“Give Evil nothing to oppose and it will disappear by itself.” — Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
In the wake of recent dramas playing out on the planet (mass shootings and gun control, the Boston Marathon bombing, environmental and human rights issues etc.) we thought it would be a good time to remind each other that we are all much more powerful and helpful, when we come from a place of peace.
Remaining calm in a crisis is wisdom we all know to be true, just look at popularity of the meme “Keep Calm and Carry On,” (taken from a revived 1939 British War propaganda poster.) While we may all recognize the wisdom in keeping calm or coming from a peaceful place, we don’t always know how to live it.
Fear, Anxiety and Stress
Our most natural response to tragic events is usually fear-based emotions such as anger or anxiety. This knee-jerk biological response may have worked in our cave ancestors’ days, when they needed that extra boost of adrenaline and other stress chemicals to flee from a charging woolly mammoth but these days those negatively charged emotions can wreck great havoc on our lives, our health and our sense of well-being in the world.
We’re not just talking about those big news stories that have you up late at night worrying about the future of your loved ones’ safety. We’re also talking about those things you rail against. The politician you feel is trying to violate people’s rights; the corporation that just spilled oil off the coast or in someone’s back yard; the co-worker who disagrees with you about the need for stricter gun control laws in this country and even the person who cuts in front of you in line or cuts you off in traffic at the end of a long day.
We all have experiences like this, places where we get so fired up, places where we feel powerless and we are determined to fight back on some scale. One of my biggest gripes used to be people littering, I just could not understand why, even when there is a garbage can right there, they decided to toss a wrapper on the ground. I would get so upset that if I said something, it would then escalate into more littering or at times, even being on the receiving end of verbal abuse.
I would like to say that suddenly, a bolt of enlightenment hit and I realized I was creating more resistance by getting upset but the truth is, I really just gave up and started picking up the trash, without saying a word to anyone about their actions. What I learned from that was profound — it turns out, people really do learn best by example.
Be the change . . .
Once I made the change in my attitude and response to it, littering became a non-issue in my world, very quickly. Not just because I was choosing to think and react to it differently but because as Gandhi pointed out, “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.”
I was no longer wasting my energy pointing fingers and telling others what they must do, instead I was changing the only thing I really have control over anyway — me.
Gandhi was a wise man (though what he said was not as simply put as this): I had become the change I wished to see in the world. The same goes for the bigger scale stuff — one must be the peace, tolerance, kindness, love, patience — whatever — you wish to see in the world.
See the World, Be the World, Anew
Another wise man, Albert Einstein once said, “You can’t solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew.”
This doesn’t mean you sit around and do nothing of course, if you’re inspired to help someone in need, please do so. Let your inner knowing be your guide. A good rule of thumb is, if it feels good and right to you to do, then you are meant to do it. If it feels bad or wrong to you, then you need to reexamine exactly what and why you are doing what you are doing. You may just need to look at your circumstances (or your world) anew and make the changes within yourself that you wish to see.
Practical Tips for Keeping Peaceful in a Storm
1. “Defense is the first act of war,” if you truly want to help, do so with a clear mind and no agenda.
2. If you’re triggered by some event out in the world remember that even people doing things that seem evil, are just like us, only a bit confused or out of alignment, judgment only serves to hurt yourself.
3. If you’re triggered by anything, lets say a post on Facebook you find offensive or wrong, by all means remove it from your feed or hide it from your friend’s feed, unfriend if need be or if that same “friend” continues to trigger you. But before you do, find out why it triggers you. Just because you remove the one trigger doesn’t mean someone else will not gladly find that same thing to trigger in you — at least until you let it go.
4. Pick up one of Byron Katie’s books and do your own work of questioning your thoughts (learn how to be “trigger-free.”)
5. Get a mind/body/energy tune up. Though you may think this is all in your mind, you’ll find that the emotions and body become involved as well. If you’re feeling out of balance in your emotional or physical body, come in for a tune up. We offer a free 15 min consult for new or returning clients who are interested in this type of work but aren’t quite sure of what to expect. Contact Tara for more details.
Hope to feel your energy radiating near us soon!