The fact that you’re afraid of it
doesn’t mean it exists.
If you stand in a brightly-lit room, and look into a dark room, you won’t be able to see what’s really in there. You will see, instead, whatever you imagine; if you choose to be afraid, you’ll see things to be afraid of. And the more afraid you become of them, or alternatively the more you hate them, the more vivid the images become, the more real they appear — even though they don’t exist at all.
This is the bogeyman, and where the bogeyman lives.
Black bigots preoccupy themselves with reacting against a wildly exaggerated notion of racism, magnified in their imaginations into a much greater problem than it really is. Social justice warriors exhaust themselves seeking to destroy a “System” that, as far as I can tell, doesn’t exist.
Some people get real upset if I don’t fear and hate the same bogeyman they do. On Facebook:
- a church member un-Friended me because I don’t hate Trump enough.
- a high school classmate un-Friended me because I don’t hate Muslims.
- a former student blocked me because I wouldn’t watch a video claiming vaccination is a plot to destroy black boys.
I am wondering how and why people choose to live in fear.
Pretexts for grief
The single greatest error in the commonplace worldview may be this: “Everything happens for a reason” — specifically as that applies to one’s emotions. There is the assumption that one is happy about some situation, angry because of some situation, that some situation has made one feel this way.
If the practice of meditation has taught me anything conclusively, it’s that feelings come and go as changeably as the wind, and generally with no more reason than the wind. This goes on throughout the day.
A spell of grief — anger, sadness, or fear — may come on. The emotional state comes on first. Afterwards, if one subscribes to the commonplace worldview, one may begin searching the cosmos with one’s mind, to find some reason for that state; whereas it’s actually not a reason, but an excuse. With all that is amiss in the world, there is always some excuse available to find. Racial injustice always has been, and as far as I can tell always will be, available. I am sensitive to reports of child abuse.
If one finds an excuse one can believe in, one can fixate on that combination — those feelings, attached to that thought — indefinitely. One instant can derail me for minutes, hours, days, weeks or months.
If one doesn’t find one, one can create, imagine one. These excuses are often lies.
We all do this.
Physical pain that one may not even be aware of, can pull one off-center. Currently, with the difficulty in my left knee, standing in the supper line at the shelter is a daily ordeal, and I am at pains to keep from snapping at the person next to me.
Related: The wandering will
The solution is two-fold: (1) accept and abide the feeling as it is, pure emotion without thought. (2) Bring your attention back to the present, to the here and now. There’s a reason one has to search the cosmos for an excuse for upset: it is very rare for anything to be happening here and now that one deserves to be upset about. The excuse almost always has to do with something out of your hands, literally out of reach, something you can’t do anything about. Here – Now – Can: that is where to focus your attention.
Fear of uncertainty
The desire for certainty may be the strongest of human motivations. It’s part of the reason for the belief that “Everything happens for a reason:” it’s unsettling to us to suppose that anything happens by mere happenstance. We want there to be order in the world and there is — in the physical world, and the spiritual world, too.
But that does not save us from frustration, injustice and disappointment. We don’t like that; and there are other features of What Is that we most likely will not like.
Related: Forgiving the cosmos
So folk search for something other than What Is, about which one can presume to be absolutely certain. And that certainty can be enough to make acceptable all the other uncertainty one meets in life.
Ideology, whether of the left or of the right, proposes that “They’re wrong” — whoever “they” are. A bogeyman. In Nazi Germany, the bogeyman was Jews.
Related: Transference, BLM and anti-Semitism
Fear of a better life
Here I must confront myself.
I have seen in the past few months that, given a shift in consciousness, a better life is available to me. The physical world hasn’t changed — yet — but the way I see it and deal with it has and can change. Options I never would have thought possible before, seem realistic.
But my ways will have to change, in ways I can’t yet see. Certainty is unavailable. This can be scary, and the change hard.
“Better the devil you know, than the devil you don’t know.”
Black fear of a better life wrecked the civil rights movement.
Imagine a world where
- I have no enemies.
- There is no danger.
- I will still fall down, but but take those events in stride and get right back up again.
- I seek and see only the best in everyone I meet — and therefore get the best responses from them.
- I no longer sabotage myself.
- Practically nothing can offend me.
- I will use my best judgment, and so choose the best — and obtain it.
A world with no bogeyman.