Last Updated: April 8th, 2019

The following has been excerpted from Your Inner GPS, in which life coach Zen Cryar DeBrücke teaches readers how to get in touch with their Internal Guidance System (IGS) and allow it to lead them to increased health, happiness and success.

Fear as desire unexpressed  

We can define fear as an unpleasant thought or emotion caused by a perceived threat. The mind is often on the lookout for threats to your survival or your happiness or for something that will cause you pain. The challenge once again is that your mind can perceive threats where there are none. One of my favourite acronyms for fear is “false evidence appearing real.” This so clearly describes the relationship between your IGS and the mind’s fears.

What I have discovered about most of our fears is that they are actually desires that are going unexpressed in our bodies. When our minds generate fear, they are operating from a place of a desire that we have forgotten or are unaware that we have. Each of us, from the time we are born, are meant to explore our desires and produce our lives from our heart’s deepest desires. Along the way, we get disconnected from our desires and slowly begin to leave them behind. We leave them behind for many reasons: we are told they are childish, that we cannot have those desires, that we are not good enough to have those desires, or that they are just impossible for a person such as ourselves to attain.

Your IGS is always in touch with your desires and is working to reawaken you to the desires you have inside. Until you reawaken to them, you may find that they show up as fear. Fear is a path back to remembering your heart’s deepest desires. As we grow up and grow older, we come to believe that we can achieve only certain desires. As we give up on some of our desires, we build a reservoir of fear. The fastest way to release fear is to discover the desire that we have locked away inside us.

Let me clarify what I mean by desire. I don’t mean the type of desire we have for the things that we use in order to feel better and that can turn into addictions—such as chocolate, sex, sugar, tobacco, prescription or non-prescription drugs, or anything else that we use to alter the feeling of being less than satisfied and happy with life. I am talking about desires that come from the deepest parts of our heart and soul.

Opening and closing sensations

Fear is most often a sensation of closing produced by the IGS. There are also fears that will open you, and they are very real. If you sense an opening in response to a thought that frightens you, then you need to take action, for that is no longer just a fear but a reality.

Years ago I was having a challenging time financially. I was living hand-to-mouth, month after month. One of my biggest fears was not having enough money to pay my rent. Month after month I felt a closing sensation at the thought of not having my rent, and an opening sensation that indicated the funds would be there. During one particularly difficult month, I was thinking again that I would not have enough money for rent. All of a sudden I realized that this thought opened me! Boy, that was such a shock, because usually I closed at thoughts like that. I asked my IGS if my landlord was going to evict me, and I closed. Then I asked if it would cause problems between my landlord and me. Again I closed. At the time I lived in a duplex and my landlord lived in the other unit. I asked if I needed to proactively go to my landlord right away and let him know, and I opened. So off I went to have a challenging conversation, but I was open about it. It went great. He was wonderful about it; I caught up in about three months and all was well.

Fear can cause either an opening or a closing sensation, but most often it is the latter. When you are afraid of something, notice how your IGS is feeling—look mostly for sensations in your chest and solar plexus. If you are closed, that fear is not going to happen. If you are open, inquire further to find out what needs to happen next.

If you find that you are a fearful person in general, that your stress often comes in the form of fear, then you have desires that you are not expressing. Not asking for what you truly desire turns into fear in the body and can fill you up so that it is difficult to not feel fear most of the time. I have supported clients in moving through this situation, and it is actually fun and simple. Do the fear practice often—as often as you feel fear. You will find that you can empty yourself of fear and have a new practice to keep yourself filled with desire instead.

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Fear practice

Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the centre. At the top of one column, put “Fears,” and at the top of the other put “Desires.” Start at the top of the column labeled “Fears.” Identify one of your fears and write it down. Then ask yourself: What is the worst that could happen if this thing you fear were to happen? Write down what you have identified as the worst that could happen. Then ask yourself: What is the worst that could happen if that thing were to occur? Keep doing this until you get to the point where you identify the absolute worst that could happen. You may need two or three sheets of paper. Often people can get to the worst within four to seven fears.

Then, starting at the bottom of the “Desires” column, directly across from the last fear, write what you desire to happen instead of that fear. Keep working up the list, stating what you desire. This will be different for every person. The bottom-most desire is the desire that has been covered up over the course of many years. It is the one most important for your soul and you to desire. This exercise erases years of fears and leaves you with new perspectives on what is really important to you. See the example below:


  • I fear that I will not be able to pay my mortgage.
  • I will lose my home.
  • I will be living on the street.
  • No one will love me or help me.
  • I will be totally ashamed of my life.
  • I will want to die.


  • I desire to easily afford my home.
  • I want a stable income and to be able to care for my home.
  • I always desire to have a lovely home.
  • I desire to have support and love.
  • I want to be proud of my life.
  • I want to always be filled with a desire to live.

Young woman in front of home - Fear as desire unexpressed

Helpful hint

Some people feel that if they state the worst thing that could happen, it could somehow come true. If you feel closed after you state your fear, this means it is not true and is not coming into your life. If you state a worst-case scenario that you fear, and you open, then the fear will still go away, but you will know you need to take action to prevent that scenario. In all the years of doing this exercise with students, I have never had someone report that their fear overtook them and came true. What you will find is that not stating the worst-case fear, and not finding the corresponding desire, lets the scenario remain in your mental framework. This is more dangerous, and it will have you feeling more miserable than if you were to get to the bottom of your fears. Once the fear is gone, then you are free to focus on what you desire, and magical shifts will occur in your life.

If you try out the above exercise, we’d love to hear about your results in the Comments section below. 

Zen Cryar DeBrücke is the author of Your Inner GPS. She is an internationally renowned teacher, speaker, and coach whose programs have helped people all over the world transform their personal and business lives for the better. Visit her online at

Excerpted from the book Your Inner GPS: Follow Your Internal Guidance to Optimal Health, Happiness, and Satisfaction. Copyright ©  2016 by Zen Cryar DeBrücke. Reprinted with permission from New World Library.
image 1: finding the right position via Shutterstock; image 2: young female buying new home via Shutterstock