Feeling Safe in Unsafe World
Are Most of Those Fears Irrational?
It's been said that "a coward dies thousand deaths, and a brave person only once". Now, it's not to suggest that a real and imminent threat is to be ignored, or that all of us should, by some overnight magic, turn into heroes.
But, on the other hand, neither should we train our nerves to become proficient at cowardice. A thought of a violent home invader may put some chills up my spine. However, it's up to me to either elaborate more on that thought and basically torment myself with it in an absence of any such intruder---or to dismiss it as one of those irrational glitches in my brain's daily computations.
Should I find it hard to shake it off my mind, I could always stretch it into its ridiculous extreme; for example, by seeing the chances of it not so far from a possibility of an unfriendly extraterrestrial dropping down my chimney Santa-style.
Why would I choose to see such a big improbability in it? After all, every little while daily news are reporting about it happening, maybe even not far from my home. But then, again, recently a person about my age died in my neighborhood, and that is not an indication of "my turn coming soon.
Something deeper is going on, and I would like to address it with a few words. Maybe the whole paranoia of our unsafety is a case of the proverbial "putting cart in front of horse"---meaning that we create an emotional environment which is expressing itself through our noticing all kinds of "threats". Is our dark imagination playing tricks on us?
Long time ago, while in a mood for writing down a list of typical stressors in life, I came up with a little antidote which I called Unscare principle. Right beside it I jotted down its simple definition: "Things are hardly ever as serious as we make them".
Immediately I tested its value by bringing to mind all kinds of occasions in my life when I was scaring myself for nothing. Like that first public singing performance during my army service, while noticing those critical eyes of my captain sitting in the front row---that same look he used to give me so many times when I was brought into his office for playing a rebel.
Or that time when the door closed by itself while I was doing some crazy occult practice---wait, I was in my twenties then.
Well, I'd better stop with these examples, but there are many more when I felt like someone or something(!) was about to pull the rug under my feet. In short, I thrived on uncertainties, and it was not all that easy for my nervous system to develop an immunity to them, which somehow would be interpreted as "bravery".
So, at that moment of smartness I got to my "unscare principle" which actually became quite handy in more than one future occasions. It was a sheer pleasure proving it to myself after each of those false alarms in life.
Gambler's "Why Not Me" Philosophy
Many of us have come a long way in our methods of scaring ourselves since that time when a stranger offered us a candy and we went panicky remembering mother's cautioning words. Now we jump at the mention of words like "terrorists", "Middle East", "refuges", and "Russia".
Hey, how could I leave out the boogie-man-president who will "have us all in concentration camps". No, I won't go there; it would only serve a lengthy filler to swell up the volume of my article, but it would water down my point.
My point being---once that the feeling of being unsafe in this world sets in deeply into our emotional repertoire, it is bound to seek its expression. It's a basic truism about any of our innate or acquired abilities, that they want to participate in our little drama of living.
Like the good dr. Joe Dispenza would say it: "Brain cells that fire together---wire together"; in our case meaning that it takes a few repetitions of a fearful response for the brain to start playing it out on its own---threat or not.
Those survival alarms get trigger-happy and before we know it, even something of an innocent and neutral nature becomes a threat to our security. You see, just as a happy-go-lucky dude like myself finds a reason for a joy in any little thing, so an unsafe dude "sees" a doomsday machine in a coffee-grinder---figuratively speaking of course.
Quite often folks rationalize their unsafety with those news reports. But again, what are the chances that you are "next"? The fear behind it is based on a gambler's self-delusion: "Since every day someone wins a jackpot---why not me?" Likewise, with so many people killed in accidents, violent crimes, or food poisonings---what makes me an exempt from it?
Well, as we hear or read about other people practicing such futile philosophy of life, we may even laugh at them, while not willing to question our own level of ungrounded unsafety.
When Only Time Can Heal It
Now, the question may not be so much how we managed to get so easily unsettled over our safety, but much more than that, we should ask ourselves how much longer we are planning to torment ourselves with imaginary perils of all sorts.
Really, when is enough, after we have realized that we are "still kicking" despite all those dark predictions of the past? So we may say, perhaps we have been just "lucky" so far---but we never know how it's going to be tomorrow or the day after---with all this crap happening.
I a-kind-of promised not to touch the politics, but for a mini deviation from it, I am truly amazed how persistently people fantasize about those cataclysmic consequences of their new president's actions. While nothing is realistically happening that would justify that massive paranoia, it's impossible to reason them out of it.
It reminds me of my little son many years ago who rushed into our bedroom after having a bad dream; and no words of reassurance were possible to make him go back to his bed. We didn't push it, and he fell asleep between the two of us with a smile on his face.
So, after trying to reason with some of those unsafe folks I got to the same point of giving up---only time can make them snap out of that collective turmoil. Of course, not the one that was "created" by their new president, but the one that existed before he even got elected, only to be aggravated and greatly amplified by the dude.
Mind Playing Tricks on Us
Just to diverge a little from the main theme, but still within a frame of a relevance, let me mention another somewhat morbid example where our mind is playing tricks on us.
Who hasn't heard, in poetry or in conversations, how "life is so short".
It's a well established fact that our mind produces distortions of time perceptions. When you are having fun, "time flies so fast", while on the job minutes are seemingly dragging into hours. A "long" dream actually lasts only seconds, because of the brain's ability to "fast-forward" the action.
Likewise, while reminiscing, we can scan quickly over decades, with some memories looking fresh "like it happened yesterday". Especially elderly folks whose long term memory gets amplified may talk with a deep sigh about shortness of life.
When we get such an impression, it's good to remind ourselves about this little scientific fact about the distortion of time. Life is actually very long, and we could make it feel even longer by creating new memories, instead of just surviving in a sameness of duplicating year after year. We have to physically force ourselves to undertake something different.
Feeling unsafe often creeps-in exactly because of that sedentary lifestyle without any challenges. Just watch who is mostly talking about those alarming news. Are those the folks who are leading an active life, listening to music, laughing, meeting friends, victoriously screaming on a bowling floor, taking vacations---or those with their asses glued by the TV and getting startled by any unnatural sound coming from their backyard.
Not a Matter of Dying---but Living
As I am coming to the closure of this theme, I hope to hear from a reader that they have examined their safety concerns, coming to that honest conclusion how their mind is just exaggerating on its own, after being fed too much of that toxic news material. It really takes some honest self-questioning to get to the point of liberation.
For, all that yapping about "democracy and freedoms" is good for nothing if we are keeping ourselves hostages of self-created threats. Try to define "freedom" to yourself, and nowhere in that definition will be a freedom from our own mind's constructs---it's always about a freedom from someone outside.
What leader, what constitution, what legislature can guarantee us that feeling of freedom if we keep inventing a whole band of boogie-man to scare ourselves. Going through life by looking over our shoulder is not living, folks.
Well, I hope at least a sentence or two of this article has stuck in your mind---of course, IF you happen to be one of those folks feeling chronically unsafe. As for the rest of you, I hope you derived some fun out of it.