Barbara Emrys

Just Beyond Fear

As much as I would love my students to share their personal revelations as a way of teaching themselves, it happens less and less often. For students of this Toltec teaching, sharing their revelations with a community of like minds may not be considered an exciting thing to do anymore. We are each immersed in the world dream, certainly, but transcendence refers to our immunity to the effects of knowledge. Enlightenment is still as simple as not filtering the radiant truth of us through all the many lies that attempt to define us. The challenges of putting notions like these into action is still really, really exciting. That hasn’t changed. What changes, of course, is our attention.

We refer to ourselves as Toltec because there was a time when we were fascinated by the philosophy of an ancient community of dreamers who put their full attention on human awareness. The result of this kind of dreaming, we have been told, was a sort of heaven on Earth. The Toltec made living a transcendent art form, and respect was the most precious instrument in achieving that art. At the heart of the Toltec reality was the comprehension (far more than an acquired belief) that each of us is God. This deep knowing is still the key to an exciting and rewarding life, regardless of the time, the place, or the person.

Each of us was born into physical being as the flawless embodiment of truth. There was no meaning or interpretation required for the fact of our existence. Meaning and interpretation became essential only to learning the language of the human dream. And in learning this language, we soon saw life only through the meanings we gave it. Now all we hear is meaning making noise in our heads – a noise that echoes out onto the hard wall of the human dream and bounces back at us again. And we believe everything we hear, down to the last silly, sincere, and profane word.

Having discovered that your stories do not represent the truth in any sense, you learned to apologize for them and preface every conversation with a disclaimer. And yet even now you keep the narrative going, holding it before you like a shield against the devastation that comes with truth. But what would actually suffer the effects of such devastation? What would be lost to you? You have built a sense of yourself that is small, a little selfish and almost empty of faith. And you have given this idea of yourself so much meaning. Lies need to wrap themselves up in meaning, not truth. This little lie will be devastated when you stop investing in it – and you won’t feel a thing. You are God, the creator of this dream, this piece of matter, and the dreams that live within all matter. You are God.

Remind yourself of this from time to time: that to be a Toltec is a statement of intent. The rest is action – action taken in all the moments of your life, without fear or regret. Your art is living this sublime moment. Every gesture is an act of magic. Every authentic action is a step towards home. And, in case you’ve forgotten, you live just beyond fear and way past meaning.

One thought on “Just Beyond Fear


    Hi Barbara,

    your homepage is great. And you are coming up with your books.
    I enjoy your teaching from a distance, but that does not matter.

    Good wishes for you and your work,

    BEST: )

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