Tara Brach, in her book Radical Acceptance, talks about the “trance of fear” and other such trances. When we think of trances, we tend to think of someone sitting cross-legged, of someone sleepwalking through the kitchen, or of spirals and cartoon mischief. But any state of unconscious behavior can constitute a trance.

The trance of fear looks obvious from the outside, but how often have you been spooked and not realized until after the terror passed? The same goes for the “trance of unworthiness” named by Brach. We fall into it when we doubt that our work deserves recognition, believe that others wouldn’t want to see it in the first place, and convince ourselves that we couldn’t produce anything worth showing to anyone at all, despite all the evidence - pay stubs, relationships, contentment within the flow - that we are worthy of all that appreciation and of self-worth. Once we awaken to that truth, we can exit the trance. And then we can choose which trance to enter next.

You enter positive trances all the time: when you drive without an accident, when you score that killer combo in your favorite game, when that presentation goes off without a hitch. You can, with practice, allow yourself to enter such trances when they matter most. Meditation can help and Radical Acceptance is a wonderful resource for it.