Fear of Surpassing Parents

QA132 QUESTION: In Lecture 131 [Interaction Between Expression and Impression], you say how we all expect rejection from other people. I have very often found that in myself too. But I also find I have a terrible fear of surpassing my parents in any way. So, on the one hand, I fear rejection; on the other hand, I fear success. It’s a little confusing. Can you help me?

ANSWER: Yes, my dear, of course. You see, it is not really “on the one hand” and “on the other hand.” These are not really two haphazard contradictory reactions that have nothing to do with one another. In fact, one is caused by the other. You would not fear rejection if you would not fear acceptance. Just because you are uncertain and, I would say, unwilling to have a full acceptance, you must doubt that you can have it, and therefore fear the result.

When you can see this connecting link, it will no longer be a conflict of two disjointed tendencies. It is very important to see the link, very important to see that these two facets are cause and effect – the cause being “I must not be more than my parents; I must not be happier than my parents; I must not have more of anything than my parents.” And just because this unwritten law is imprinted and engraved into your soul substance, you know perfectly well your prohibition must have its effect, and therefore you fear the effect because you know the effect exists.

The further help I can give you here is the following: it is not necessarily the parents or one parent; it may be someone whom any of you have idealized as a child. This idealization is, most of the time, very illusory. It is seen in a very distorted way. Something is idealized that is really not at all desirable, and something is perhaps overlooked or even not seen at all and not idealized that is extremely desirable.

So such childish idealizations are always very subjective and very colored by one’s own emotional response under the circumstances of the life the child is leading. But wherever such an idealization exists, there is always a reluctance not to surpass that deity. It is almost as though one feels impertinent to want more happiness or more wisdom or more knowledge than the venerated object.

To come back to your problem, my dear, I would also like to add this. Another reason – again connected with the trend you have found – for reaching out for this fulfillment and acceptance is in many areas you fear its consequences, and this will have to be worked out.

The consequences, for instance, are a full acceptance on a mature basis requires a self-revelation, commitment and lack of, in a very subtle way, pretense, that has to be dispensed with – a really being genuinely in the situation that you fear very much. This applies in many different ways to many, many people

The fear – not a fear of something dangerous but the fear of embarrassment, the fear of being real – means it is something shameful. It is that kind of subtle, diffuse, devious reaction that has to be very keenly looked at. And because that exists now, the tie to the parents is held onto and the prohibition, “I must not surpass my parents,” is maintained because of this reluctance.

In other words, the basic cause is not the reluctance to surpass the parents. The reluctance to surpass the parents is held on to because of the reluctance toward self-revelation. In other words, deep in the innermost self-reluctance to give up the parents as deities is also a pretext on a very subtle inner level.

QUESTION: This is a sort of an allowable fear and the others are not allowable. That’s part of it too, I guess.

ANSWER: Yes. Yes. Yes. That is correct. Exactly.

ANSWER: Now, my advice is to examine your emotions very carefully that this really-being-you, that great simplicity I mentioned, is something you erroneously feel so ashamed about. And you know, my dearest ones, all of you on this Path, when you discover, here or there – first occasionally and, little by little, more often and more profoundly – how simple and great and easy it is to be real, suddenly all the distortions you have gone through, knocking yourself out for nothing to avoid this simplicity, is such a false idea of what reality is like.

You go to so much trouble, because you falsely fear the reality of being. When you discover it and you discover that it is not difficult at all, you experience the great relief that all of my friends who are on this Path for some time have occasionally experienced, and you forget again afterwards.

You see, you fear this simplicity; you fear many elements about the truth. And yet there is nothing to fear. Even if the temporary truth is still distortion, if you truly face it, there is nothing to fear about it. All you have to fear is your evasion of it, your fear of it, the tortures you go through in order to avoid it, the subterfuges you reach for in order to avoid, uselessly, facing that self – even that self that is still in error.

If only this message can be meditated about and understood, so much can be overcome, so many obstructions you put in your way, so many artificial barriers you create and aggrandize. Reach consciously and deliberately toward the simplicity of truth, the truth of the moment, the truth of the Now, whatever it is in you.

Your ability to do that will give you the self-respect that will make it possible to humor yourself, even for the petty distortions you encounter in this temporary truth of the Now.

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