Self-transformation: Our fear is the doorway to love

Self-transformation: Our fear is the doorway to love

Love is
letting go
of fear

One of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received in my own journey of self-transformation came at a time when I was really struggling with a great darkness. I was beginning to lose hope that I would ever find a way out of this living nightmare.

I visited the house of a friend and, while she was attending to another matter, I began rummaging through a few boxes of books she had stored in a spare room. Within minutes I was drawn to a book of aphorisms from the Sufi writer and mystic, Hazrat Inayat Khan. I’d never heard of the Sufis, the semi-secret esoteric order of the Islamic religion. I opened it at random and saw before me the few words that were to usher in – over time – a new dawn for this troubled man. They said, “Fear is the door to the unknown. Unbolt that door.”

“What on earth could that mean?”, I thought, sensing that these intriguing words had great import for me. And haven’t we all found that this is how the journey of self-transformation proceeds? It’s as if there is placed before us the next vital clue or signpost on this journey of awakening into our true identity, our true ‘freedom’.

I repeated these two phrases over and over in my mind – and sometimes out loud – during the months ahead, with an attitude of contemplative wondering….until the next clue arrived.

By this time I had left my cloistered life as a university lecturer and headed north from Sydney to the New Age back-to-the-land hubs of Nimbin, Lismore and Byron Bay. With two friends I opened the Noah’s Ark Bookshop in Lismore, and it was there that I discovered an extraordinary, little-known book, Course in Miracles, which I’ll come back to in later posts. The words were all to do with self-transformation.

Now if you ever come across this weighty tome you’ll appreciate how blessed I was to discover almost immediately the next vital clue in my stumbling journey out of fear into freedom. Fairly early on in the book the Course said, “There are only two emotions, love and fear, and fear is but the shadow of love.” Ahh, now the penny dropped. Behind the ‘door’ that the Sufi was eluding to is love, love beyond what I had ever known or could ever imagine, the love of a Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, Dalai Lama or Mother Teresa.

What I’ve learned as a psychotherapist and fellow seeker on this journey into self-realisation is that the cultivation of ever-expanding, unconditional, all-embracing, selfless love can be the catalyst, the key, the flame, for burning down that door of fear.

And how to love? How to expand the light of our love from that of a flickering candle to that of a powerful beacon in a stormy sea, and then to that of the sun shining its light on everyone?

I can share with you a few of my favourite guidelines – both for myself and for so many patients in our clinic – each one of which has enormous potential for self-transformation, opening the floodgates to pure, lasting, unsullied love:

               10 ways to feel more love

  1. Expand your love to encompass all.
  2. Love all. Serve all. (The sign in every Hard Rock Café throughout the world.)
  3. Love grows with each new act of love.
  4. Love your enemies. Do good to those who hurt you.
  5. Pure love knows no fear.
  6. The presence of fear tells us that we are ready to expand our heart to a higher level of loving.
  7. If the wave cannot love itself, how can it love the ocean?
  8. Seek only to love, not to be loved.
  9. We seek to feel loved because we are love. We are love looking for itself. Let us be the love that we are.
  10. Love is more powerful than the atom. It unites all in a soft silken symphony.

Let me share with you just one amazing story from my clinic files of how love can banish even extreme fear. This is self-transformation at its best.

A few years ago a man came to see me because he was experiencing multiple panic attacks every day, causing him to stay away from the three restaurants he owned and avoid all of his friends. I told him about how fear is a portal into a higher realm of loving; that fear is not real, does not belong to him and is but the shadow of love. It was as if I was reminding him of a higher knowledge that he already knew, but had forgotten.

To propel the self-transformation forward I led him into a simple meditation on the breath, noticing the air flowing in and out of the nostrils, all the while repeating silently, “I breathe in love” (on the in-breath) and “I let go fear” (on the out-breath). He was to practise this as often as he could remember to do so.

Here was a young man (thirties) totally committed to self-transformation, to transmuting his fear into love by stepping through that ‘door’ into a new world of kindness, forgiveness, understanding and compassion.

Within five weeks he was transformed: all fear gone, ‘tough’ loving and caring towards his employees, a deep and trusting relationship with his family, finding life exhilaratingly full of joy and wonder, and much more.

Such a simple technique for self-transformation, yet so powerful and beautiful.

           Love beckons

Every shadow is always pointing
towards a source of light.
The darker the shadow
the brighter the light.
he greater the fear
the sweeter the love
beckoning from inside.


Ron Farmer

Ron Farmer

Ron Farmer is a psychologist who writes a regular blog about self-help therapy, self-transformation and being the change we want to see in the world. He is passionate about using the mind and heart to promote our own health and wellbeing, as well as those around us. Ron is a practising therapist on the Gold Coast and produces CDs and books on how to rediscover our innate peace, love and joy.

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