Do You Love Life or Fantasy: 4

Once you’ve seen your reality honestly and ruthlessly, the second step in being a lover of real life is to feel the feelings exactly as they are. Now this may seem simple… but it takes tremendous courage! And it’s extremely uncommon.

You see, this approach is very contrary to popular belief… but as stated, it takes tremendous courage to just sit with your true feelings. Not change them, suppress them, deny them, ignore them, reframe them… just be with them, fully and completely. This is particularly difficult, especially when they’re painful.

There’s no such thing as “no fear.” To be “fearless” means

That you’re not afraid to allow fear to exist.

What's the secret on how to deal with what which you fear the most? Read it here.

Please consider memorizing that one!

In the West we’re so action oriented, and so often disconnected from our heart (particularly in the male population), that we reach for the TV remote, a book, a magazine, the stereo, social media, conversation, work, sex, drugs, alcohol or anything else we can use to avoid being with our self and our own thoughts and feelings.

The fact is that most people don’t enjoy their own company. When I arrived in “the hole” (solitary confinement which was right next to death row), I was still in shock, but I thought “Well at least I’m safe from the others and I’ll be able to contemplate life and meditate in peace.”

This lasted all of about 15 seconds.

The guys who surrounded me in the cells to the left, right, and above continued to banter non-stop through the vents of their cells. I thought the banter was just about the arrival of a “new fish,” but quickly realized that it would continue 24/7.

To escape their own company, their own thoughts and feelings, they had devised an intricate communication system (and a prison banter) that never ended.

So much for quiet contemplation and meditation.

No books, no paper, no pen, no peace and definitely no quiet. Just a sulfur crusted toilet and sink; a cell that had never been cleaned and smelled of urine; and non-stop cursing and banal chatter. It was time for true courage.

You see, true courage is not bold bravado. While there’s a time and a place for bold… often bold is just a mask attempting to cover fear. True courage is the willingness to be raw and open and real with self. It’s the willingness and ability to be completely present and honest with your own feelings. Particularly when those feelings are despair, pain, suffering… and yes fear. No running. No positive reframing. No attempting to change them, suppress or deny them. Just allowing what exists to exist.

This takes more real courage than many of the things we typically define as courage in our society…

Stay awake, Love Life and be courageous,


james arthur ray




34 Responses

  1. Far out! And to be a man who probably needed to allow your feelings, which may have included tears around other men who didn’t and then the fear of the unknown if you did let them out would you be targetted…. I can’t even begin to try and understand what that must have felt like. I particularly like para two on this one. Especially the word suppress, because that’s all you are doing, facilitating that emotion to have a bit of a toxic holiday to show up again another time and probably a whole lot worse.

    1. Amanda, we are the kings and queens of suppression in our world. When we get a runny nose (which is the bodies way of cleaning toxins out) we reach for a “Contact” Why? What are we saying? We’re really saying “I would rather keep this mucus inside of me versus let it run out.” Think about it! A fever is the bodies way of cleansing toxins as well but how many ways do we attempt to make that stop? Likewise, feeling your feelings and crying when it’s time to cry (believe me, I cried myself to sleep many many nights) is the Spirits way of healing and cleansing and moving through. I say, “better out than in.” Once something is first recognized clearly and then secondly felt deeply it’s time to go to the third step and not until (You’ll have to come back and keep reading for that one =) Stay awake and Love Life ~ JAR

  2. Hi James!
    Everything you say is so true as we really feel uncomfortable to be in our own company, trying to fulfill the emptiness or suppress the obvious with some empty actions, silly thoughts and very often taking care of anybody’s feelings but not my own. And for sure we are so afraid of fear that don’t even notice when it comes or deny it like it’s something shameful. Why is it shameful to feel fear?! Why is it shameful to show feelings we’ve got inside? We’re all the same, originally everybody has the same nature.
    With love and appreciation,

    1. Natalia, you’re so correct. We’ve been programmed to believe that certain emotions and feelings are “bad” or “wrong.” If this is true then why did God give them to us. I believe EVERYTHING has a purpose when used in the right context and in the right way. There’s a tremendous amount of power in fear when used correctly. More on this to come. Stay awake and Love Life ~ JAR

  3. Hard hitting stuff James. It’s interesting to see how the most catastrophic event of your life is now giving you so much credibility and humility. People need to hear about that! ‘The pie in the sky’ brigade (airy fairy crew) are losing credibility fast……it just doesn’t ring true anymore, loving the reality check.
    Ps…also waiting for part 3 xxx

  4. Thank you James for your inspirational words. They have come a time when I have been procrastinating because of fear. I normally live by the words “What is, is” but somehow fear of an unknown outcome has crept in to handbrake me. After I read your words I realised how fear has blindfolded me.
    So today I will allow fear to exist and I will step forward into my meeting with an open willingness to be completely present with my feelings.

