I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, the first to bring this up. Honestly, this topic was wholly inspired by an article by Dr. Eugene K. Choi that a friend of mine shared on Facebook.
I am not a doctor, scientist, or any other expert. What I am is a philosopher and mindfulness practitioner with years of experience combatting fear on many levels.
To that point — the fear dominating the headlines over this terrible virus is almost certainly worse than the virus itself.
Yes, you should take the necessary precautions to avoid contracting Covid-19. Maintain social distance, wash your hands, self-quarantine if you may have been exposed. All of this falls under common sense.
Take a trip to the grocery store or Target or Walmart and you will see where fear has overwhelmed common sense.
Normally perfectly stocked shelves are bare. Signs are posted limiting how much of certain products can be purchased by any individual. Yet panic buying continues as people hoard certain items.
The vast majority of lack and scarcity in this world are artificial. When you hoard you cause it.
Hoarding is a fear response.
This virus is scary. An invisible, intangible tangible thing that can make you seriously ill and at the worst kill you. It is a completely human reaction to be afraid.
But fear, ultimately, is a choice. The initial fear-reaction is one thing — holding onto the fear and letting it rule you is quite another.
Choose to be afraid — or not
Let me get straight to the point here. It is a matter of mindfulness to choose to let fear dominate you. You have the power to not be afraid.
Mindfulness is awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. It goes deeper, however, as it ultimately is self-knowledge of your mindset, headspace, and overall psyche. Mindfulness is literally the window to your soul.
It does not matter if you are spiritual or not — you have a depth to yourself that is far beneath the surface you show the world. It goes beyond mind, it’s that sense of being at your core. The real you.
An initial fear reaction to an unknown threat is natural. That’s how, when human beings lived more like other animals and were subject to being hunted down and eaten, they avoided being a predator’s supper.
Once humankind evolved and built communities that kept the non-human predators out, the fear also evolved — but now it took on more intangible than tangible qualities.
You are empowered with the ability to not be afraid. It is a choice you can make to either allow that initial fear response to control you — or you can take control over it.
How do you get control over fear?
The first step is to recognize and acknowledge the fear. It’s super-easy to ignore, deny, and avoid what you are afraid of. There are whole industries built on both causing and avoiding fear out there. But you have the option to decide for yourself.
When you learned of the coronavirus and it was an abstract illness across the globe you may have been distantly alarmed. But when it made its way to your shores it became more real and distressing. Then social distancing began — coupled with the horror stories of death from China, Italy, and other places — and fear became prevalent and everywhere.
The initial response on the part of our governmental leadership was disinterest and disinformation. Then, almost overnight, the tune becomes “Oh shit, this IS a problem” and the obvious panic just spurred the fear on.
Then they still took no real lead, and everyone who is in any position of authority mostly is reacting to it all. Reaction of this sort is tinged with fear, isn’t it?
When that’s the outside picture overrunning the conversation, it latches onto your subconscious mind like a deer tick to a dog.
Practicing mindfulness allows you to take control over your subconscious mind and to work on combating and overcoming the fear.
Recognition and acknowledgment lead to action
Now that you are aware of this fear that’s bored its way into your psyche, you can take action to defeat it.
In Frank Herbert’s novel Dune, the Litany Against Fear is, to all intents and purposes, an anti-fear affirmation.
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
There are other mantras and affirmations you can use to help you redirect your thoughts and feelings away from fear.
Being scared is natural — but holding onto it is a choice. Fear will overwhelm your rational mind and will make this whole situation far worse than it is — if you let it.
How? Because when you start questioning all the “What if?” possibilities — which is a fear reaction — you have let them into your conscious mind. Now they can take control of you — instead of you taking control of them.
More often than not, the fear is worse than the actual thing. Yes, Covid-19 is a scary, deadly virus that you want to avoid. But being afraid and letting fear dominate everything you do will sicken you in far worse ways.
After the initial fear reaction, you should be mindful of your thoughts, feelings, and reactions based on that. You have the power and ability to overcome fear and get through this.
The other side will be different
There is no denying that the world after this crisis is going to look different. But what that will be is going to depend on whether fear drives the next actions — or if reason does.
Fear now will cause a fear-reaction later. That will lead to short-sighted actions to return to a status-quo that was unprepared for this in the first place. Do you think returning to that is such a good idea? I, for one, do not.
There is a bright side to this — but fear is going to dim it. Being mindful and taking control of yourself will change that. Yes, this sucks on many levels. But fear of an intangible possibility that may or may not happen makes it far worse. Know that. Recognize it. Then do something about it.
Even when you overcome the fear you will still have moments of doubt and uncertainty. Impossible not to when that’s the overall collective consciousness. Allow the doubts, uncertainty, and negativity to happen. Then, move on and use your power over your thoughts and feelings — via intentional actions -to influence and overcome them.
When we stop letting fear rule us, we are so, so much more powerful than you realize. Become more aware of this and see for yourself what you are truly capable of.
Every light against the dark increases clarity. Fear only rules you so long as you let it. Fight back and glow as brightly as you can.
You are worthy and deserving of using mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you and I matter, and we are stronger than the fear!