Through the Gates of Fear


Fear lives within you. It breeds in the warmth of your flesh and feeds on your spirit. Fear is the real original sin. It perverts your true perception.

The truth is: your world is a marvelous miracle of interconnection and unification. Observe nature and you will know that this is so. Every seemingly separate aspect of nature forms powerful interdependent relationships. That unity is the essence of nature’s success and it can be the essence of your success. If you desire to master your life then, you must accept that you are part of nature, and subject to its mechanics and laws.

But fear wants none of this. Fear’s strength lies in its ability to separate. It positions itself–and you–outside of this unified field of relationship-based all-encompassing thinking. Fear wants you to think about life in linear fashion: this then that; he then she; us then them; I then you. Even reading the words fear generates is stressful, because it just isn’t true; it isn’t natural.

What is Fear?

Fear is a chameleon; it adopts the shape of all the walls, separations and boundaries that you create. Fear is the absence of unity (some would substitute the word love for unity).

Fear is also an impostor. It poses as our protector, supposedly guarding us from the consequences of moving too far, too fast, beyond our comfort zone or ability.

In some ways this is a good thing. After all, linear thinking and compartmentalization are the models of organization. With these skills we can effectively juggle and order our lives. Fear is also the natural caution we use to gather ourselves to properly meet a challenge.

Fear can be a problem though when we allow it to extend too deeply into our lives. There are areas of life where we should not be separating things and putting them into neat boxes. Our spirituality, or consciousness development, is one of those. When we begin drawing lines and compartmentalizing where we shouldn’t, we move further down that line toward fear. Our perception of truth does not thrive in a box.

To reach the destiny that is encoded in our DNA, we must pass through our fear into many levels of awareness and understanding. These levels are secured by the gates of fear.

I call them gates because they feel like that. They stop you dead in your tracks, you must find the key to move forward, and once you do you are in a new and expanded space.

How to Recognize the Gates of Fear

You will recognize your personal gates of fear when you feel:

  • Stasis: a sense of stagnation; that you can move no further; that a force equal to your desires opposes you.
  • Constriction: feeling a withdrawal in your gut; an urge to pull back in spite of your aspirations.
  • Separation: an overwhelming drive to separate all of your experiences and relationships into categories and classifications.
  • Bigotry or resistance: stubbornly refusing to be tolerant or accepting of anything other than what you are accustomed to, or have previously believed in.
  • Violence: the urge to inflict physical, emotional, or psychic pain upon yourself or others.

We approach these gates of fear every day in average ways, but we also come up against them in subtle ways.

In deep meditation for instance, we often feel ourselves at these gates. Our natural instinct is to withdraw into the comfort of whatever bliss we may have experienced just prior — but life is about change — and if we withdraw, the only change we’ll experience is backward. Nothing in life stands still.

We must move beyond our fear, through these gates, if we are to expand into our destiny.

What Lies Beyond the Gates?

You will know that you have passed through one of the gates of fear when you feel:

  • Movement: a progressive development of ideas and action in your life that enthuses you.
  • Expansion: the rush and flood of your awareness as it spreads out like a blanket onto your life, or within your meditation, leading you to greater clarity and power.
  • Unity: a knowing that you are connected in a fundamental way; seeing the relationships between diverse peoples, processes, and concepts, in a manner that allows you to understand and gain wisdom.
  • Acceptance: being more observant than judgemental in your relationship to people, ideas, and life itself.
  • Compassion: a powerful empathy with others; a desire to ease their pain because you feel in your heart that they are an extension of you. The old saying “there but for the grace of God go I” is meaningful to you.

We come up against these gates daily, and we can also pass through them daily. Sometimes it is just a minor gate — a minor fear that we overcome — but in these small passages we can gain major ground, a bit at a time. Soon enough we will find ourselves at the major gates that will allow access to our infinite potential for happiness and success.

One more thing: there are gifts for those that successfully pass these major gates. These gifts are ideally suited to the nature of the person acquiring them. Truth chooses them for you, and they remain yours as long as you choose truth.

How to Pass Through the Gates of Fear

Most of the doing in moving past fear is in the desire to do so, and in knowing fear when you encounter it. We’ve talked about that above and there is not much more to add.

I will say though, that for anyone who meditates or engages in a mind-body practice such as Tai Chi, Chi Gung, or Yoga, it is vital to always return to the basics. The power of meditation and mind body disciplines is in the basic tenets of practice. Revitalize these basics often, to ensure that the foundation you build upon is solid and that your direction is true.

There are so many good books available on esoteric disciplines, I’m reluctant to name my preferences, as everyone responds differently. A few stand out though as quality sources of information for beginners. They are:

  • The Three Pillars Of Zen by Roshi Philip Kapleau. This book offers a great introduction to meditation using solid techniques.
  • Energetic Tai Chi Chuan by Larry Johnson. Though not really a beginners book, it provides the necessary groundwork and emphasis on proper energetic development; something sadly lacking in most Tai Chi Classes.
  • Kundalini Yoga for the West by Swami Sivananda Radha. While I do not follow the path of Kundalini Yoga, I have enjoyed this book and I see that it would be a wonderful primer for anyone interested in Yoga, at any level.

I’ll also point you to a couple articles. The first, Little Buddha Walking is a fun meditative exercise that teaches the basic mental principals of meditation without the formality of sitting practice. And the second, Tai Chi Classes: Should You Sign Up? is my introduction to Tai Chi.

The absolute best way then to pass through the gates of fear is: be keenly aware of these gates, know that moving through your fears will lead you beyond them to expanded awareness, and most importantly, develop the skills required in your discipline of choice — be it Meditation or whatever else suits you.

Over to you now!

