We are living in fearful times. Every day, every month, every year there is some new catastrophe to wrap your mind around. Part of the problem is the nature of fear in humanity: why it exists, how it short circuits the rational section of our brain, and the spiritual component of fear.
People have legitimate fear, and illegitimate fear. There are things we should be scared of for good reason like forgetting to file your taxes and having to deal with the IRS, cancer, or some person posting that throwback photo from school that is you at your most awkward.
Legitimate fear is like you paying attention to the “check oil” lights in your car. If you pay attention, you can head off something bad happening in the future. When you use foresight, aspects of your life improve.
Part of the problem of fear is that as humans we are able to see the consequences of our actions, but we are hard wired to care about the short term situation. So we watch horrible things unfold in hindsight and think to ourselves “What if I’d done this differently?” Then we deal with recrimination and fear.
Illegitimate fear is the kinds of unreasonable fears that modern humans seem to revel in. Before media, most people didn’t have the fear of the mirror, or any of the other countless plagues of the mind we have unleashed on ourselves.
The problem is not fear, it is a mind that is allowed to indulge in any thought without care of consequence.
One of the symptoms of an unmanageable mind is regret. Make mistakes, learn from them, and move on. Dwelling on error is revelling in misery which is no way to learn. I only have a few regrets in my life, and they are honest ones.
We are encouraged to indulge in a mind that is undisciplined, erratic, and blames others for real or imagined mistakes.
A person’s mind can be an enemy or a friend. Imagination gets the better of us, and it seems there is no recourse.
Modern Siddha, Swami Muktananda Paramahamsa said: “Fear is natural to the mind, and other negative feelings to emerge naturally in the mind. Don’t attach any importance to them. Just as cold and heat, dry weather and rains, keep alternating with one another, in the same way the mind keeps passing through different phases…All the negative thoughts that appear are like vapors or fumes that rise up into the sky. Don’t attach any importance to them.”
In meditation practice, a person becomes what they focus on. We can use this time of adversity to become compassionate, understanding people.
My prayers are with people near and far, seen and unseen, known and unknown. May you understand you are more than your feelings of loneliness and fear. Please get through these times with grace.
With deep love and respect…
John H. Rodney
If you wish to contact me, I can be reached through Jpay.com