WE FEAR WHAT WE DON’T UNDERSTAND

In the US we are in a time of tremendous division and, too often, derision. With a major general election looming, we are seeing factions forming on the two main sides that are not only vocally but increasingly physical opposed. It seems as if we’ve lost the capacity to come to a compromise on any issue. It’s not that we don’t know, it’s that we don’t want to know. If I can’t say it clearly and sensibly, I’ll say it louder. The more that we hear about the extreme hate groups and their violent acts, the more emboldened they are to act out. And as is so often the case in a feeding frenzy, when the chum runs out, they turn on each other.
What we are seeing is comparable to the school bully in the last throes of trying to hold on to his reign of the playground. It’s not their ideology that motivates them, it’s their fear, and fear can be a very powerful motivator.
So, is this the harbinger of the end of times as foretold? Not at all. It’s merely a cycle, one that we’ve seen many times over the millennia. The good news is that the cycles are spiraling upward. Slowly but surely. More of us are becoming aware of our ability to affect positive change, and (believe it or not) we are becoming the majority.
Change is rarely easy or painless. There’s an old joke that goes, “How many psychiatrists does it take to change a lightbulb? Only one, but it really has to want to change.” Let’s be the change makers and let’s make the first change from confrontation to compassion.
So many of our belief systems are based on our inherent fears of things unknown. Too often, power structures like governments and religious organizations utilize those fears as a means of establishing and maintaining order. Societies prey on the fears of their members by encoding them into laws and dogma, while at the same time vilifying the fears of other groups as mere superstition.
The study and investigation of the paranormal is rife with fears and superstitions. It’s all about the unknown. Movies and television have dedicated an entire genre to ghosts and demons and built an industry dependent on fear as the basis for their income. The more gruesome, gory, and frightening, the better. Put a group of kids around a campfire at night and inevitably they start telling ghost stories. We love to be scared. (As long as we believe that it’s not really real.) Even so called “reality shows” about the supernatural tend to rely on outdated myths and legends to spur excitement. Therefore, it’s no wonder that so many people demonize any mention of things metaphysical.
Similarly, there are those who will simply deny the existence of anything they cannot physically verify. “If I can’t see it, it isn’t real.” They put on their blinders and headphones and pretend that it isn’t happening. Because we live in families, and communities, and societies we are constantly exposed to the pressure to “fit-in” and the influence of the villifiers and nay-sayers is ever present. If you want to cause panic at a NASCAR race, put on your right turn signal.
As our understanding or our innate intuitive abilities grows, we will inevitably become more aware of those around us who will disagree with what we do or how we do it. Everyone has their own perception and interpretation of what they experience. It’s not our job to “convert” anyone. In my seminars and books, I never claim that mine is the only true answer. I merely offer possibilities and allow others to come to their own conclusions.
We don’t have to deny our own beliefs in order to be accepted by everyone else. We are (slowly and sometimes painfully) coming to a point in our human evolution where it’s OK to be different. My stepfather used to say, “If you’re going to be good at hunting squirrels, you have to be just a little smarter than the squirrel.” Alternatively, I say, “No one ever bagged a squirrel by arguing with it!” Confrontation rarely leads to alliance. The more you try to impose your ideas on another person, the more likely they are to retreat into their fears and entrench even deeper. As we learn to understand and accept that the way in which individuals experience and react to societal fears are absolutely real to them, we can also learn to offer compassion.

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