12-2-18 Hope and Fear

Hope and Fear

Hope – “To desire with expectation of obtainment.” (How can I get what I want from this?)
Fear – “Intense reluctance to face or meet a person or situation.”(How can I avoid what I don’t want to deal with?)

Our addiction has brought into the spotlight our hopes and fears magnified to the point of our not being able to deny the destructive nature of our thoughts and actions, on ourselves and on others. Brought into the light of our awareness, or our same demons will continue to haunt and affect our lives. No demon can exist in the light, only in the darkness of our denial.

Hope may have been, or is still, a necessary part of our early recovery. We may have needed hope that there was a way out of our hell in order to begin healing. We have now learned that any vision of hope must be followed by action for anything to actually happen. Also – abandon any hope of a different past, — or a better future. What we are is because of what we have done. What we will become depends on what we DO NOW. Right action based on our right view. A healthy view, has nothing to do with hope or fear, but only reality and acceptance. 

We keep hoping to get what we want by forcing our way, or alternately, are afraid to step into something we know to be right but we feel a fear of exerting ourselves. What will others think? What if I am wrong, I don’t want to rock the boat. If I stay invisible maybe fewer bad things will happen, I don’t want to be responsible.
Stepping into fear is how fearlessness comes about.
                                                                                                                                                       The Place Beyond Fear and Hope: Motivated by hope, but then confronted by failure, we become depressed and demoralized. Rather than inspiring and motivating us, hope has become a burden made heavy by its companion, fear of failing. So we have to abandon hope, and learn how to find the place “beyond hope and fear.” This is a familiar concept in Buddhism, yet little known in Western thinking. Liberated from hope and fear, we are free to discover clarity and energy, but the journey there demands behaviors we’re not familiar with or have actively avoided.

Here are a few markers of this journey. I am experiencing fear, I am not the fear itself. A willingness to feel insecure, then, is the first step on the journey beyond hope and fear. It leads to the far more challenging state: groundlessness. Knowing that nothing ever remains the same, learning to live with, and accept completely, the unrelenting constant of change, realizing that even the good things won’t last forever.

All fear (and hope) arises from looking backward or forward. The present moment is the only place of clear seeing, unclouded by hope or fear.

Beyond hope and fear, freed from success or failure, I’m learning what right action feels like, feeling its clarity and energy. I still get angry, enraged, and frustrated. But I no longer want my activities to be driven by these powerful, destructive emotions. I’ve learned to pause, BREATHE, come back to the present moment, and calm down. This becomes possible when I become present in the moment, and clarity emerges undimmed by hope and fear. Then I act, from a place that has a broader vision of what is healthy, beyond my small self of grasping or avoiding. We then feel a deeper sense of groundlessness and are comfortable with that. These are emotions I am experiencing, they are not who I AM. I am experiencing fear, I am not the fear itself.

Perhaps most importantly, we begin to believe in ourselves. We begin to touch into a deeper sense of connection to a power greater than our personal hopes and fears. A connected self that cannot be demeaned or frightened away. We may experience some doubt, but we know we CAN step through it and hold our heads up. What would it be like to not have fear or hope run our lives? A bit scary since we are so used to them. But like taking poison, which we have all done, when we stop, we begin to heal.

I seemed to find hope in AA that I could recover from alcoholism. What I really found, through others who went before me and shared their experience with me, was the recognition of the capacity within myself, to honestly face who I am, how the world is, and to choose to live more honestly, more fearlessly, with a kind and gentle heart. This takes effort and resolve. With practice I begin to relax into the flow of life, while still being able to deal with all the ups and downs. Big Book of AA

I live somewhere between hope and fear. Hope that this time things will be different… and fear that it’ll turn out like it has before. Amanda Mayo quotes  


Buddhist teacher Ani Pema Chodron writes, “Hope is an addiction to the idea that things would be better if they were somehow different.” This keeps us from dealing with everything as it actually is. Hope also leads us to wanting to be different and not being okay with who and how we actually are right now.

When you may be feeling tight, overwhelmed, or unsure; Stop any physical activity; stand or sit upright. Relax your mind, just open up your mind with no thought. Slowly and very mindfully, being aware of all the physical sensations, take a slow deep breath in. Hold the in breath for two or three seconds. Slowly, being aware of the sensations, exhale, slowly, while relaxing your shoulders and jaw. Feel the breath go out slowly, and completely. Stay with the sensation of the spacious out-breath few a few seconds, letting your mind be very calm. Breathe again – SMILE. 

Are you able and willing to have the discipline to be kind to yourself for a few seconds, that can have a lasting effect? Consider all the time we spend feeling an underlying, subtle, unhappiness and don’t do anything about it. 

Quit hoping, quit fearing, and begin to really live, right here, right now. That is freedom.

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for.
Heart Of Recovery web site — fcheartofrecovery.com