Your Need for Security Limits Your Opportunities

Security (or certainty), is a very elusive concept, yet most people tend to crave it in a very intense way. From farm and factory workers to professional athletes making millions of dollars a year, we tend to hear the same refrain; “I just want a job or career situation that allows me to provide security for both myself and my family.” If we were to dig a little deeper into that desire, we would find that a strongly held fear about what the future holds underlies it.

Driving this fear is the fact that human beings, for the most part, have a very powerful desire to be in full control of their lives. Dealing with uncertainty is quite a stressful experience for most people; to reduce their anxiety they undertake efforts to bring some level of security to their existence. As the following quote from Deepak Chopra’s book “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success” indicates, however, their efforts in this regard are, in reality, misdirected:

“The search for security is an illusion. In ancient wisdom traditions, the solution to this whole dilemma lies in the wisdom of insecurity, or the wisdom of uncertainty. This means that the search for security and certainty is actually an attachment to the known.”

It actually is very true: people are attached to the ‘known’ because, as a rule, none of us really like change. We all tend to prefer the status quo because it’s predictable, and therefore theoretically safe. This is the case even if we are not content with our present situation, for in a very real sense it is preferable to have the certainty even at the price of unhappiness. There is however, a big problem that arises from attachment to the ‘known’: it may well prevent us from experiencing all sorts of wonderful and positive things out there in the ‘unknown’. As Joseph Campbell was heard to say, “nothing is exciting if you know what the outcome is going to be,” and yet most people continue to crave predictability and certainty instead.

To leave behind any attachment you have to security, you must first come to the decision that you are indeed willing to leave behind the alleged safety of the ‘known’. The next step is to move beyond simply being willing and actually venture into the ‘unknown’. This action clearly requires some courage on your part, and it’s also necessary that you have some patience with yourself, for your desire for security was taught to you very early in life and then regularly reinforced as you matured. This craving is merely a bad habit, and as everyone knows, habits can be broken. In that regard, consider this excerpt from Stuart Wilde’s book “Infinite Self”:

“One of the ideas to remember is that the need to feel secure is only a bad habit. You can feel secure even when you don’t know what will happen next. It’s only a custom of ego that requires you to “need to know.” You don’t! When you become more infinite in your perception, you become more open, and knowing what will happen next becomes less important. It’s the difference between flow and restriction. You can be quite secure even when you don’t know.”

Overcoming this habit essentially means leaving your old fear-based conditioning behind by learning to trust in the very force that created you. The best way to accomplish this, is to adopt a “let go and let God” approach and surrender the ‘need to know’ that Mr. Wilde refers to in the preceding passage, to a higher power.

In my own life, I will admit that in the past I have found this process to be very testing, because my formative years were filled with regular admonitions about the importance of pursuing security. Nonetheless, I have remained on my own uncharted path of spiritual growth because my intuition tells me this is what I am supposed to be doing, and many things continue to show up in my life to confirm this.

From all that I have witnessed, successfully dealing with uncertainty requires that you keep your thoughts in the present moment as much as possible, for normally it is only when you are ‘time-traveling’ into the future that insecurity besets you. While you cannot actually stop the fear-based future thoughts that emerge within your consciousness, you can develop the skill to witness those thoughts instead of identifying with them, and then remind yourself to return to the present moment.

You might be thinking, “Hey, that’s going to take a lot of effort,” and if that is your reaction, you are absolutely correct. It’s definitely not easy to become a more conscious being, but just what is your alternative? Sure, you can always keep doing what you are doing, but if it hasn’t brought you the happiness and fulfillment that you’ve desired, then why not learn to better exercise God’s greatest gift to you besides life itself – freewill choice.

This ability to freely choose to what you give your thought and feeling energy means that you do not have to stay the same way you have always been; you can instead leave behind those aspects of your conditioning that merely serve to limit your potential to experience joy in this life. To end this discussion about security, I ask that you take a moment to reflect upon this additional very inspiring and practical passage from “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success”:

“When you experience uncertainty, you are on the right path – so don’t give up. You don’t need to have a complete and rigid idea of what you’ll be doing next week or next year, because if you have a very clear idea of what’s going to happen and you get rigidly attached to it, then you shut out a whole range of possibilities.”

(The preceding article is an adapted excerpt from Spirituality Simplified, Copyright 2002 & 2014, by Jeff Maziarek.)

About the Author

Jeff Maziarek is an inspirational speaker and author. His first book, Spirituality Simplified is an easy-to-understand and entertaining work that provides an ideal starting point for anyone with a sincere desire to pursue a path of personal and/or spiritual growth. His second book, Codi’s Journey, is a memoir about his beloved Border Collie who passed away in 2005.

Spirituality Simplified is available on in both print and eBook formats. Codi’s Journey also can be purchased on in both print and eBook formats and on in eBook format . To subscribe to Jeff’s free daily inspirational emails called “PONDER on THIS,” please visit his Pondercentral website.