Do you feel as though your worldview is transforming? I feel as though mine is in a constant state of change these days, and even though I might resist initially, when all is said and done, I find my viewpoint has arrived at a better place. The resistance is nothing more than fear – fear that something will change in a way I don’t want, in a way that ruffles my feathers or upsets the nest.
I believe it’s our task to be aware of the useless fears that pervade our modern lives so we can be better equipped to face them. Fear restricts the body, mind and spirit, shrinking life into a tight little box. So I think it’s a good idea to practice managing it.
Many popular Hollywood movies are full of calamities, which draw in hordes of folks who pay good money to sit and get scared. In particular, I think of the recent movie detailing a catastrophic 2012.
Many of you know about the prophecies associated with that year, the final year of the Mayan calendar. People have created all sorts of fear-based stories around this, such as it being the end of days, where horrible things are going to happen to us before we all burn in a ball of fiery hell. Then Hollywood puts out a movie so thousands of folks can sit and stare at it, allowing horrific images to burn into the collective psyche.
I suspect it is partly the addiction to adrenalin that makes trauma, drama, blood and guts intriguing to people. But could it also be a refusal to harness one’s mind for the sake of good? To get into the director’s chair of one’s own mind means to take responsibility for one’s personal fears. Uh-oh. Too scary! “Besides,” some would say, “how can I take responsibility for the fears I experience? Life just gets thrown my way, and I have to deal with it!”
We do have to deal with it, it’s true. But we also have choices. We can grow our fears or live every moment of our life as if it were sacred.
Even the worst of times can be life’s most deeply healing and enriching, bringing us to an entirely new place of wisdom. On the other hand, our fears increase and grow stronger when we think about them and give them a place at the dinner table. They multiply when we watch the news and agree with the newscasters that things are really, really bad. Our fears grow when we share them with others and convince them that it is true – it’s a quite scary place, this planet earth. We might die before our time or, at the very least, not get what we want. Humph!
In my neck of the woods, I run into lots of folks talking about what’s happening in the world. Sometimes this means who’s running for governor here in my home state of California, the true meaning of our troops being in Afghanistan or issues of sustainability. Other times it means things like crop circles, spaceships, government-enforced vaccines, natural disasters and yes, the potential end of days in 2012. I usually listen a bit, then spend some time giving an alternative view in hopes it can help folks come out of the fear that has taken over their thoughts.
Writing earlier this year about dealing with change, I offered a hypothetical conversation between Fear and Non-Fear. For fun, let’s revisit it:
“Oh boy, we better get ready to hang on because the earth is going to rumble. We are going to have earthquakes, tsunamis, maybe even nuclear war.”
“Well, our houses will all be smashed and under water! Or worse, there could be horrible explosions!” So? “We might lose everything! People could die!”
“We don’t want that!”
“Because we don’t!”
“Because everything would be ruined!”
“We could die!”
“We don’t want that!”
O.K., we don’t want that. What do we want?
“We want life to go on as it is, with very little change!”
“And we don’t want calamity and upset!”
You are right, we don’t. What do you suppose you will be doing in 2013?
“Fearing something else!”
From a house that is under water?
“Well, it will probably not be under water.”
How do you know?
“I don’t! But we are in the midst of great change and we need to prepare for it.”
Would you be willing to change your mind?
“Change my mind? About what?”
About how awful the future could be?
“After all I’ve been through? Now I have to change my mind? Oh, I can’t take all this…”
O.K. Get back to me if you change your mind.
Silly isn’t it? When we have fear that’s not related to the kind needed to crank up the body’s defenses for immediate physical survival, it’s an indication that the mind is in a circular cycle, stuck. The way to overcome the fear is to change the mind, to get the thoughts focused on what brings inner peace instead of more fear.
It’s imperative to learn to accept change, not fear it, and to welcome it. When we allow change to make way for something new, we allow our lives to roll forward. We allow ourselves to grow. The more we can flow with change in life and allow our minds to be free, the easier it is to live in the moment and enjoy this life, this day, this minute, right now.