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Moving from Fear to Love

An interview with addiction recovery expert Tommy Rosen

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headshot of Tommy Rosen on the Ganges River

Photo Credit: DJ Pierce

We’re disconnected. We’re stuck in jobs, relationships, and living situations not supportive of our highest good, and maybe even stuck in cycles of harming and addictive behaviors. 

Addiction recovery expert and longtime Kundalini yoga teacher Tommy Rosen tells us this disconnectedness is actually a perceived feeling that covers a much more deep-seated emotion: fear.

“Most people in the world operate out of fear,” Tommy said. “It dominates us even though we may not realize it.” He explained we have a fear of loss, fear of death, fear of sickness, or fear of economic insecurity, and like it or not, these fears are often the prime motivator of our decisions.

Rosen has been leading recovery groups for nearly two decades and has studied the profound effect fear and spirituality can have on human behavior.

He says that all fear can be broken down into two main categories: 

  • Fear that we’re not going to get something we want (causing us to act in lack and grasping)
  • Fear that we’ll lose something we already have (causing us to act in scarcity and hoarding).

When we recognize we’re acting in fear, we can acknowledge this perceived disconnection and make a choice to live another way.  We can walk away from fear and into a life of love by choosing a spiritual path. When on the spiritual path, we might see our addictions for the first time (compulsive shopping, food, or recreational drugs, for example), with compassion and nonjudgmental openness. We might think things like: “This has been going on, and I don’t desire for this to continue. What can I do now?”

Once having asked this vital question, grace pours in. Previously unacknowledged opportunities for shifting present themselves as spiritual communities to join, yoga, and meditation teachers or energy healers to help lead you. Books and lectures of spiritual teachings can also serve as tools and support.

The motivation for behaviors shifts from being based in fear to being motivated by love. We still may have moments of fear but its power over us lessens as we continue down the path. 

A consistent sadhana practice will help you overcome obstacles and stay committed. Your practice can be daily (or more than daily) yoga or meditation, a mindful walk, prayer, etc. 

“We have to be reminded, every day, of the condition of our humanity and of our vulnerability. We have to be reminded of the things we’ve already learned, and only temporarily forgotten, ” Tommy said. “So we practice. This is the purpose of our sadhana.” 

We can take simple steps to stay reminded of our practice and committed to recovery. Tommy offers these ideas.

  • Create an altar in your home with items that remind you of what’s important (a teacher, a family member, nature, etc…).
  • Put essential oil on your body reminding you of a positive experience.
  • Wear mala beads or a bracelet that carries spiritual significance to you.
  • Be in the presence of teachers and exalted human beings. Their higher frequency and expanded awareness is contagious.
  • Mind the company you keep.
  • Mind the foods you eat.

To join a recovery network and find more inspiration for your journey, check out Tommy Rosen’s Recovery 2.0 online community.


Tommy presented his concepts of fear and love at the 29th annual International Yoga Festival in Rishikesh, India this past March. Join Tommy and other world-renowned teachers and spiritual leaders in 2018. Find more info about the fest here: http://www.internationalyogafestival.org/ 

Photo of Tommy Rosen by: DJ Pierce @thedjpierce


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