11 thoughts on “Through the Gates of Fear

  1. Robin Easton

    Dear John,

    This is absolutely beautiful and so well thought out. I recognize so much of what you wrote here from when I was younger and went into the Australian Rainforest to live. I came face to face with a whole host of fears, which I eventually saw boiled down to one fear for me. Fear of the unknown. Once I saw that I was somehow liberated and have been one who refuses to let fear limit my life experience in anyway.

    I find it empowering to head toward my fear and refuse to let it control my life. Nowadays I am blessed to live with almost no fear. However I do have a strong sense of awareness and even caution when in certain situations. But then their is big difference between fear and awareness. I learned that in the rainforest as well.

    You’ve done a wonderful job here of breaking down the fear experience and how one can not only recognize it but move through it and what to expect. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it done quite like this. Just beautiful. You know, John, this whole post would be a great outline or map for a book. You could just expand on this whole article with more insights, stories, examples, and so forth. In fact, “Through the Gates of Fear” would make a compelling book title. Think about it. You wold do a stand up job of it too.

    I’m impressed.

  2. Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

    Hi John, I think that fear is really a two sided coin. The one side, with the face of fear on it is designed to discourage approach. But flip that coin over and it becomes a source of power and energy. A friend of mine likes to say, “First comes the fear, and then the blessing.”

  3. John Rocheleau Post author


    I love your stories on your blog about the rainforest and your relationship to nature. Nature is such a profound teacher. To merge with her and learn we must move through so much fear, and dissolve so many boundaries — but the gift we get from that is truly priceless. So beautiful.

    Thanks for your uplifting thoughts regarding the article and where I might be able to take it. It certainly is part of a much larger set of experiences and thoughts and could be expanded upon infinitely I think 🙂

  4. John Rocheleau Post author


    I totally agree with your thought that the flip-side of fear is a valuable source of power.

    Everything we experience holds power, and fear generates plenty I’d say. Of course, fear is just an emotion within us that we experience and empower. The power is always ours, and as we transmute our fear we reclaim that power and move into more clarity.

    I like your friend’s saying. It’s very true.

  5. David


    And very timely, too!

    For me, the key is the realization that one must, as you say, go _through_ fear. As I understand it, that is the only way, there is no way around. Fear is a doorway to higher consciousness. I see the big gates of fear you speak of almost like some kind of wormhole that you can go into, mostly without knowing where you’ll end up, but if you accept and embrace the fear and that unknowing you’ll end up somewhere great.

  6. John Rocheleau Post author


    I like your wormhole analogy. Moving through that type of subtle but powerful fear, as when in deep meditation, can feel like movng through a wormhole. Not that I have ever been through an actual wormhole before; at least not that I can recall 🙂

    You obviously “get” the message in this. Moving through this type of fear can be such a delicate bit of mental and spiritual gymnastics. It requires such trust and courage, and fine awareness, to be able to release the inner restrictions that will open those gates.

  7. David


    Thank you. I wasn’t quite sure I was making sense 🙂

    This kind of subtle but, as you say, extremely powerful fear, is kind of new to me. I have sensed it a couple of times, but have not yet had the consciousness and the courage to lock onto it and confront it full frontal.

  8. nothingprofound

    Funny you mentioned gymnastics above. I’m a retired gymnastics coach and have spent a lifetime observing fear and its effects. With patience and encouragement and the proper training almost any fear can be overcome. This is as true in everyday life as it is in gymnastics.

  9. John Rocheleau Post author


    I can imagine that a gymnast would have fear based on being physically hurt. I also imagine that part of the solution is to become physically aware of your body to a very fine degree, in order to release the restrictions that the mind imposes on the body to cause it to pull back at the critical moment.

    Fear manifests in our bodies, and we can deal with fear through body awareness and training. When we experience fear, we can pinpoint where we feel it in our bodies.

    This physical awareness ability comes strongly into play when we are exploring deeply in meditation. The physical sensations we feel at that point are quite subtle, so subtle that they could be called sensations in the spirit body or energy body.

    Whatever you want to call them, they are invaluable in opening those gates. As we feel ourselves coming to an impasse with its attendant fear, we also feel these subtle physical sensations that compel us to retreat. If instead, we relax into those feelings and allow them to dissolve in our acceptance and awareness, they disappear — the gates open — and we move into more ease, more awareness, power and ability.

    This subtle manoeuvre of the mind during meditation is quite a feat, and yet it is at such a fine level of intent that it does not engage the surface mind to the extent, that you are pulled out of the depths of your meditation. That’s why I call it mental gymnastics.

    Love your blog by the way 🙂

  10. Feeling Good

    Fear is such a complex thing- it can be our friend by saving our life from imminent danger, now, because we have managed to avoid being eaten by lions but still have the same survival mechanism, we run from imagined fears!

    It’s also true that our brains can’t really tell the difference between a real event and an imagined event- when we see ourselves quaking with fear at our next public speech- we create a fear from our imagination. Luckily, our imagination is just as good at imagining us keeping an audience excited and giving us enthusiastic applause.

  11. John Rocheleau Post author

    Feeling Good,

    Yes, it is quite easy to allow fear to become out of control and out of proportion to the situation. And as you point out, since we do this with our sense of anticipation and projection, we can just as easily — if we practice this – anticipate and project productive and empowering outcomes. Such is the power of our minds.

    Your example of the fear of public speaking is a good one. We can feel that fear for a lifetime and if we do not act to surmount it, we will suffer its consequences eternally. But if — and this is the crucial point — we can project and anticipate the fabulous outcomes that are inevitable if we can somehow get past the fear and take on that opportunity to speak in public, we will create the courage to do so.

    And when we act upon that courage by getting up on stage, we will then be able to realize those benefits. Reality responds to action, and action is triggered by awareness, intent, and courage.


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