It feels like the world is going mad, doesn’t it?
Let’s face it, there is some pretty scary stuff happening right now. Great Britain and Brexit and the impact of that, the elections in the United States, and of course, you can’t ignore the coronavirus threat (nor pray it away or pretend it’s not a thing.)
People are panicking. Fear has been elevated to new and utterly distressing levels. So how, in the face of that, can I still work on my own life and practice my philosophy?
The better question is how could I not?
There is absolutely ZERO that I can do about many of the issues out there. At least, none that will be of use to anyone but me anyhow. I live in the United States, so I am only peripherally impacted by Brexit anyhow. I will exercise my right to vote in both the primary and general elections. As to the coronavirus — I will continue to wash my hands like I always do, and if I am feeling ill I will stay away from other people.
Panic does me no good at all. Stockpiling drugs, toilet paper, canned goods and the like does nothing more than feed the frenzy, elevate the fear, and give in to the general sense of doom and gloom.
There is a choice. Join the mob and huddle into the dark and unknown of fear — or — stand out as a beacon and do something hopeful.
It feels like it’s everywhere you turn
The news media LOVES to create headlines that stir you. There is an entire industry built on this — clickbait. Sensationalism and extremism seem to have completely overtaken logic, reason, consideration, investigation, and clear thinking.
Except that it hasn’t. Sensationalism, extremism, and clickbait are just super loud. Like the volume control that normally only goes to 10 — these all go to 11. Maybe 12, even. Great way to stir panic, right?
What’s more, between the internet, TV, radio, billboards, the sides of cars and busses, and so on, you are constantly bombarded by messages. And I use the word “messages” rather than “information” because when you examine it all more closely you see that very little of it is truly informative.
But it does get your attention. And that’s the whole point.
Why? Because when “they” have your attention they have impacted your subconscious psyche. That, in turn, puts you into their sphere of influence. In-as-much as they can, they gain control of you.
Until you become aware of it, that is.
Light dawns on marble head
In books, TV, films and the like, the main character often has an epiphany of some sort or other.
There is a moment where clarity that was lacking, like a bolt of lightning, strikes them suddenly and dramatically. Now they see the best friend is actually the optimum lover, or they realize who the villain really is, or they discover the power that was always in them in the first place.
While this is a frequent and regular vehicle in fiction it also tends to happen in real life, too. Often, however, it’s a lot less dramatic. Most, if not all of the time, it involves you becoming aware of something you were not aware of before.
That awareness may involve something outside of yourself — but it is an internal matter. You wakeup from allowing your subconscious to be in control and take it back for yourself.
What does that mean? It means that you become mindful. Mindfulness is awareness of yourself. It is awareness of your thoughts, feelings, actions, and overall mental, emotional, and spiritual state.
Now you can see that the message you absorbed was not true. You gain the ability to be in control over your destiny.
I experienced something like this recently. My favorite candidate in the Presidential election withdrew. As such, I was not overly thrilled with who remained. But then I ignored the bombardment of messages and thought about it — really thought about it. No, I may not be thrilled by my choices — but — they are still an improvement over the current collective reality.
That made me feel better. And I realized that as much as I was attempting to not get overwhelmed by the election and all the news around it, I still had been.
This is how panic is made manifest
Most of the time there are many, small, frequent messages all around you. They tend to be indirect, and simply draw your attention to the thing, whatever it is. You may be actively avoiding or ignoring it, or you may be seeking out more and more of it.
Either way, it starts to embed itself into your subconscious mind. Faster if you are seeking more information than not, but it gets in there overall. Since the subconscious works well below your mindfulness, it turns into things like deep skepticism, cynicism, brain weasels, doubts, and subtle fears.
It may or may not bloom into full-on panic. It might nag at you, or otherwise impact how you live and what you do. Before you know it, there it is, having snuck-up behind you, the huge dark monster of terror is now all around you.
Your heart races, your chest compresses, you get that sinking feeling in your gut. Maybe your breathing gets shallow. You lose your ability to reason, and all you experience is the fear.
Now you’re panicking. Congrats.
Does this do you any good whatsoever? Of course not.
And this is why, in the face of that, I can and should still work on my own life and practice my philosophy.
How to get back control
Mindfulness stops panic.
How? The first step is to breathe. Just breathe. Take deep breaths. Slow your heart, slow your mind, practice deep breathing for 30 seconds to several minutes. Meditation in one of its simplest forms is all about focusing on breathing.
Deep breathing calms you. Once calm, the next step is to ask simple, poignant questions to become aware of your thoughts and feelings, as well as your general mindset.
There are more questions, of course, but these are an excellent starting point. They bring you into the moment and allow you to see if you are on your chosen path or stepping far away from it.
When you are aware of your mindset you gain the ability to take control over yourself. And that is the only thing over which you have true control in this life.
Is this selfish? No. How does being in a panic do anyone any good at all? How does being focused outside of yourself help you help anyone else? It doesn’t.
I am not suggesting ignoring the world at large. That’s ludicrous. I am saying you need to take charge of your psyche, your headspace, and mindset. Be the rock in the middle of the fast-moving river that does not budge no matter the forces constantly battering at it.
Yes, it feels like the world is going mad, doesn’t it? Practicing mindfulness, Pathwalking, or whatever your personal philosophy may be will make you better able to resist the madness and be a point of calm and reason.
Will you practice mindfulness and take charge of your subconscious?
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 that’s why there is never a reason to panic.
Originally published at http://titaniumdon.com on March 11, 2020.