    1. As an update to my post I took the challenge stepped out feeling and acknowledging the fear. I attended my meeting and found that things immediately shifted and I actually got what I wanted. I also met a great physiotherapist to take me forward after my recent back surgery and my daughter(whom I haven’t heard from in a while) contacted me. By acknowledging the fear there seemed to be a huge energy shift in my favour.

      1. John! So happy to hear. Yes, what you’ll find is that anything that is looked clearly and felt deeply will move through. Thanks so much for sharing ~ JAR

    2. John!! Nice. Now that’s true courage in my book. The transmutation of fear is a powerful thing… but it must first be allowed to be. Much love ~ JAR

  5. There are deep and factual thoughts, reality,

    Law of attraction states you have to be happy always, it could get challenging at times to maintain and sustain the happiness within

    Your thoughts?

    1. Anand, this is one of the major downfalls of people’s interpretation of the LOA as I see it. NO ONE is happy all the time unless they’re a robot. God created a plethora of emotions… so why do we tend to make so many of them “wrong?” Because of what you describe, many believe they are doing something “wrong” and feel guilty or beat up on themselves. I say, lighten up. Love yourself for who you are and for your humanity. Only when we are loving can we truly “attract” the things we desire and deserve. Thanks for thinking ~ JAR

  6. Fearlessness is foolishness. The fearless man makes mistakes and puts himself and others in danger. I prefer and respect Courage, which is the decision/choice to proceed in spite of fear. With courage often comes reasoned caution, protecting oneself and others. With courage comes creativity. With courage comes strength and self-confidence.

  7. Hey James, thank you for opening your heart and soul like that an sharing yourself! It takes a lot of guts and it is very much appreciated! This is a very useful insight! I needed this advise since I have been struggling with some of my own feelings and I’ve been trying to change them and ignore them. I will contemplate them as they are and let them flow to see what I can learn about them and myself. Much love as always!! Silvina

  8. James,

    Can not imagine what being inside felt for you. And what will transpire in the time ahead of you. But we all know it’s gonna be great! The messages you are relaying to us through your story are narrowing down our own focus to prioritize our life’s path. I hope I speak for everone when I say that we eagerly await the next installment of your tales, your mythic heorism, the reality of courageously facing your demons and being “real”. Many blessings await. May they be even more magical than you have imagined.

    1. Thanks Susan, one thing I’ve definitely learned through it all is that while I may state that life is messy, life is hard, and it often hurts… it’s simultaneously magical; and I’m just extremely grateful for Life, Real Life. Much love ~ JAR

  9. This post speaks volumes. In my journey I know I used to feel fear, or weakness, or inadequacy, or doubt, and people saw me as strong because I just put my nose down and barreled through. And I have learned how unhealthy that really is because in reality I was ignoring, burying and pretending. It is only through really fully experiencing these emotions that the strength happens to work through and truly learn.

    The thought comes to mind of giving yourself the gift of patience as well. Because as much as I had hoped I could sit for 15 minutes, or one day, or a short single period of time and “work through” these emotions I found my experience to be different. It often takes more time. There can be a lot to learn from these experiences. Patience, openness through my vulnerability (something I hid A LOT!), being present in the moment to experience that moment honestly, and trust in faith was/is key for me.

    Thank you for this post!

  10. When I was 19, I read about Outward Bound. Spending three days all alone on an island, with just myself, a knife, a fishhook and six feet of line is why I paid for the month long course. I was both happy and disappointed when after three days they came for me. Excited for the rest of the journey and disappointed I could not spend more time on my island. When times are a challenge I can visit there mentally any time I choose.

    My first 17-week ‘patrol’ underwater without any contact with anyone but ourselves was the longest experience ever. All the others were easier, even the ones that lasted 22 weeks. Once you discover there is only now, today, this moment, it doesn’t matter how long you are waiting. Once you have endured the cycle successfully, the length of time to endure doesn’t matter anymore either.

    We do live in a suffering world. Once, not that long ago, we wrote letters and waited for a reply that often took weeks or months, sometimes years and now we reach out for immediate redemption and suffer busy signals or no answers.

    Thank you for Dion Fortune. She is most interesting…

    I learned finally this last week that my mind is to brain as my vision is to eyes. I made much of me my mind [even after being told for six decades that wasn’t me]. I don’t have perfect vision and learned how to improve the eyes sensory capacity. Practicing different methods of kindness and holding, being with the experience longer than my usual nanoseconds makes parts of my head hurt. However the ability to be with kindnesses longer each time is amazing!

    The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it is conformity. – Rollo May

    Thank you James for sharing. I am wondering about your acts of kindness.

  11. It doesn’t get more real than this!
    You’re on the fast track of conscious evolution. It’s amazing to see how powerful and aware a human being can get when they have the courage to face real-life. To me this is what true spiritual and physical evolution is about.

    Props and respect my friend,
    Peter K.

