How to Overcome Feelings of Fear and Inadequacy


Dear Ananda,

In the passing year I have developed a growing fear of failing in my search for God. I have fallen to paterns of thinking myself inadequate and lacking in strengh. That of course only resulted in pulling me further down. I have recently begun unshackling my fear but I still feel it's clutches ever at the ready. did Yoganandaji had a mantra that I could use to better affirm my faith in myself?

—Osnat, Israel


Dear Osnat,

First, let me assure you that many sincere seekers find themselves experiencing feelings of inadequacy and the fear of failure.

Introspection and self-examination are important practices for the seeker who wishes to improve himself or herself. But once we embark on self-examination we can become daunted by the fact that we are imperfect! The more we learn about the greatness of the masters and the more we delve into our own shortcomings, the more things we discover that we need to improve to achieve perfection!

The best way to combat our feelings of fear and inadequacy is to give them to God. Yogananda said, “Give your faults to God. He likes that.” God doesn’t expect us to change every aspect of ourselves and then offer our pefectly disciplined, perfectly aware, perfectly serviceful selves to Him.

God wants us to offer ourselves to Him now, in whatever our state of spiritual development, so that He may enter our consciousness and help transform us from within.

Our greatest effort should be made toward offering ourselves to God – not perfecting our egos. Our “perfection” comes through surrendering our egos to God. Let Him take over.

Every day before you begin your activities take time to meditate and offer yourself to Him to use you as a channel throughout the day. Every day before you go to bed take time to meditate and offer to Him all your activities, all your accomplishments – and all your failures. Let go of the thought that you can do anything separate from Him.

Offering yourself to God is not an impassive state but a dynamic way to live. Do not let your thoughts of inadequacy and fear keep you from moving forward. Act! It is better to act and make a mistake than not to act. Failure is not permanent. It is part of the process of learning and growing.

You cannot truly fail in the search for God. You cannot do anything that God doesn’t already know, understand, and forgive. You are a Child of God and He will always, always be waiting for you to offer yourself to Him. When you do that, then he rubs his hands together with satisfaction and says, “Now I can get to work!”

Warm regards,
Joseph (Puru) Selbie