“I’ve learned that fear limits you and your vision. It serves as blinders to what may be just a few steps down the road for you. The journey is valuable, but believing in your talents, your abilities, and your self-worth can empower you to walk down an even brighter path. Transforming fear into freedom – how great is that?”— Soledad O’Brien
“Who sees all beings in his own self, and his own self in all beings, loses all fear.”
Isa Upanishad, Hindu Scripture
There are people who in their fervor to win high political office and (in their minds) control the world who are intentionally spreading fear. It makes perfect sense. People who are afraid are easier to control.
A part of this political tactic is to paint a picture of doom and gloom; a world gone astray with no good left. The only hope is to elect one particular leader. Believe it or not, this political strategy (let’s call it what it is) seems to be working.
There are people who see that there is still good left in our world and in our country. The slogan “Make America Great Again” is meant to reinforce a very negative view of our country and our world. But there are those who believe that America is still great.
Could things be better? Of course. Do we need to learn to put aside our differences and come together to work for good? Absolutely. Do we need to find a way to stop the senseless violence? You bet. But words and actions that only serve to further divide our country are not what we need right now.
If “we the people” really want to “take back our country” it must be done through a “grass roots” movement, not by electing a demagogue who claims to have all the answers. That means we start seeing the real truth about our country and not the negative picture being painted.
The United States has a long history of pulling together to come through dark times. In fact the great strength of our country has been that in spite of our diversity we can come together in difficult circumstance. Now more than ever we need to come together as individuals and communities, across race, gender and party lines to listen to each other and find solutions.
We also remember that our thoughts and our words are creative. What we think and say comes into being. We remind each other that positive words and actions have the power to overcome evil. We think, speak, meditate and act on peace.
We are also grateful for what we have. We recognize that no matter how dark and desperate times may seem there is still good in the world and for this we are so grateful. During this month when Americans celebrate a National Day of Thanksgiving let us focus on gratitude for the good things in the world, our countries (we have readers from around the world) and our own lives.
The internet can be a wonderful tool, but it is just that… a tool. As a tool it is neither good or evil in itself, but can be used for either.
With the advent of the Internet Age, we now have access to more information than ever before. We also have access to that information quicker than ever before. Now it is possible to watch news stories as they are still unfolding. This often results in misinformation going out before all the details have yet to be learned.
It is now also possible for anyone to declare themselves a journalist, writer or online personality and start sharing news or opinions through blogs, podcasts and other online media. With this we find the lines between trustworthy sources and not so trustworthy ones being blurred.
Add to the above the possibility of anonymity online paired with social pressure and things can get out of hand quickly. If you read and believe everything that comes across your screen you find yourself at some time or other experiencing extreme anger or fear.
So how do we protect ourselves online?
- Remember when you access information via the internet from your home, you are inviting people, information and events into your home. You are inviting strangers into your home, your head and your heart. Guard your home as well as your head and your heart. Don’t allow things in through the computer that you would not allow in through your front door.
- Carefully screen and select breaking news, headlines or other information coming to you. Some days there is just so much going on that if you get alerts or headlines on your homepage you may get quite overwhelmed. Choose the types of stories you really want to follow and the sources you trust.
- When tragedy strikes, which is becoming all too familiar, do not stay glued to the story for hours or days, soaking up every little detail. As difficult as it may be, life does go on. The news can stop you in your tracks if you let it.
- Choose your online “friends” and people you “follow” carefully. We all know that many online friends are actually strangers right? They may not even be who we think they are and many certainly do not have your best interest in mind. As an artist and writer I have two different types of social media accounts. First, I have the public ones for the creative work I do, such as my Facebook Page. Then I also have my personal Facebook account which I limit mostly to family and neighbors. I have a small number of followers and they get to see the real me. I might share anything from my favorite recipes, to my current art projects, to catching up on family news, to updates on Bob’s health, to political views (yes, I do have them). My other social media accounts are much less personal.
- Avoid jumping on “bandwagons” and getting caught up in emotional “mob scenes” online. Don’t find yourself following an angry crowd into doing or saying something you would never do on your own.
- Bookmark or subscribe to your go-to websites and blogs for positive news, articles and encouragement. There are more of us out there then your might think. Of course we hope you will remember us when your soul needs a vacation.
Bob and I are quite active online. We use the internet as a tool for communication as well as information and research. Please keep in mind as you are online, the internet is only a tool. Whether you use it for good or evil is up to you.
Meditation is always important, but especially when we find ourselves going up against fear. Many of these tools I will talk about are things we need to grow and cultivate so they will become a natural part of our lives, available when we need them. Fear, desperation and turmoil certainly can drive us to these practices There is never a bad time to start learning, but we cannot expect to have full knowledge of or the ability to use these tools immediately. It all takes time, so be patient. It will be worth it.
Meditation means different things to different people and there are many different methods and techniques available. Perhaps the easiest way to begin is simply by following the breath as it goes in and out. This is sometimes called “mindfulness of breathing” and will slow down and calm both the body and mind.
Meditation is something that can be practiced by people of any or no religious tradition. My meditation practice is a part of my religious practice, where we enter into the silence and experience the presence of God, but yours might be quite different.
There is such a thing as “guided meditation.” This is another tool and it is one that I sometimes use. These are often scripted and read. It is easy to become dependent on these words and the tone and delivery style of the teacher. So, if you use these be sure you are also practicing meditation on your own. The teacher, video or podcast might not be there in time of crisis.
In the crazy world we live in, we all need to stop, be still and remember who we are. Start developing your meditation practice now and it will be there for you when you need it.
For more information on meditation check our 101+ Positive Resources page.
Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. — Luke 12:32
6 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? 7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. — Luke 12:6-7
And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? — Mark 4:40