There is a point on the spiritual path where someone knows that they have to make a change. It’s a critical time. It’s right at the edge of breaking free, and while there often are many of these types of moments as the many veils of illusion are shed, there is usually one really key moment where a person knows there’s no going back. They suddenly see that there is a price to pay–or at least, this is how the ego views it. In truth, at this stage, the ego is still very much holding sway in the individual. The deeper awareness is still kind of an idea/myth/or some other distant possibility. At this moment when the person starts to see what awakening really means, that deeper awareness is preparing to come forward. And it’s right at this moment, that a person often realizes just how truly scared they are of breaking free.

You Were Not Looking for Freedom

Here is the unfortunate reality of 90% of the people on the spiritual path: they were not looking for freedom. They simply weren’t. What most people are looking for on the spiritual path is the way out of pain. Buddhism talks about following the path to enlightenment as the way out of suffering. Christianity talks about turning to God to find salvation. But leaving suffering and finding salvation does not mean that your life will be free from pain and difficulty. Jesus ended up facing great adversity and pain in his life, but clearly, he was walking the spiritual path. I think it’s important to really appreciate this reality as many people will find that their spiritual freedom leads them into great difficulty. This is where those of you who still look to the outside world to confirm and affirm that you are doing the right thing will suddenly have great doubt. If the world is always supposed to like you and be easy for you to validate you as walking the “correct” spiritual path, then suddenly you may think that you are doing something wrong. This is a grossly unfortunate misunderstanding, and it is why the many great teachers out there will remind people that success in the external world does not reflect success in the internal world and vice versa.

As people suddenly find this adversity, this is usually where many people stop, shut down, and turn back. It is of course right when the opportunity to transcend this difficulty has arrived. So this possibility is also not realized, and it is because many of you were not looking for freedom. Furthermore, you had no idea what would be asked of you. You thought that the spiritual path would be some kind of endless ecstatic trip to an amusement park. Or you thought it would simply make everyone like you all the time. Or you thought that it would make your healing process completely easy.

Very rarely are any of these things true, and if any of these resonate for you (and resonance in this case will probably mean making you angry or upset), then it is time to get out the pen and paper (or computer word processing program) to write down what you really want.

The Arising of Fear: The Great Gatekeeper to Spiritual Liberation

Fear is one of the great gatekeepers on the spiritual path. There are some interesting ways where fear keep you from places that you are not ready to go. There is much on the spiritual path that is intensely challenging, and I’ve come to have a great esteem for fear and how it keeps people who are not prepared for the road ahead away from it. This may seem odd to you, but I encourage you to appreciate that every emotion and every part of life has its sacred role to play. I am not here to keep you locked in the bondage of fear, but I am definitely willing to say that it has its role. If you cannot face your fear, you are not ready for the next part of the spiritual path.

Because you will find that you cannot carry that much luggage on the plane. There is no way to fly with all those bags full of your fear. As you do take off in that plane, you will find that you have to keep throwing things out to keep flying. You will find that all your attachments keep you chained to old and unhealthy ways of being. You will find that you feel like you are “losing” everything, and that will include the idea of loss. Because its the ego that’s trying to gain things, and if you came to the spiritual path trying to gain a new identity for yourself or anything else, you will be sorely disappointed when suddenly this idea and attachment must be severed.

Scared By the Long Drop

One of my students said that she felt like I was asking her to jump off a cliff. It sure does look like that. It’s the unknown really. Most people would rather cling to the familiar misery of the known life that they live in than to jump off into the free space where anything is possible.

And anything is possible. That includes the good and the bad. So the ego will feel very triumphant when something bad happens that you could not have foreseen. It will run in and say, “Ah-ha! Look there. I told you this spiritual foolishness was a mistake. Look what has happened. You have lost your job and your wife is divorcing you. Go back to your old life. It was much safer.” Only the truth is that that is lie. You may still have lost your job and your wife/spouse if you’d stayed on the edge of the cliff. Perhaps, you were already falling and you just had assumed that the rush of the air was the wind. Many times, we find that we are falling as we come into our awareness. The spiritual path didn’t push us off a cliff; it simply made us aware that we are already plummeting to our own destruction.

The only thing to do now is to learn to fly.

The Long Inhale Before the Plunge

So here you are looking at your fear of breaking free. Here you are staring at the wall and metal, iron-barred doorway that keeps you inside. And you are holding the key.

Turning that key will take courage, love, hope, faith, God, and every other ounce of strength and support you can call on.

And yet it can be so easy.

I had a beautiful story share with me recently by a spiritual friend who found her truth in a courtroom speaking up for herself and her daughter. In a space where she had had so much fear and trepidation, in the moment of speaking, she was unafraid. She did not have an attorney to represent her. It was simply her speaking her own Truth. The court ruled in her favor.

This is a small snapshot of what may be asked of you to break free and firmly step onto the your soul path. It doesn’t have to be hard, and in truth, when you are fully present, the difficulty and fear that we create in our minds dissolves. From that space, you are a rock. You are unmovable in love and Truth, and from that space, you are free and limitless.

