The Meaning of Fearless Mastery

By Leo Babauta

This week, we’ve opened up enrollment for my deepest program, Fearless Mastery. It’s 20 or so people coming together to support each other’s meaningful work in community, and to get supported by me and our other coaches.

The name “Fearless Mastery” brings up a lot of uncertainty in people, a lot of preconceived notions. So I thought I’d talk about what’s behind that name.

Let’s start with each word — Fearless and Mastery — before we talk about the overall idea.

The Meaning of Fearlessness

The word “fearless” might seem to imply an absence of fear … but what it really means is courage in the face of fear.

When I talk about “fearlessness,” I’m talking about the ability to be with your fear. To face it, to rest your attention on it, to stay with it, to become intimate with your fear.

This is a completely different relationship with fear than most people have. Usually we want to get away from fear, to fix the situation so we don’t have to feel fear, or to get rid of our fear through different solutions or practices.

My training is to turn towards the fear and be with it. Over and over. Until it loses significance, and becomes just an old friend showing up.

Our lives change when we have this kind of fearlessness — we are no longer controlled by fears, and in fact can find meaning and joy and play in the middle of uncertainty.

The Process of Mastery

When people hear the word “mastery” they think that you need to be a master to have mastery. You need to be an expert, to have pro-level skills.

That’s not what I mean when I speak of “mastery.” In my training, “mastery” is the process of mastering something. Deepening into your training and really staying in the place of learning, curiosity, not knowing.

“Mastery” in this approach is the opposite of being an expert — it’s having Beginner’s Mind, and being willing to stay in the process of becoming.

Mastery is a process, not an end point. It’s a deepening into, not a final state. Mastery is where the deepest growth takes place, where we become our most authentic selves.

The Possibility of Fearless Mastery

When we put these ideas together, we have Fearless Mastery — a process of deepening into the training of fearlessness, of getting intimate with fear and creating a new relationship to uncertainty.

In this process, we are willing to let go of ego and humble ourselves. We’re willing to make mistakes, fall on our faces, and admit we don’t know. We’re willing to take a look at our patterns, and stay in the discomfort for a little bit longer. It’s a beautiful process of taking full responsibility for what we want to create in our lives.

When we fully surrender to this process, something emerges that doesn’t happen when we stay at the surface or stay in safety. It’s our fullest selves. Our deepest meaning. Our greatest love.

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