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When Fear Falls Away: The Story of a Sudden Awakening Paperback – May 1, 2007

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 201 pages
  • Publisher: Weiser Books (May 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578634008
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578634002
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The summer she turned 50, Frazier suddenly lost the nearly crippling fear that had plagued her for decades. In its place came love, tears, laughter, ecstasy, delight, bliss, understanding and, eventually, an unshakable "undercurrent of fundamental contentment." This book, she says, is not self-help but a "testimony to a life transformed" and a promise that her experience is open to all. Frazier, a poet, knows how to turn a phrase, but her dated commentary, covering 18 months beginning in August 2003, often evokes the self-absorption and inchoate emotion of an adolescent's diary: "Every single thing I do is a total blast. It's like being stoned, only it's entirely clearheaded." Interspersed with celebratory journal entries are lyrical descriptions of her worshipful encounters with Gurumayi, the controversial "perfected master" whose Siddha Yoga mantra is translated "I bow to my inner Self, who is God." Some readers may find Frazier's unremitting attention to her emotional state tedious, if occasionally worrisome ("I expend a lot of energy to keep from whirling in circles with my arms out to the sides"), while others will perceive deep wisdom in her awakened realization "that being released from fear was independent of being released from bad things happening." (May)
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... A breathing translation into language of an advance in evolution that is available to the focused heart and the fortunate intention. -- Stephen Levine, author of Unattended Sorrow: Recovering from Loss and Reviving the Heart

More About the Author

Until the summer of her fiftieth year, Jan Frazier lived a life typical for a well-educated, middle-class American woman. A divorced mother of two teenagers, she was making a modest living writing and teaching writing. Following a Catholic childhood in Miami in the 1960s, she had studied English in college and graduate school. In her late twenties, longing for hills and snow, she moved to New England, where she was active in the peace movement. But the inner peace she sought always eluded her.

Then, in August 2003, she experienced a radical transformation of consciousness. Fear fell away from her, and she was immersed in a state of causeless joy that has never left her. While she has continued her life as writer, teacher, and mother, she has discovered it is possible to live a richly human life free of suffering. Her wish now is to communicate the truth that within every person is a pool of calm well-being that waits patiently to be stirred to life.

"When Fear Falls Away: The Story of a Sudden Awakening" (Weiser Books, 2007) is Jan's day-by-day account of the shift in consciousness and its alteration of her life. "The Freedom of Being: At Ease with What Is" (Weiser Books, 2012) explores the nature of suffering and offers concrete guidance toward reducing it, opening the door to ultimate freedom.

Jan's poetry and prose have appeared widely in literary journals and anthologies. Her poetry collection, "Greatest Hits," was published by Pudding House, and she has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She has been inspired by a number of teachers, but the joy she lives in belongs to no particular tradition, and is available to all. Jan lives in southern Vermont.

For teaching events, or to receive notification of events and publications, visit Jan at JanFrazierTeachings.com.

Customer Reviews

Not sure it needed to be this many pages for what it is trying to say.
Mary W. Harrington
This is a feast for the hunger deep inside all of us to awaken to true freedom, to our own pure consciousness.
I have much gratitude that Jan has shared her spiritual journey of enlightenment.
Vishali Shahin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 38 people found the following review helpful By M. Biggs on April 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
Jan Frazier is an American woman, writer, teacher,mother, partner, as normal as they come. One day she utters a small prayer-could I please go to the (next day's) mammogram without the usual accompanying fear?
It drops away.
What is more extraordinary is that from that moment, she has attained liberation- a state of complete joy and equanimity- which stays with her.
This state of enlightenment is usually reserved for gurus, wise people of 'attainment', teachers. Some write about their experiences,many apparantly do not. Those on a spiritual path seek this state eagerly; it usually seems very far away, elusive.
Here is a normal woman writing about an exalted state with clarity, passion and almost ordinariness .
It suddenly seems possible for all who might long for it.
What a gift!
Inspiring, funny, sweet, articulate, her book is a beacon for seekers.
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64 of 87 people found the following review helpful By losfelizla on April 9, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Where to begin? There is no spiritual maturity here. Although the author recounts convincingly her newfound lack of fear and anger, there is no sense that wisdom and compassion have taken up residence alongside her new sense of bliss.

She wonders why people don't notice "the change" in her. She wakes up each morning asking if "it" has gone away. After a disagreement with her children she wonders the same thing. Her boyfriend happens upon her giggling in a room for no reason which she ascribes to her advancing state of awakening. The author seems to be projecting her guru's imagined life onto her own and her passion for her guru is at times unsettling. At one point she says after her "enlightenment," she can finally meditate because her mind is so peaceful, not realizing that that's not how meditation works. You meditate with what is, not when the conditions feel good.

Most disappointing to me was an experience she describes at a gas station where she left her car in front of one of three gas pumps while she went into the store for something. Apparently it was many minutes before she went back to her car and there was a few cars waiting to use the pumps. The woman in the front car leaned out and said, "You are rude!" The author says she was pleased that she didn't get reactive, and decided the best thing to do was to say nothing and drive off. Later when she pondered the situation she felt great compassion for the woman and the immense stress the woman must be under to behave in that way. Without spiritual maturity it's easy to think that one's greatest gifts are peace of mind and possibly mystical, ecstatic experiences. But really the wisest changes are true compassion and awareness, not spinning every experience so that it makes us look good and feel better.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A reader on January 30, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a first person account in journal format with dated entries of a permanent spontaneous spiritual opening. The author is a fine writer, sort of an Annie Dillard of the inner realm.
What is an awakening? Readers from Buddhist, Hindu or mystical traditions will understand immediately with terms like kensho, nirvana, or happy dream. But Westerners at large will be fresh beneficiaries of this astute and carefully crafted chronology of events. This book might be looked on as an expanded and enhanced presentation of the daily life of a realized Western woman. It will be particularly valuable for metaphysical students of authors like Eckhart Tolle, ACIM, Joel Goldsmith, and Krishnamurti.
The writing is plainspoken yet eloquent in the same breath, both accessible and deep because it builds gradually and assumes no special background or knowledge--truly for a general audience.
Authors like Eckhart Tolle and Byron Katie have described in a fairly brief way their own spontaneous awakenings. This work offers a gigantic leap in the level of detail provided and the practical consequences seen day-to-day.
MOST OF ALL this book is an inspiration, a reassurance, a touchstone, a reckoning of how the minutia of a troubled, fearful life can fall away into oblivion literally overnight and never return.
An unsophisticated reader of this book may first view it as a fiction, a fantasy, an unbelievable concoction--practitioners will see the truth in it at once. It develops at a slow matter-of-fact pace. By the time you are done following the author for two years of tumultuous personal growth you will cultivate in yourself an intimate understanding of the awakened state.
These descriptions and reflections are not doctrinal or cosmological but strictly experiential.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Camilla S. Dawson on June 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book was recommended and I picked it up with ambivalence thinking, "I already have a spiritual path and Teacher. Do I really want to invest my time in yet another story?" Well, I am immensely glad I did. Frazier's intention to share her experience and let her reader know that enlightenment is here now, available to the reader as well as herself was a gift to me. Since reading the book I am aware of my own moments of Self Awareness and my faith is renewed. Because Frazier has shared her inner life so beautifully and carefully, I recognize that I too can (and do!) live in this state of amazing grace.
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