In my last newsletter, I spoke about the pervasiveness of fear and greed as forces that foment destruction in our world. I also asked whether some kind of awareness can deliver us from this fate. When I think about my current state of mind and that of most people I know, words come to mind like: waiting, trepidation, hopefulness, fatalism, and uncertainty. It is somewhat like the feeling one might have when he or she is about to cross an extremely narrow and treacherous footbridge across a deep chasm — a bridge that, in addition, leads to unknown territory. Will we make it to the other side? What will we find when we get there?
It’s not just the American election, climate change, the autism explosion, corporate exploitation, or the degradation and greed-fueled pollution of our air and water and soil and food and bodies that create this state of mind. There’s also a sense that big changes are coming. What can we do to ease our way? Can we make the bridge we are about to cross any safer or shorter? Can we ensure that the other side, once we reach it, is better, or at least not worse, than what we are leaving behind?
A very famous and wise kabbalist, Rabbi Nachman of Bretslav (1772-1811), is perhaps most well known for the following saying: “The whole world is a very narrow bridge, and the essential thing is to not be afraid at all.” At times like these, to paraphrase another wise man — Franklin Roosevelt, it seems that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
So how not to be afraid? How not to be run by fear? This can be very difficult. Because fear is not only naturally emerging from within us, but it is also thrust upon us at every turn: by the media, politicians, medical professionals, environmentalists, corporations, clergy, and more. And why should it not be? Fear is the most potent tool for control and convincement of others. In fact, didn’t my previous article about the exponential growth of autism make you afraid? I know it scares me.
Yes, fear and greed are potent motivators. But they may not be optimal at getting us across the bridge. As far as I can figure out (and I’ve been thinking about this constantly lately), our only way forward is twofold:
1) Try to hone your awareness of what’s really going on. Use your inner intuition to decide what’s really true for you — don’t just accept “common wisdom” and oft-repeated media blather as truth. However, do not overlay your truth with fear; just accept it as it is.
2) Seek out positive options — ideally, ones that will also benefit others — when moving forward. Use your gathered information to make choices, one step at a time. Live in trust that you are doing the best you can possibly do, given your efforts at honing your awareness and gathering positive options.
In many ways, these two strategies echo the four steps of manifestation I outline in my book Active Consciousness. Namely, get quiet, and get in touch with your own higher wisdom and intention without interference from the fear-mongering of others or your own fear-based internal stories. Then let go in trust and Choose Joy.
This may all sound formulaic and trite, but trust me, it’s not so easy. It’s much easier to blindly accept what the media or government or authorities are telling you, become motivated by fear, force your fear-based decisions on others, and greedily try to escape your anxieties by consuming and hording more food, possessions, or entertainment, all in the name of some kind of fear-motivated “control”.
Of course, each one of us has our own truth, our own reality, our own quest. Yours might be drastically at odds with mine — even antithetical to mine. But I have a hunch that if we all left the motivations of fear and greed behind, our quests would at least be less likely to stomp upon and hurt one another. Indeed, what else can we do but follow our inner truth and do our very best? As Buckminster Fuller used to say, in the end, Universe will decide which dreams bear fruit, and they sometimes do so in the most surprising — often synchronistic — ways.
Friends, our collective past has led us to this edge. Our only choice is to move forward and try to get across the bridge into our collective future. Fear and greed are only going to make it more difficult and definitely less pleasant. See you on the other side!