The kingdom of the eternal

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When we love and allow ourselves to be loved,

we begin more and more to inhabit the kingdom of the eternal.  

Fear changes into courage, emptiness becomes plenitude, and distance becomes intimacy.

John O’Donohue, AnamCara

When we feel fear

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If you find yourself doubting or hesitating today…

The next time you encounter fear, consider yourself lucky. This is where the courage comes in. Usually we think that brave people have no fear. The truth is that they are intimate with fear. When I was first married, my husband said I was one of the bravest people he knew. When I asked him why, he said because I was a complete coward but went ahead and did things anyhow.

Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart

photo dwight sipler

We are the awareness

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The practice of silence nourishes vigilance, self-knowledge, letting go, and the compassionate embrace of all whom we would otherwise be quick to condemn. Gradually we realize that whatever it is in us that sees the mind games we play, is itself free of all such mind games and is utterly silent, pure, vast, and free. When we realize that we are the awareness and not the drama unfolding in our awareness, our lives are freer, simpler, more compassionate. 

Fear remains frightening but we are not afraid of fear. 

Pain still hurts, but we are not hurt by pain.

from Martin Laird’s beautiful book, Into the Silent Land: The Practice of Contemplation

photo Per Ola Wiberg

Not listening to our fears

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The imagination is far better at inventing tortures than life because the imagination is a demon within us and it knows where to strike, where it hurts. It knows the vulnerable spot, and life does not, our friends and lovers do not, because seldom do they have the imagination equal to the task.

Anais Nin

Giving over power

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Suffering begins when you mentally label a situation as bad.

That causes an emotional contraction.

When you let it be, without naming it, enormous power is available to you.

The contraction cuts you off from that power, the power of life itself

Eckhart Tolle

Stubborn refusal

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The path of love is not the absence of fear. Real love is made possible through vulnerability. Vulnerability is the possibility of having one’s heart open enough to let love in, and also let pain in.  The path of love is not the avoiding of suffering, but the welcoming of joy and suffering alike, the way a gracious host would.

So no, the path of love is not being impervious to fear.

It is simply the stubborn refusal to let fear have the last word.

Omid Safi, We must Cling to Love

photo Eric kilby