“Universal Fears” Part 3

The third Universal fear in Gregg Braden’s Walking between the Worlds: the Science of Compassion (1997) addresses is Surrender and Trust. He wrote:

Almost universally, there is a feeling that runs through each of us that, for some unknown reason lurking somewhere in our distant past, we believe that this world is not safe. Possibly through the perceptions of separation and abandonment or in the questioning of our worth we have grown to a place that demonstrates to us that to survive this experience, we have to live in suspicion of the processes of life (p.94).

According to Braden, our lives ask us each day to demonstrate our level of trust in this world. Imagine that you are seated in one of his workshops, considering his questions:

Do you trust in the process of life, as it is shown to you?

Do you trust in the divinity of life processes, regardless of their outcome?

Do you trust in the intelligent force that expresses as each being sharing this life experience with you?

If you answer “no,” then ask yourself, “why?” Try to recall who or what experience taught you that it is not safe to trust, and why you chose the belief of “no trust.”


I do “trust the process.” Aside from being raised as a Christian, it’s also something I learned as an Alchemical Hypnotherapist in the early nineties. Every session I led started with the personal intention to “let go, trust the process.” Why? Because those sessions are not routine, each one is different, and there is no way to know where it’s going to go and what we’ll encounter.

All of those sessions required my concentrated attention to gently guide the journey, depending upon what “was happening now,” and to have faith that the client would ultimately go where s/he needed to go to resolve the issue. But applying that concept – “trust the process” – to life, especially concerning a higher power, was so much more challenging, as I realized in dealing with the first universal fear (Abandonment from God).

Ultimately, I did identify “who or what experience” taught me that it was not safe to trust. In mere moments, I resolved the trust issue by facing it and forgiving. Doing so made my life so much more enjoyable, at least until the spectacular accident when I was so down in the pit that I didn’t trust anyone, especially doctors, and had to find my faith again. It happened in a profound moment of metanoia.

Braden reminds us that, “Your charge upon ‘trust’ is your promise that you will create patterns of relationships that prove to you your expectations.

I’m thinking now about relationships that mirrored my belief that trusting is not safe.

Braden continues:

Additionally, you may find yourself in relationships where others will question your worthiness of their trust. Close and intimate relationships will push the boundaries of the way you define trust, providing you with the opportunity to prove to yourself that life is safe (pp. 94-95).

Who hasn’t experienced that? But I’m still choosing to trust because the alternative is worse.

The trick is paying attention to what our relationships are showing to us about our beliefs regarding trust. If we do not, then we’ll continue to attract relationships to match our fears.

Braden brought up the cries for help that we demonstrate when we have not faced our fears, like jealousy, anger, rage, and alcoholic or codependent behaviors. Those, he says, are “expressions of universal fears seeking resolutions.”

So, now that we know about the three universal fears, what can we do? The choices are:

  • heal each fear, one at a time, over many years,
  • or “become that which you choose to have in your life” (p.95)

He forgot that some people would rather keep on going “as is” and let the chips fall where they may.

Tempting everyone, Braden wrote, “You may embrace your healing in a single moment if you are willing to allow for the possibility.” (emphasis, mine)

My experience with these universal fears was different for each one. Dealing with abandonment and separation was interesting. It happened rather suddenly while I was writing the last blog post. (But I should add that I’ve been a seeker and working on myself most of my life, just as Braden appears to have done.)

The second universal fear, self-worth, was compartmentalized in my life. In my profession, self-worth was not an issue, but in my relationships, it was. I’ve had a lot of fun this past week playing with that and having wild dreams supporting my new confidence in that arena. I am no longer afraid to be myself. I don’t wear make-up or the latest fashion. (Why should I? I supported myself in college as a fashion model.  I’ve had that experience.) I don’t “go out” as my acquaintances do, because I prefer a quiet life. Bottom line: I’m giving myself permission to be who I am.

The third one, surrender and trust, was somewhat familiar, possibly because I embraced “trust the process” in my journeys thirty years ago. (Please see the Burnout to Bliss tab).

But the trust part is challenging because men have taken advantage of me in all kinds of ways. For example, a car repair shop owner sold me a battery but didn’t bother to tell me that it would cost an extra $125 for his guy to install it. Had I known, I would have gone elsewhere!

As much as I want to believe that “trust” can be healed in a moment so that I am never taken advantage of again, I have to say, “Nah, not going to happen.” But what is different now is that I’m more conscious about that kind of trust, will do more research, and ask more questions.

Your Turn!

If you’ve thought about Braden’s universal fears, did you get any new insights that would explain your experience in relationships?

Till next time,

Please be kind to everyone you meet, for we all have our hidden sorrows. ~Tzaddi

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