equally frightening. I lived for years and years with that fear embedded in my consciousness. Many times, I thought it would drive me crazy.

It wasn’t until I met Panache and began to work with him that the fears I had carried all my life began to gradually transform. Through him, and later on my own, I experienced infinity as divine presence, or God. It filled me with the most profound peace imaginable—absolutely no fear. I felt at one with everything everywhere, beyond time and space, and my consciousness shifted completely. It was then that I began to realize that this was what I had yearned for my entire life, this immersion in oneness and unconditional love that is God. I had always longed, as William Blake wrote, to “hold Infinity in the palm of [my] hand” and know it as pure love, not fear at all. And here it was at last—God’s loving gift of presence within my own heart and soul. In truth, that sacred connection had always been there. It is who I am, who we all are.

Sometimes you wait your whole life for a key experience that changes everything in all directions—past, present, future. Often you can only reach that experience after having lived your way to it. Ultimately, that is why we came to this Earth: to experience our separateness and find our way home again; to recognize that separation is only an illusion within that greater oneness which encompasses all of existence. That is the human journey, during which we can feel so lost and alone at times, but looking back, we see nothing but grace and love. In that moment of realization, of conscious awareness of our oneness with everything, we step into ananda, or bliss. We know in our deepest heart that all of life is a blessing and that we ourselves are a part of that blessing because we are part of the infinite presence of God.


Interview with Panache Desai

PanacheSpiritofChangeThis summer I interviewed Panache Desai for Spirit of Change magazine, and the interview, “We’re All Family Here,” is currently in the fall issue. Visit their website to read this moving and inspiring conversation with Panache, as he talks about his work as a vibrational catalyst, facing crisis in life, and the planetary changes we’re all experiencing now: http://www.spiritofchange.org/Fall-2016/Were-All-Family-Here/.  If you live in New England, the print version of Spirit of Change can be picked up locally at bookstores, health food stores, and various other sites.

You Are Unique

Photograph © 2012 Peggy Kornegger
Photograph © 2012 Peggy Kornegger
There is no other being on this Earth, in this universe, who is just like you. You are entirely unique. Not only in your physical features—your face, hair color, and body shape—but also in your cells, your genes. No part of you is replicated anywhere in the cosmos. Think of that for a moment. Nowhere is there a duplicate of your specific body, mind, and spirit. Just like a snowflake, you are distinctly different from every other person on this planet. If you didn’t exist, your essence would be missing from the fabric of the created world.

Pause. Take that in. To be you is such a gift, an honor really. You came into this life for a reason. You were created to be the essence of who you are in your soul. The overlay of personality traits that you have developed to exist in a world that doesn’t always embrace your uniqueness is just that: a surface layer of coping mechanisms, of past history. Those things do not define you. At the deepest level, within your heart and soul, you are pure light expressing as loving presence in this world. You are a love song, a sonnet, an improvised dance, a spark of fire, here to ignite the collective consciousness of all humanity through the sheer power of your beingness. Each of us is that.

Sounds like a big responsibility, doesn’t it? Actually it’s so much more than that. It’s an entry point to the playground of possibility that is life on Earth. We who have incarnated at this time are here to live out the furthest reaches of expanded awareness and creative expression that human beings can embody. We are doing it together, each of us in our own lives but connected through an invisible network of human/divine energy that makes our planet, too, unique. Earth is a planet of polarities, true, but it is also a place where we can come into harmony and balance in the midst of everything as we create lives based in oneness, love, and ongoing transformation.

How do we do that? Well, it’s a little different for every one of us. For me, it means writing my soul self into the world: sharing my experiences, insights, and visions and expressing my vulnerability and my humanness. It also means being completely present to those who cross my path each day (people, animals, birds, everything). To love and appreciate it all. To make every step, every breath, a prayer or an offering to life. And to continue to be open to the expansion of who I am and who I can become in my lifetime. We are each here to live our unique gifts into the world and constantly stretch ourselves into more. And to remember it is a shared journey, always.

So, every morning, look in the mirror and smile at that beautiful unique reflection before you. There is not another like it anywhere, and you are here to show us all that special something that makes you you. Celebrate your unrepeatability! Express your soul self in the world, and soon you will be surrounded by others doing the same. In multi-part harmony, we will fill the planet with music and song.

“You are becoming
The song of your heart
How beautiful it is….”
—Snatam Kaur