Let me give you an actual example. A friend of mine had been attending a class that was very important to him. He enjoyed interacting with the other students and it provided an outlet for artistic growth. He looked forward to this once a week event more than anything.
But something happened in the class that gave him no option other than to leave the class, which was devastating to him. This had been his “home” for almost a year. He looked around for another class but found nothing that he felt good about. He was in turmoil, filled with anxiety.
Then he said to himself that he had to let the class and the experience go. He had his memories, but he had to stop wishing that he could go back, that something would change. Stop asking, “why?” And he had to stop his fear/anxiety that he would not be able to find a new artistic home, that he needed a class, and adopt a positive outlook.
He then started looking again for a class and found one that had possibilities. He contacted the instructor and from their conversation he felt that this would be a wonderful opportunity for him. And so he started this new class and it bodes well.
Had he not freed himself from his fear and anxiety, he would have remained in an emotional straight-jacket and any judgments he made regarding that class or a new one would have been bad decisions because they would not have been made from a place of equanimity. Instead, he now sees what happened as presenting an opportunity to him for further growth.
On my own personal level, this power of fear has been encountered many times, thankfully mostly in the past. When my partner died in 1989, I said to a good friend, “What am I going to do with my life? Where am I going to find meaning?” For weeks I went through my life on auto-pilot. Yet when I got past that fear (I am a survivor; it is in my genes), that loss turned into an opportunity for artistic and spiritual growth. Had he not died, I would have never become a composer and written An AIDS Requiem and other compositions. Had he not died, I would not have met the friend who introduced me to Buddhism, which has changed my life.
That relationship was a beautiful seed from which so much more has sprung. One person after a performance of the Requiem said to me that he only hopes that at some point in his life he has the impact on another person that my partner had on me.
As with all life, it is through the cycle of death/loss that continued growth is possible.