I n this path of spiritual searching that I have decided to take, I had to face many of my fears. I felt fear when I left my marriage of more than twenty years, leaving my children, starting my career anew, and in signing a lease where I assumed all the responsibility without having any financial backing. However, faith and confidence in myself allowed me to act in spite of my fear. An inner voice told me that I could do it. But this security did not come by itself; I acquired it by working on myself reading books, taking seminars, daring to face and accept the things that I needed to change. I learned a lot from experiences like Rebirthing and the Sweat Lodge. Inside a Sweat Lodge it is pitch black and extremely hot. The heat is so intense that it hurts your chest when you breathe and you feel like you are going to die. The American Indian who was leading the experience in Mount Shasta, explained to us that in the Sweat Lodge one has no other option than to give in and see oneself. I remember having two very important thoughts there: “If God allows me to do this it must be safe,” and immediately afterwards I told myself, “ if you can do this, you can do anything.” I think that I left many of my fears in that Sweat Lodge. When we discover who we are and the power that we possess, we understand that there is nothing to fear. We are always taken care of. We are always protected. We all suffer from fear, we could even say it is an illness. We are addicted to fear, to suffering. We prefer to suffer because it is familiar. We know how it feels. Despite our suffering, we feel comfortable. Fear is a familiar, everyday thing. When we dare to face and go through our fears, we reach the other side of the tunnel. We see the light. We recognize what is true and, not only do we feel triumphant and very happy with ourselves, but we look back and see that it wasn’t as terrible as we had imagined. I once took a business class where a certain person told us the story of how he had become a real estate agent. He was very young, and on his first day on the job his boss had asked him, “Do you want to sell houses?” Of course, he immediately answered that he did. The boss took him to a neighborhood and told him, “This is where I am going to leave you. I will pick you up in four hours. Go and knock door to door and ask the people if they want to sell their homes.” He left him a paper with a grid with one hundred boxes and told him that every time someone said no, he should make an X in one of the boxes. “Go and look for your first hundred NOs.” The young man could not believe it, but there was no way out of the situation. As it turned out many did say NO, but to his surprise, many said YES — that they had just been thinking about it and they wanted to get more information. In that moment the young man realized that with every person who said NO, he got closer to the possibility of a YES. We all have a big fear of NO, a great fear of rejection. But if we don’t risk receiving a NO, we will never receive the YES. What happens if people say no to us? If we really think about it, it’s not that terrible. The capacity to overcome fear is what differentiates the people that get a lot out of life from those that hardly get anything at all, the people that are successful and excel from those that stay stuck. Fear has to do with our own insecurities. We don’t know who we are, nor do we know the power or ability we have to attract all that is perfect and correct for ourselves. When we trust and believe in ourselves, we know how to recognize that every moment is perfect. If someone tells us NO, it’s not a big deal, since perhaps what we were looking for was not perfect and correct for us in that moment. When we love and accept ourselves, we do not depend on what other people say or think of us. We do not take it personally. He who has faith, knows that many times in these moments, something bigger and better is on its way, and awaits it with certainty and confidence. On the other hand, he who is lost ~ 68 ~ and confused and does not know his true identity feels a deep paralyzing fear. We all feel fear, from the person that sweeps the streets to the president of a nation. Fears do not have a hierarchy. The difference is that some people dare to feel them and go through them anyway. It is necessary to be brave in order to realize these changes. But if we don’t do it, no one will do it for us. Neither Jesus nor Buddha will return to save us. What we need in order to transform ourselves is inside of us. The transformation is an internal one. There is no other way to do it. There is no short cut in this search. Each one of us chooses our own path. The braver we are, the farther we go and the more possibilities that present themselves in our path. The good news is that fears exist only in our minds. They are created by us. Only we can change them. Beliefs and memories can be erased. We do not need them to survive. Our freedom depends on this process. In abandoning the prison that we have created in our minds, we are opening the door to our soul and recovering our freedom. Fear and suffering, much like bravery, are optional. They depend only on what we choose each moment. Many times it is necessary to stop in the middle of the road and make drastic changes. In some ways, we must die first in order to start to live. I speak of the death of that part of ourselves that is not real, of that which we believed we were, of the image that we sold to others, and worse yet, that we sold to ourselves. Fear assumes something bad will happen, knowing that the bad things we imagine will actually happen. Fear also moves mountains. I once read that success in life is not measured by what we have accomplished, but by the obstacles that we have had to face. Many times happiness is just around the corner, on that corner that we never dare to turn.