I was doing a little meditating this morning, pondering the fact that there is so much to be concerned about these days. Especially here in the US, where we keep hearing warnings about more political violence and a possible “civil war” if the MAGA folks don’t get their way in the midterm elections on Tuesday. And I gotta’ be honest, I’m pretty concerned about it – maybe even a little worried. I talked to my mom about it Friday night, and she’s very scared about what could happen. And there are a lot of people who are scared right now.
As I pondered it for a while, thinking about how I could get to a place of calmness, I thought back to a book I read a while back – a fantastic one that I highly recommend everyone read, especially during scary or trying times: “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Victor Frankl:
Frankl survived the Holocaust, spent time in Auschwitz, and lost his parents, his brother, even his pregnant wife. His book is my absolute go-to whenever I get really fearful, because no matter what I am going through, when I compare it to what he went through and survived, it always pales in comparison. And not only did he survive, but he kept his humanity in tact, went on to help other people, and made something truly beautiful and purposeful out of his immense suffering.
Another thing I focus on when confronting fear, especially of a more existential or societal nature, is the idea of being a spiritual warrior – knowing that, when walking in harmony with Spirit, one can overcome and persevere most anything, just as Frankl’s story demonstrates. If the country did somehow descend into a civil war, then I would take whatever actions I could to protect myself and my family, and also know that I wouldn’t be alone – that Spirit would be watching over me, guiding and protecting me, as long as I kept our connection strong. That means that, while it might not seem important for “battle” to some people, praying, meditating, wearing talismans, observing rituals, etc is extremely important at times like these. I am focusing on keeping that up, paying special attention, even expanding my practice.
And lastly, after thinking about all that, I think about the most important aspect of all this, something that Buddhism teaches so well – the impermanence of phenomena. The fact is, I will die. You will die. Everyone and everything you know will eventually die. It is the way of things on this plane of existence, and accepting that fact, embracing it, relieves a lot of fear. I like to do visualizations of my essence, and the essence of others, lifting out of their bodies. Or, to be more accurate, something like disintegration – I feel all the particles and atoms that make up my physical being start to separate, grow more distant from one another, as I become more fully the consciousness holding those particles together, and not the body they make up. At this more loosely organized state, I can look back at my body and realize that it’s not me – it’s just a vehicle. Doing this brings me a lot of peace because I know that they can’t really do anything to me – the fear is all based on that vehicle and what happens to it. But it’s not me.
I’ve been having that meditation a lot lately, and I REALLY like it. I’ve done it so much throughout my life that it feels 100% real to me. There is a part of me that knows that is the reality of things. And because our modern society, through news, social media, etc preys on fear and insecurity associated with maintaining the physical vehicle – or at least the appearance of such – above all else, I have to work hard, take extra time to do those meditations to keep that belief strong. And at times like this, it’s more important than ever to help me maintain some hope and serenity.
Hopefully someone else who is feeling a bit fearful right now will read this and find something that will give them comfort. I know it helps me to write it out so I can remember, come back to it, when I start getting caught in fear. I always like to remember the last lines of the Hopi wisdom verse I share a lot – “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” I sometimes struggle to believe that. But I think it’s the truth, and believing that to the very depth of my being – that’s the goal I work towards. Many blessings to all who read this on their path towards Truth…