I have found that the greatest spiritual practice is facing fears. Fear is my biggest block to greater realization. Fear of confrontation, fear of not having enough money, fear of awkwardness, fear of the cold, fear of the heat, fear of judgment. Fear leads to anxiety, nervousness, defensivness, and in general, a closing down of the heart. Naturally, I have contemplated on fears in order to see through their illusion. Yet when I am face to face with the situation, the fear comes once again. Here is a good example.
To follow up with the possibility of setting up a satsang, I called a yoga studio and spoke with the owner, someone I did not know. I felt an uncontrollable fear that she would reject me or reprimand me, and my speech became awkward and muted. But I did not die. So I called the next studio with less fear. The more I put myself in this situation, the more confidence grows. This world gives so many opportunities to face my deepest fears. And when I meet them, I begin to stand up straighter and freely express myself, not suppressed by the fear. When I shake death's hand, a part of my ego dies, and Spirit is uncovered.
I also notice that I suppress the feeling of fear for fear of showing any sign of fear to someone else. The belief is that it is a sign of weakness. For instance, trembling or shaking or shying away. Yet fully allowing the fear is a sign of vulnerability. A sign of authenticity. It is the dissolution of the "tough guy" persona. I don't try to hide fear from myself anymore. Who would I be without the "tough guy" costume? Someone willing to embrace the fearful boy inside...to accept him as he is. To let him be himself. When he gets to experience his fear, he is true to himself. He is so thankful to be given this chance. He is accepted. He is loved. This is the power of authenticity.