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How To Overcome Fear & Follow Your True Purpose

Lissa Rankin, M.D.
Physician and New York Times bestselling author By Lissa Rankin, M.D.
Physician and New York Times bestselling author
Lissa Rankin, M.D., is the New York Times bestselling author of "Mind Over Medicine," "The Fear Cure," and "The Anatomy of a Calling." She is a physician, speaker, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute, and mystic. Lissa has starred in two National Public Television specials and also leads workshops, both online and at retreat centers like Esalen and Kripalu.

If you get confused by all the voices in your head vying for your attention when you’re trying to make decisions, you’re not alone.

We all have multiple voices in our psyches, and they’re always trying to outsmart one another in order to convince us to make choices that feel safe, comfortable, certain, and secure.

These voices of fear need to be loved until they quiet down, and the only way to love them quiet is to tune into the infinitely loving voice of truth — the voice that stems from the Divine spark that animates us all.

Though it might get shrouded by trauma, limiting beliefs, depression, anxiety, or a doubting intellectual mind, this inner wisdom never leaves you. Your Inner Pilot Light is the essence of who you really are, underneath who your parents taught you to be or how society influenced you.

Your Inner Pilot Light isn’t always well-behaved, because it's the essential part of you that lies deeper than your socialized self. It might be a bit of a wild stallion — hard to tame and difficult to control — or it might be calm, quiet, and deeply contemplative.

But regardless of its unique temperament, your Inner Pilot Light always radiates pure divine love, not just for others, but for the rest of you. This is not icky-sticky love — the kind that asks you to sacrifice yourself in order to gain acceptance or avoid rejection. It’s a pure love that bathes you in kindness and helps you reconnect to the strength and softness of the heart.

Repeat the mantra: “I am safe. I am loved.”

When you first start hearing this voice, you might worry that your Inner Pilot Light will get you in trouble. After all, if you listen to your Inner Pilot Light, you might wind up doing something crazy like dancing on a bar top, playing the accordion, writing a tell-all memoir, or leaving that job that asks you to betray your integrity. You might even risk everything for a love that makes no sense to anyone, including yourself.

But somehow, when you dig down deep and quiet the voice of your fear, you’ll feel an inner rightness that can’t be denied — even if it sounds crazy to your mind (your Small Self). I wasn’t sure I could trust that little voice the night it told me I would have to leave my job as a doctor. Had it not been accompanied by a feeling of profound infinite love, I would have thought it was the voice of my inner crazy person.

You might hear a similar voice right now — a quiet, loving voice that says, “You know what you need to do.” You might deny it at first, and that’s okay. You might not yet understand what the voice is saying. But trust me, you will know what you must do when the time is right.

Practice this four-step exercise to cultivate a relationship with your Inner Pilot Light.


1. Recognize when you find your Small Self chattering away with stories of fear.

Once you hear these stories of judgment, criticism, anger, frustration, resentment, grief, or shame, make it a practice to become the Consciousness that witnesses the hurt, scared, sad, or angry aspect of your Small Self.

2. If you start to feel an emotional disturbance, name the feeling and notice it.

Give your Small Self permission to feel what it feels. Imagine angel wings of love wrapping around this small, scared child within you.

3. Recognize that, although your emotions are real and valid, you are not what you feel.

It’s easy to mistakenly identify with those emotions as who you are. But what if instead of being the emotion, you are simply the soul who is with that emotion? What if, instead of saying, “I am sad,” you shift to, “I am with sad”? What if, instead of being a sad person, you are the expanse of Consciousness witnessing the part of you that feels sad? Step back and witness the part of you that is disturbed by this feeling. You are not this feeling. You are the soul who is witnessing this feeling.

4. Close your eyes and give yourself as much time as you need to fully witness the emotional disturbance of your Small Self.

Cry if you feel like it. Hit a pillow if you need to. Let your Inner Pilot Light love, comfort, and hold the small child within you that is suffering. Meet yourself with all the love that lives always in your own heart. Repeat the mantra: “I am safe. I am loved.”

When you let your Inner Pilot Light comfort, nurture, hold, and reassure the scared, small child within you who is just understandably trying to keep you safe, something loosens and begins to authentically heal.

Adapted from an excerpt of my new memoir, The Anatomy of a Calling, available for preorder now.

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Lissa Rankin, M.D.
Lissa Rankin, M.D.
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