    1. Thanks Peter… Life has a way of bringing us to our knees. Breaking us into little pieces. But until we fall and until we’re broken how can we ever know the Substance we’re truly made of? That Substance is Divine. Much love ~ JAR

  12. Hi James,

    As I read this blog and the various comments, the only thing I was shown intuitively is the idea “of the other shoes to drop”. That what the old paradigm feels like with polarity, as soon it is good..something opposite happens. In the new one, with the third compoment that has to do with awareness and this golden age, the energy and reaction between the two polar opposite shifts and becomes a different feel and flavor. Not sure why I am posting this, but I’m going with this.

  13. Dear Arthur,

    I am getting excited as i read your blogs. Through you i can see the miracle of transformation and greater awakening for this world coming through you.

    It is alot harder to allow ourselves to live in true honest feelings than to cover them up in a positive lie.

    I once again welcome you to Kenya.


  14. This was a moving blog post. I have too often been so consumed with “forcing” myself into a positive attitude when what I really needed to do was break down, scream, cry, beat the heck out of punching bag or stuffed animal… and it’s ironic because I believe totally, as you said, that things are better out than in. I don’t take any medicine to mask symptoms, I love the feeling of purging and cleansing. But my stubbornness in mind and ego always tries to stop me from letting my emotions flow. Sad to say that it takes a really good day filled with love, my favorite musics connected deeply to memories, or a couple glasses of wine, to get into that mode. This insight helped me a lot today, to be more courageous and accept and play with the fear and inability to control. Thank you.

    1. Eric, Yes, what you describe in “forcing positive” is what I believe to be an epidemic in the field of personal development. It just doesn’t work! Stuffing things down inside and putting a smiley face on them doesn’t make them go away. The second law of learning and transformation is “RECOGNITION” The mere fact that you recognize this in yourself means your making progress. BTW… a couple of glasses of good red wine is something I often enjoy as well =) You’re moving forward my friend whether you can see it clearly yet or not. ~ JAR

  15. Dear Mr. Ray,
    You said you thought my poem “Skid” was profound. You also liked my much lighter poem about Christmas. This poem is another on the serious side. I happen to be severely handicapped so it expresses feelings I often have.
    Best wishes,
    Denise Noe

    Why I Move Slowly
    By Denise Noe

    I cried for hours
    days, years
    I stopped crying
    But I kept making tears

    My tears
    A pillar of salt
    I carry, still carry
    Under the skin

    The pillar of salt
    Clots and cuts

    And makes more tears
    I cannot cry
    But must carry, still carry
    Moving slowly
    A pillar of salt

  16. “There’s no such thing as “no fear.” To be “fearless” means
    That you’re not afraid to allow fear to exist.”

    To say there is no such thing as “no fear” is to say there is no such thing as “all love”, while this may be true on planet earth it should certainly be our goal or true purpose, to realize what we truly are which is “all love”.

    1. Frank, once again I’ll reference you to my previous reply. We live on planet Earth. And whether we like it or not we’re both Divine and Human. If Jesus according to tradition cried and begged God to please not make him go through with the crucifixion, and he was considered to be a “perfect example of God in Man” yes? Then how can you or I expect to not experience fear in human form? Something to ponder ~ JAR

  17. Hi James, I just commented on pt 6 then realised I had missed pt 4 – so here I am. And reading these thoughts of yours is enabling me to formulate an idea: The 3 As – Accept, Acknowledge, Ask
    Accept what is – not more or less than it is.
    Acknowledge how it got to be that way – honestly.
    Ask what that means and how you move forwards.
    Is that how you see it too?

    1. Hey Stuart… a man after my own heart =) Really like your 3 A’s. Mine have always been 5: Accept, Acknowledge, Act, Analyze and Adjust (start over) Maybe mine is more complicated but I like the number 5 for some esoteric reasons of my own. Thanks for playing and partially reading my mind and Universal Mind =) ~ JAR

      1. Aha, yes – like it. Your Analyze is my Ask. Love the Act and the Adjust additions. Hmm, interesting thought about the Universal Mind – is there in fact just ONE mind doing ALL the thinking? How could we ever know? Food for thought. 🙂

        1. Stuart… David Bohm (quantum physicist; colleague of Einstein) stated, “In the entire Universe there is but one mind.” I think that may answer your question ~ JAR

  18. James,

    Just read your response to my comment. Thank you so much. I really appreciate that.



  19. Thank you so much, James, for sharing this with us. You are a very courageous man. I do believe I love you more and more. I especially love ‘the five”. Perfect.

  20. Fear can mean that you have something worth fighting for or that you have something worth losing. Most of us may want the Wizard of Oz to infuse us with courage. Tom Hopkins has a Champion’s Creed: I am not judged by the number of times I fail, but by the number of times I succeed. The number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I can fail and keep trying. It basically says to take action; fail; you will have courage; and you will succeed by your pure numbers. As you put it, three for three or action. Great post. Thank you.

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