"The most striking contradiction of our civilization is the fundamental reverence for truth which we profess and the thorough-going disregard for it which we practice.” Vilhjalmur Stefansson (Canadian Artic Explorer)

Recently, I watched an interview with Brian Dennehy. As he talked animatedly about his long, illustrious career as an actor, one sentence he used grabbed me and I found myself reaching for a pencil to capture the juicy phrase. Of his performances he said he was constantly, “tinkering to get the fraud out”. As I listened I wondered if we are constantly tinkering to get the fraud out of our lives as well.

The answer came in three parts. Prior to awareness of choice our tinkering is automatic and not to get the fraud out, but to survive. We don’t stop to evaluate our attempts to protect and defend ourselves. We just do it. This is actually a free state of mind. From this state of ignorance, we act, from not knowing any better. Despite the free state of mind, nothing in our lives will dramatically change. Life will be predictable. Psychics will have no trouble telling you what tomorrow will look like, because it will look like today. Behaviors will continue status quo.

After awareness of choice, even as our fear-thoughts are being dismantled, we tinker to keep the fraud closely hidden. We find new, creative ways to hide our deepest, darkest thoughts and beliefs about ourselves and others. We play the game. Sometimes we play it well, and other times it catches up with us and smacks us around a bit.

"No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.” Nathaniel Hawthorne

Until we fully engage the experiment and enter into the hunt for our fears, the better job we do of hiding the truth from ourselves, the better chance we have at maintaining the illusion of being just fine. From this vantage, we still hold life at a distance, afraid to fully engage both its laughter and heartbreak. We tinker to keep from admitting how lonely and separate we feel. But, at an ever-rising level of wakefulness, we are aware of the fraud. The once free state of mind is now, less than a memory.

I remember going swimming with friends, just a little more than five years ago, and not wanting to get my hair wet. I was a fish as a child. Nothing satisfied me more than diving into the pool and frolicking in the water. It had a way of cleansing life’s ills and making the good even better. All summer long I ran around in flip-flops and a swimsuit with a big, silly grin on my face. How I loved the sun! But there I was—afraid to let my friends see me without my armor—the protective shield of coiffed hair, blush and eye-liner. Sounds ridiculous…or does it? If it wasn’t important, the memory would have faded years ago, along with other similar events of my life that no longer take up residence inside my head.

At the time, I had already embarked upon the spiritual quest. I was making headway into the recesses of mind, yet I still tinkered to protect my hidden identity, the person I didn’t want anyone to see. I was even aware of the choices I was making and the reasons behind the choices. Remaining hidden was more important to me than the pain remaining hidden created. I didn’t see it as fear. If I had, I don’t know that it would have changed anything. In fact, at this time my spiritual quest, if truth be known, was about escape—escaping from the ‘me’ I had hidden and into the truth and beauty I was certain existed somewhere, if I could just find it.

Now I tinker to get the fraud out, instead of trying to hide the fraud (myself) from view. Once you fully engaged the hunt for your fears, hiding is no longer an option. “Who I am is bowed in surrender. Who I am is ‘One’ with everything. I could call that by innumerable names but I choose to call that LOVE.” Once spoken, once committed, every attempt to hide is seen for what it is—a cry for love and acceptance and a knowing that hiding has not, will not give you freedom from pain, will not end the search, will to be sure, prolong it. There is great freedom in surrender. Without a doubt, surrender begets the only true freedom. Tinkering to get the fraud out! What an amazing gift we can give ourselves.

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain." – Frank Herbert, Dune. Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear

Author's Bio: 

Gayle Gregory, co-author of The Grand Experiment, an Expedition of Self-Discovery, is a coach and consultant dedicated to radically transforming humanity's interactions, personally, locally and globally. Freedom from fear is not only possible, it is our birthright! Her business is Pure Possibility and is affiliated with WE Workplace Evolution. For more information visit www.pure-possibility.org.