Living in the World, But Not Being of It

You may feel that you face many tests, but that too is the ego trying to define itself. You do not need defintion; you are already a profound, loving, and infinite being. What you may need is time to understand how to act from this space. You may need practice, and you may need community to help you break down old patterns and develop new patterns. That’s a big piece of what this blog is dedicated to. I am not here to awaken you. If you wake up while reading these words, that’s beautiful. But the awakening comes from within. It always comes from within. There’s no other place from which it can come.

Consider that you are seed in a garden. All the sunshine, rain, and fertilizer cannot make a seed sprout. That comes in its own sacred time. But once it springs forth, there is much work and much growth that it goes through as it learns to develop its roots and live in the world it is part of. This is the real spiritual awakening process–this is the embodiment process that I am always talking about. Because it is so important to learn how to be grounded in truth and love in this world. In so doing, you can be in it, but not get lost in it–even if it feels like you get a little lost from time to time. So long as you have those deep roots in spirit, you will find your way back.

Loving the Fear: Melting it From Within

In the instance of this blog post, this may be the first time you have ever truly gone within a fear. You will likely do this again many times. Meeting the doorkeeper this time is just the first time, not the last. You will likely find many fears and many other doorways on your spiritual path. You may try to run back to the door that you have just walked through. But that is impossible. When that shift within happens that starts the internally opening process; there is no going back. Sure, you can close your eyes and turn up the music really loud, but the new harmony and sights and sounds of your true life are already there. So let go of the struggle.

And if you are not past this first main fear yet, let go of the struggle here too. That’s part of what is energizing fear. Our attention and our struggle to escape it have given it form and life. Now it’s time to learn how to surround it with love. Now is the time to simply breathe into that space and dissolve it from within. That really is my best tip for facing fear. Imagine you can breathe into the fear. Imagine you are within it, and simply breathe all the love you can into this space. See what happens. If emotions come up, just be with them, and continue breathing. Let the relaxation that comes with deep breathing soothe away this fear, and see what comes next.

The Safety of the Jail Cell

For many of you, the jail cell feels safe. It has its walls and bars. You know where you can go. You don’t really want to have wide open spaces in your life. This too is fine. This is not me being facetious. This too is part of the grand unfolding of life. So do not run from your cage. Sit in it. Be with it as it is whether it is a horrendous job, a bad housing situation, an unsavory lover, uncontrollable children, or some other situation. Look at all aspects of it. Be with it completely until you no longer can accept any aspect of the cage. Be with it until freedom is the only thing you want in the world. Then and only then turn to face the jailkeeper. Face your fears that have keep you in this imagined box.

Until then, consider your fear of breaking free a gift. Consider that it is keeping you safe until you truly want to focus all your love, attention, and awareness on finding your spiritual liberation. Then go. Go with everything you have inside of you. Take nothing else.

Because you cannot fly with any extra weight. You can only fly with love, and that has no weight at all.


I'm a spiritual teacher who helps people find freedom from suffering.


  1. Wow. I really needed to read this! The jail cell is all too comfortable and familiar and you are right! Breaking free of it and exploring the freedom of the unknown, while appealing as a fantasy in reality it terrifies me! I pray this year for courage to have faith in my higher consciousness that I do not need the safety of the familiar chains that bind me. To freedom in 2013!

  2. G'day Jim

    You & I are on the same wave length & I thought I only thought like this, love the pure honesty, very refreshing I must say. Sorry to say most spiritually aware people are not honest with themselves.

    I've been on a couple of spiritual forums in the last twelve months, I have not been very well received at all by most, all they want to do is live in this make believe fairyland or manifest for their own desires & still call themselves true spiritually aware, there is very little acceptance on their part I'm afraid as most of them taboo the ego & anything else that makes them feel uncomfortable.

    I like your stuff that much I'm going to insert your address into my favorite site section on my blog if you don't mind. We are true pioneers!!

    I had a blog before called Science of spirituality that was based on similar stuff which became quite popular, it ended up going poof so eventually I started up another one called The World of True Spiritual Acceptance.


  3. Thanks so much for your support, Matthew. I appreciate the link and your kind words. Yes, many people confuse the spiritual path as a new kind of feel-good drug. It's not. It's the complete acceptance of everything, and in a world with drug-abuse, rape, and murder, the reality of total acceptance can be stark and overwhelming at first blush. But acceptance isn't passive or without taking action, so in truth, the only way to offer healing to the world is through acceptance. Because otherwise, we are ignorant or in denial, and that doesn't even allow us to see the problems before us.

  4. G'day Michelle

    I hope Jim doesn't mind me replying to this…..We can only find true peace, harmony & spiritual awareness through acceptance & the more we accept the more peaceful & spiritually aware we become.

    This concept seems strange because you can't accept all the wrong in the world…in actual fact you can as it's just the sign of the times. The more accepting one becomes the less traumatic life becomes because non-accepting of anything is conflict & a true spiritualist doesn't have conflicts with anything it just is.

    People who try to manifest there way out of the mess are actually manifesting more of the mess by acknowledging it more by trying to escape it but by accepting it for what it is gives you more freedom & peacefulness without conflict.


