This is Chapter 4 in the book. This is something that would benefit us all, greatly.
It is honorable for a man to admit his fears, resistance, and edge of practice. It is simply true that each man has his limit, his capacity for growth, and his destiny. But it is dishonorable for him to lie to himself or others about his real place. He shouldn't pretend he is more enlightened than he is--nor should he stop short of his actual edge. The more a man is playing his real edge, the more valuable he is as good company for other men, the more he can be trusted to be authentic and fully present. Where a man's edge is located is less important than whether he is actually living his edge in truth, rather than being lazy or deluded.
Pick an area of your life, perhaps your intimate relationship, your career, your relationship with your children, or your spiritual practice. For instance, you are currently doing something to earn a living. Where do your fears stop you from making a larger contribution to mankind, from earning a higher income, or from earning money in a more creative and enjoyable way? If you were absolutely fearless, would you be earning a living in exactly the same way as you are now? Your edge is where you stop short, or where you compromise your fullest gift, and, instead, cater to your fears.
Have you lost touch with the fears that are limiting and shaping your income and style of livelihood? If you have deluded yourself and feel that you are not afraid, then you are lying to yourself. All men are afraid, unless they are perfectly free. If you cannot admit this, you are pretending to yourself, and to others. Your friends will feel your fear, even if you do not. Thus, they will lose trust in you, knowing you are deluding yourself, lying to yourself, and are therefore likely to lie to them, consciously or unconsciously.
Or, perhaps you are very aware of your fears: your fear to take risks, your fear of failing, or your fear of succeeding. Perhaps you are comfortable with your life, and you fear the lifestyle change that might accompany a change in career, even though the new career will be closer to what you really want to do with your life. Some men fear the feeling of fear and therefore don't even approach their edge. They choose a job they know they can do well and easily, and don't even approach the fullest giving of their gift. Their lives are relatively secure and comfortable, but dead. They lack the aliveness, the depth, and the inspirational energy that is the sign of a man living at his edge. If you are this kind of man who is hanging back, working hard perhaps, but not at your real edge, other men will not be able to trust that you can and will help them live at their edge and give their fullest gift.
As an experiment, describe your edge with respect to your career out loud to yourself. Say something like, "I know I could be earning more money, but I am too lazy to put in the extra hours it would take. I know that I could give more of my true gift, but I am afraid that I may not succeed, and then I will be a penniless failure. I've spent 15 years developing my career, and I'm afraid to let go of it and start fresh, even though I know that I spend most of my life doing things I have no real interest in doing. I could be making money in more creative ways, but I spend too much time watching tv rather than being creative."
Honor your edge. Honor your choices. Be honest with yourself about them. Be honest with your friends about them. A fearful man who knows he is fearful is far more trustable than a fearful man who isn't aware of his fear. And a fearful man who still leans into his fear, living at his edge and putting his gift out from there, is more trustworthy and more inspirational than a fearful man who hangs back in the comfort zone, unwilling to even experience his fear on a day to day level. A free man is free to acknowledge his fears, without hiding them, or hiding from them. Live with your lips pressed against your fears, kissing your fears, neither pulling back nor aggressively violating them.
. . . How many of us can say we live like this? How many of us, instead, violate our own trust in ourselves and therefore others' trust in us?