What I have come to realize in my lifetime is that all true change only seems to come through extreme situations. The greater the intensity of the situation the more pronounced the emotion it elicits in me, the greater my ability to transform myself and my way of thinking as a result. It’s usually only through the full experience of one feeling that I’ve been able to honestly touch on the opposite one that will serve to transform it. All actual transformation comes by using opposites to move from one way of seeing something to a brand new way of seeing the same thing. We can only know ourselves as strong and courageous when encountering situations that scare and weaken us. In the moments of our greatest fear we’re able to see into the true nature of the fear and realize what we need to do in order to resolve and transcend it. Whatever quality as a way of being we choose to intentionally embody is what actually creates our experiences of our self, not the situation or event itself. While the outside definitely acts to stimulate an internal response of an equivalent nature, it also provides us with an opportunity for deciding who we’re going to be in relation with it. We can use our own reactions as the means to gain a sense of control over our own reactions.
When times become extreme, they require us to remain calm while taking extreme measures in response to them. There’s no such thing as changing something by “fighting against it” or acting to try and oppose it somehow, because opposites always act to stimulate, promote, and sustain each other. You can’t fight tyranny by going to war with it or arguing to contest it, but rather by building community that removes it from having authority over people. When we step outside of the fear that’s driving our thoughts and the scenarios we’re running through our mind in an habitual fashion, and we tune into our conscience and what our inner voice is telling us, we can often see the solution in very clear terms, and then all we have to do is have faith in ourselves and commit to doing it. Courageous people experience the same fear everyone else does, they simply choose to move forward in spite of it, and as a result, the fear disappears. The only true purpose of fear is to stop us from taking the actions necessary to resolve it. As we step into our fear we realize that it’s an illusion because it immediately goes away and we focus single-mindedly instead on what we need to do in order to move forward.
The Process of Dissolving Fearful Illusions
I can remember what I went through when I was a kid and I ran away from home for the first time because I was more afraid of what would happen to me if I stayed at home than I was of the thought of having to fend for myself on the streets alone. I was terrified at the realization of being alone with no one to protect me and take care of me. As I became slightly overwhelmed with a feeling of panic, trying to figure out what I was going to do, a voice inside of me kicked in and said, “okay, you can figure out what you’re going to do later, but for right now you need to find a place to sleep and build yourself a fort.” So I did that, then it said, now set up your bed and get everything ready for tonight. After I did that it said, now let’s find something to eat and drink. My inner voice kept directing me in a step-by-step manner as to what I needed to do at this moment in order to take care of myself and create as safe a situation as I could.
When I was going through a time when my whole life had just fallen apart and I was virtually homeless, I was laying down trying to relax and go to sleep, and I started running all the terrible thoughts through my mind about how I was suffering and amplified the feeling of grief, and suddenly my inner voice simply said, look at all the things you have that you can be grateful for, and it started listing them one by one, and my whole mental state changed and I started seeing where the hope was in my situation. I’m in the process of losing my eyesight and it feels as if I’m steadily losing all of what is most important to me, and as I found myself starting to dwell in all the things I can no longer do, I thought . . . wait a minute, what can I still do? Let me move my focus off of what I’m losing and onto what I have instead. As I think about things that happened in the past, my voice says “think only about what has meaning now”, and I began redirecting my attention onto only what’s present in my life and what it is that needs to be done in order to create the situation I want to be in. What kind of positive and meaningful action can I take?
Once we allow ourselves to realize that dwelling in constant fearful thoughts, regardless of what they are, is a downward spiral into an abyss where we act to create the very thing we’re afraid of, we can begin rising above it and pull ourselves out of a bottomless pit of our own making. In every situation we find ourselves in, no matter how intense it may be, we always come face-to-face with who we are and who we’re going to be based on the choices we make as to how we’re going to enter into relationship with it as a part of our story. Whatever decisions we make in regards to it determines how we develop ourselves by way of it as the means of realizing our weaknesses, and instead of succumbing to them by choosing to dwell in that reality, we choose instead to rise to the occasion in a new way by employing virtues in their stead.
