I've been thinking a lot lately about fear and reaction; especially in light of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Granted the news is not good, but so many people seem to be running around hysterically buying into fear, fear and more fear. Earthquakes predicted in California, tsunamis, tragedy, nuclear annihilation and despair. This kind of thinking does nothing to help the cumulative consciousness, nor does it foster inspired action, which actually does help promote the common good. We must now be even more diligent of mind chatter and fearful thoughts that erode our good and rob of us of our personal happiness.
All the upset we're now experiencing in the world is bringing invaluable lessons with it. It gives us reason to be even more diligent with our thoughts in order to bring more light into our own lives - it has an exponential effect - it serves everyone. I'm reminded of someone who lived in the most horrific of times and circumstances and who refused to give into his mind's agreement of pain and despair; Viktor Frankl. He was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, as well as a Holocaust survivor. One of his most famous quotes is, "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." Even while he was being tortured in a concentration camp, he held on to the truth that he was still free in his mind - no one could take that away from him.
The world has, for many people, become a very scary and hostile place. And while I by no means downplay the tragic circumstances the Japanese are now facing, I want to remind everyone that holding on to a higher truth and being even more mindful of our thoughts is of utmost importance. We are all connected; there is no distance in the heart. If we are freaking out in the safety and security of our homes and buying into all the dire predictions, we are of no good to ourselves or others. Remember the acronym for F.E.A.R - False Evidence Appearing Real? Viktor Frankl had all the evidence of physical horror and yet he refused to let his mind fall into agreement. He knew that that would certainly seal his fate. He remained free, and so can we.
We are so powerful. Every thought we think lays the groundwork for our future. We must be hyper-vigilant of our thoughts, especially in these fragile times - it serves to engender peace in your moment, sets up more of the same for my future, and lends itself to inspired action. All action taken from a place of peace acts to serve everyone - it's for the highest good for all concerned. Listen less to those thoughts of fear, listen less to the news, and subscribe to those thoughts that bring peace and joy so that it might be extended to others. Your prayers for the victims will be more powerful, your donations or any inspired action that you take will be compounded when it comes from a place of peace. My husband, who is an avid information gatherer and listens to all kinds of news, has been coming to bed at night with inspiring stories of heroics, generosity and love coming out of Japan. You will not hear those from your nightly news. Look for those stories. They will give you so much hope for the future, as well as inspire and encourage you.
Look for the good news stories; stay away from predictions and admonitions that leave you scared and feeling hopeless. Let's adopt Viktor Frankl's advice to choose our responses. Let's be inspired instead of scared so we can be effective in our own lives and in the lives of others.
These times are helping us shed old skins - skins of shame, guilt, fear and separation. It's time to let go of those false beliefs about ourselves and really understand the truth of who we are so that we might live more joyfully.
I remind you, once again, of all the teachers and tools listed on this page. They will help you let go of the past so that you might move boldly into the future you desire. Each one of those teachers are wonderful and offer special gifts. Choose the one that pops out at you - they will have the very thing you need for this moment. Don't stop reading, listening and marinating yourself in the positive information your soul longs for.
One teacher that especially comes to mind at this time is Daisaku Ikeda. He is a Buddhist philosopher, peace builder, educator, author, poet and President of the SGI Buddhist lay organization. He currently lives in Japan. I leave you with his words, "Nothing can destroy the treasures of the heart. Every adversity is but a trial for us to overcome so that we can attain eternal happiness. Nichiren Buddhism, our practice of faith in the Mystic Law, enables us to transform all poison into medicine without fail."