  5. Michelle, just let go of the fear and trust that it will unfold as it should. Letting go is all we ever really have to do with fear. With the letting go, the natural impulse to act or not to act will arise. It gets much simpler than the ego would have you believe. But the more committed you are to your ego or controlling the outcome, the more difficult it all becomes. The ego is a master of creating closed loops, impassable blockages, and jails without doors. Don't believe in these things. Don't give the fear and the old stories any of your energy. Because when you don't energize those things, you really don't need that much courage to do what you want and what you love to do.

  6. You're very kind, Amy. But if you can hear the wisdom in me, that is simply you being able to hear the wisdom that is already within you. I am just an external excuse to hear what you already know inside. 🙂

  7. Every bit of this is me right now. Kicking and screaming. I wasn't looking for freedom, I just wanted peace. My jail cell is/was security and freedom feels like when you get dumped by a wave at the beach and you're desperately trying to find the surface before you run out of breath because you can't touch the bottom and therefore have no orientation.

    I was bawling most of the way through this, so obviously it resonated and I needed to read it. I feel much better and I now know what to do with my fear. I don't lack courage, so I'm sure I'll get there.

    Thank you Jim for sharing your wisdom and insight.

  8. You're welcome, Claire. I'm glad the post can encourage you to face your fear and let it go. Just keep breathing and watching the fear. Without your energy and belief in it, the fear can dissolve.

  9. I feel traumatized. Some collective suffering of humanity became abruptly realized to me too suddenly, I wasn't prepared for it. I was cringing, violently shaking and wheeping on the floor. It makes me want to turn away from the spiritual path, but I'm not sure if thats possible. You say to just accept it, but I feel that if I do, I'll approach the next walls too quickly while being unprepared and die of a heart attack.
    This was not at all what I thought I was looking for, can you please tell me what to do. Quickly please.

  10. It sounds like you have repressed trauma coming up (unless you know that you've had trauma in the past, then it isn't repressed). I encourage you to find a therapist to work on what is coming up. The realization about humanity is just a trigger for something deeper in you.

  11. Your post on how to release pain from the energy body is exactly what I needed, thank you (or the algorithm) for reccomending it to me. God bless.

  12. I know I've had trauma in the past. I know why this is something I have to work through, I just dont know how. I was able to calm myself down some. Be not afraid, in spite of everything, it's alright. I just need some guidance on maybe some grounding techniques or something, I'm not sure, would really appreciate further advice. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  13. I'm glad you found that post. I can only encourage you to reach out to a therapist for help. We all need help from others from time to time.

  14. Hello Jim,

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful perspective. I found your article through a search as I have been struggling with so much fear and anxiety around committing to the spiritual path. I myself have a history of anxiety and depression, been on meds, through therapy, etc. I have become more and more spiritual ever since the awakening (precipitated by my intense psychological pain) which you spoke about in your blog. I actually called it forth with great intention. This resulted in a domino effect beginning with the end of my marriage. However, every time I start to read more about overcoming ego (especially through the likes of ACIM) I become so anxious. It's like losing the ground from under me. Suddenly, I feel disoriented and unable to understand what to think and how to act. It's like I now have to hold myself to this higher standard that I do not have the skills to meet. Not sure how to get past this place, for even as my spirituality and belief in God grows, this fear persists and I really feel ashamed when I break my commitment to be a better person, non-judgmental, loving. Any insight you can provide would be so appreciated as I feel ready to drop the extra baggage and move ahead. Thank you!

    – Tami

  15. Jim, thank you so much for your amazing videos and blog posts. I'm at exactly the point you are describing right now. My ego is screaming to stop but there is something deeper that knows stopping isn't an option. A big part of me wants freedom no matter what. There is both terror and excitement, churning and bubbling. I find it so useful reading about your experience – in this and so many other topics you have covered. It's heartening to know that others have experienced similar points in their journey. I'm very grateful to you for sharing so much. Wishing you much love and joy. Clare

  16. That's great thanks Jim. I've been working with a coach, but if we reach a point where she cannot help me I'll be in touch. It seems possible that I may need a spiritual perspective as well as or instead of a more psychological approach. I'm very grateful to have found you and your work and know that I can take you up on the offer of sessions if I reach a roadblock. I think not knowing where to turn for help is worse than facing the deeper stuff!

  17. You're welcome. I often have students who work with someone on the psychology side and work with me on the spiritual side of stuff.

  18. Learning to live again is a tall order and operating from this new space takes readjustment to function in an utterly different manner than before as its unchartered territory in terms of human life as is currently known!

    Choosing the option of not stepping into the unknown is understandable and requires great courage as when we look around the world at large is still in the previous stage of evolution.

    We have to become adventurers with truth as our map and faith as our reason.

    Terrifying, but what worthy adventure isn't?


    • The process of dissolving the ego makes this next step manageable. Losing the ego and learning to explore life from a renewed sense of curiosity help us to navigate the initial newness you’re speaking of as well as the rest of the lives we get to live. All of life is ultimately unknown. It is too vast to be fully knowable, so we are constantly stepping into the unknown moment by moment whether or not our ego realizes it.

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