The Human Dilemma
One of the problems humanity has as a whole is we often don’t have a well-developed philosophy for how we live and life, and rely on others and the government to lead us by telling us what to do instead. We willingly subject ourselves to whatever ruler ship takes precedence over us, and we become slaves of the establishment as a result. In every crisis is also an opportunity for change. In fact people seldom ever change unless there’s a crisis in their life of some sort. Change is usually forced on people, not chosen in a purposeful manner. The crisis we’re now facing is a global event, and so is the opportunity it brings for global change. It provides us with an opportunity to see our collective weaknesses and what it is that’s makes us scared and vulnerable. What is it that when employed in a tactful and persistent way, serves to ultimately control and determine who we are?
The opportunity doesn’t lie in trying to expose global conspiracies or uncover mass illusions being played out behind the scenes designed to shape our perception in a way that we participate in creating it from a passive state, it lies rather in our ability to transform our way of thinking and devote our attention to what will remedy it as a solution. When we engage people in the reality of the conspiracies themselves, where they can clearly imagine them and form an emotional response to them, we actually help to co-create it at the collective level. Whatever we dwell in with emotional intensity, we use our mind to create as our experience. Whatever illusion we expose at the corporate and government level will simply be replaced by another one because the illusion isn’t the problem, it’s our reliance on these agencies to lead us and provide basic necessities that’s the problem. Until we change this, new problems will be created to replace the old ones that have been resolved.
As natural and global crisis arise, we’re instructed to separate from each other even more than we currently are, and to be afraid of contact and even suspicious of others, and though this seems to be a good idea in terms of preventing it from spreading, the mental anxiety and depression created through isolation due to intense fear, becomes far worse than the virus itself. People are now being trained to “police each other”. It brings out the worst in people and promotes selfish and drastic behaviors of taking far more than you need while others go without because of it. It appeals to our poor character while isolating us even further from the only real hope we have, and that’s each other.
With the term “social distancing” becoming a buzz word and the paranoia it creates encouraged, the “real problem” is being promoted and proliferating. The only obvious opportunity in this whole situation for all of us is to use it instead to begin building community by cultivating our sense of compassion for others and extending ourselves to help each other in whatever way we can. Many of us live next door to people, sometimes for years, that we don’t even know and haven’t even met or talked to at any length. We go on walks through the park and barely make eye contact with anyone, or even extend a friendly “hi”. Many sit with their family and friends while completely ignoring them and choosing instead to surf their cellphones with a blank look on their face.
Many are spending their time in “quarantine” to mindlessly surf the internet reading every article or watching every video they can find on the coronavirus and the conspiracies obviously associated with it, sending themselves into an even deeper state of depression and mass hysteria by cultivating a sense of hopelessness. One of the interesting things about people is that you don’t have to actually put forth the effort to brainwash them, all you have to do is provide the means for them to brainwash themselves. Their suffering is self-inflicted, and all of their mental anguish is self-administered.
What would happen if instead we decided to see this as a wake-up call and an opportunity for making the changes that are so drastically needed in the world? What if we decided instead to reach out to our neighbors and the very people present all around us in our community and ask them if they’re doing okay? Ask them if they need anything, and let them know that if they do, we’ll help them? Or just talk with them and become acquainted with them? If there’s an elderly person that we know lives alone, check on them to make sure they’re doing alright or to see if they need a friendly smile or to just talk. We don’t have to come into direct contact, we can stand a few feet away, talk to them from our yard or the sidewalk. We can put a note on their door or the windshield of their car letting them know who we are and that we’re here to help if they need anything, and give them our name and phone number. Let them know that if they’re just feeling lonely and want to talk, that’s ok too. If someone is ill in some way, prepare them a meal and leave it on their doorstep while ringing their doorbell.
Instead of pulling even further apart or becoming even more isolated because of this, why don’t we see it as the means for becoming even more connected and learning how to work together to build community? Get back to the old-fashioned idea of neighbors helping neighbors? It used to be that if someone in the community was sick the women got together and tended to them, and everyone chipped in to help them with their chores until they were recovered. In situations like this the effects produced are far greater than the disease itself. We tend to feed the problem instead of remedying it with a meaningful solution. There’s only power in numbers, and when we come together for a common cause we are powerful beyond measure. When a small group of people come together with a common purpose and form community by working together as a cohesive unit, great changes come about that nurture our soul and bring back a deep feeling of hope. Hope in the fact that we’re not alone. There’s nothing more gratifying than feeling a productive part of something greater than ourselves. In this way, we begin healing at the collective level through a single act, that’s then followed by another, and another, and another . . . .