Thought for the day

February 28, 2007

Our Deepest Fear

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

~ Marianne Williamson from A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles



  1. Hmm, something to think about. Not sure I totally agree, but let me ponder…

  2. That’s an awesome quote.

  3. Lonie ~ There’s definitely a part of me that struggles with this, too, but it was thought-provoking (for me at least, although that’s not a huge stretch being the small-brained creature that I am). I’d love to hear your thoughts when they’re done fermenting.

    Snay! So glad you liked it. I love the idea of being liberated from fear — such a trap it is. And I do like the fact that we are all here to “give birth to the best that is within us” as Williamson says (somewhere else, of course, but she says it — it’s on my fridge). I’ve been amazed lately as I’ve looked for that deeper light within folks. It seems to make people nervous. Of course, that’s probably just me shining a flashlight in their eyes without their permission. Is there something wrong with that? Cheers!

  4. Only if they’re drunk 🙂

  5. Well said. Thank you for brightening my day!

  6. I think people find both their potential and their darker sides scary. A thought-provoking quote, although I’m not totally on board. But, I will say that Quakers talk about “that of God” in everyone, and Buddhists bow to “the Buddha within” everyone, and although I am more spiritual than religious, I do buy into the idea of that light of divinity in every single person. In a nontheistic sort of way.

  7. Ang, this could have been taken from the Diamond Sutra, or the Tao Te Ching, or the Baghavad Gita, or The Power of Now.

    Great quote.

  8. I agree that one shouldn’t ‘dumb oneself down’ to avoid standing out or discomfiting others. I’ve done that before, much to my disgust, but thankfully I’ve also had lots of very intelligent and knowledgable friends around whom that’s been unnecessary. Now I don’t have to dumb down, my reticence is usually due to a frantic whirring of my brain, trying to keep up!

    I agree we all have the potential to leave this world a better place than we found it, through small or great achievements. I agree we are often inspired to do so by others who are strong and admirable and lead the way.

    But fearing that I’m powerful beyond measure? Not really, unless it is a fear that I have the power to cause great harm to my children through less-than-perfect mothering, which is really just the fear of inadequacy. I simply can’t agree with the first paragraph. A fear of inadequacy is, unfortunately, a major hurdle in many aspects of my life (including the writing about which you were asking a few posts ago!)

    But hey! That’s life. We deal with it 🙂

  9. Whoops! I hope you didn’t infer I thought your post was bad, or anything. I thought it was positive and kind and thought-provoking, and it regards what is for me a salient issue. =)

  10. Snay! Hats off to you, my friend. No flashlights in drunk folks’ eyes. Must remember that!

    Brad, thank you for visiting. I’m so glad you liked the quote. I was hoping it would speak to someone. Cheers to you!

    CSL ~ I was tempted to change the word “God” in the quote, but am completely against messing with quotations that way. My definition of God is changing so much that I can’t really talk about “God” the way I used to. “More spiritual than religious” is how I described myself to someone just last week. I don’t think I could ever let go of those deep beliefs I learned as a child, but they are definitely morphing into something more “universal” (for lack of a better word). p.s. I always thought Quakers were cool.

    Dan, that’s why I love it so much. Marianne Williamson is definitely cut out of the same cloth. I dig her. But she doesn’t translate as easily as Tolle does — at least for me she doesn’t. Too much thinking about it and not enough actual *do-ing*/not doing. Big hugs to you!

    Lonie ~ you’re so sweet to think about it and come back. I didn’t think anything of the sort (in terms of my thinking that you didn’t like the post). You weren’t arguing with *me* after all. ;o)

    In thinking about it, though, I sometimes do fear my own success, more from the idea that I will have to continue living up to it than anything. There’s a responsibility that comes from being powerful that I’m not sure I want to embrace, so that part for me rings a bit true, though I still very much can argue both sides.

    Feelings of inadequacy plauge me, too, especially on that mother-front you speak of, though learning to let go of that is helping me just enjoy and embrace the blessings I’ve been given (and is consequently making me a *better* mom, I’m sure). Thank you, as always, for your thoughts.

  11. CSL ~ I meant to say that I can totally see (within myself at least) the struggle to accept the darker sides of myself and also to let that centered strength shine through. Integration is the word that comes to mind. It’s a cool feeling. (And I so appreciate the schools of thought that embrace those ideas and help guide me along that path.) Cheers to you!!

  12. It’s a little New-Agey for me, but it is true that what paralyzes me is infinite possibilities. I’m afraid of being able to do anything I want to do.

  13. Diesel! I can understand where you’re coming from. (At least I try to.) As I told Lonie, it would be horribly boring if we all agreed and “got” everything the same way. Thinking of you being paralyzed by infinite possibilities makes me think of Spiderman. Boy, do you have me indoctrinated or what?! Cheers!

  14. I completely agree. What really sold me on it was the reference (reminder) to the fact that this is what children do. If we can somehow fanagle growing up while maintaining the confidence of a child at play, then we’ve got it. There is a theologian named Karl Rahner and he wrote an entire book titled “Homo Ludens,” Man At Play. This is a quality that many grown up put aside. They laugh. They tell jokes. They lightly and superfucially kid around. But balls to the walls play somehow winds up on the pile of discarded junk.

  15. Gawpo ~ I had the extreme pleasure of talking to a very respected biologist a few years back who said that one of his hopes for the world is that all countries could be out of survivalist mode (i.e. for food, water and shelter) and get to a place where they were able to play. What I’ve noticed, though, is that unless our MINDS allow us to play, even if we do have all those things (and more), we don’t. It’s why I’m loving this concept of mindlessness where we can turn of the noise in our heads and get back to that balls-to-the-walls play you talk about. You’re definitely on to something with that, I think. Joy is so fabulous. I’m trying to learn more how to engage it on a regular basis from my kids and my dog. He really gets the in-the-moment award when he’s got his tennis ball and is running around the yard like a maniac. I want the joy he has in those moments. Fortunately, I’ve been tapping into it more and more. It’s lovely.

  16. Angela,

    I love how you rate me worthy of an exclamation point. Thankee! 🙂

  17. Snay ~ sometimes it’s just not worth containing my enthusiasm. I am officially too old for that and have learned from my dog that an exuberant greeting rocks. Expect to be greeted with a spinning jump next time. :o)

  18. Wonderful quote.

  19. Jackal, I’m so glad you liked it and am glad that you came visiting. I started exploring your blog and found myself getting wonderously lost in the beautiful photographs and prose. My best to you. That’s one beautiful cat you have. Cheers to you!

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