Ojai Valley Guide Summer 2020

Page 61



“The enemy is fear. We think that it’s hate, but it’s fear.” ...Gandhi


’ve gotten pretty obsessed with fear over the last few years. I grew up with bomb shelters and “duck and cover” (no one back then thought this was traumatic or would create any long-lasting impact). The vision of the mushroom cloud seeped into dreams and decisions and led to everyone on our block—except us—having a bomb shelter for the annihilation we expected to happen any moment. Over my seven decades on our planet I’ve learned that fear lies at the bottom of all unresolved issues. I’d like you to consider that fear keeps you from being able to discern your path in life, from tuning in to and following what gives you joy.Fear prevents you from actually being responsable, participating with life as a capable, whole being. Here’s just one example of the daily fear dose. CNN now has a Fear and Greed Index (www.money.cnn.com/ data/fear-and-greed/), and they say “Investors are driven by two emotions: fear and greed.” You’ll hear fear mentioned in every newspaper and on every news station many times a day. The overwhelming pace and escalation of bad news and the unknown factors of the Covid-19 crisis keep most people in a constant state of stress/fear/ contraction.


I’ve been wondering if most of the world has currently fallen into a fear trance, and I have gotten very curious about what we can do to restore our resilience, responseability and the direct joy of being alive. There are two major problems inside of the fear state. When you’re scared you can’t actually think. We tend to recycle survival thoughts and escalate adrenaline (through blaming, self-criticism, attacking) as a non-renewable fuel source. You can’t use your prefrontal cortex to solve problems or even see them. You can’t access your limbic brain to connect or give and receive the essential human nutrient of attention. You land smack in the reptilian world in your brain stem where “othering” begins. Fear changes our relationships. When you get scared, your brain disconnects you from other humans. Others then look foreign, becoming the enemy. Your fear self can treat other people as objects and obstacles because you don’t feel a heart connection with them or even recognize them as human. Over time, fear turns to contempt and justifies violence. Us vs. Them. Fear fuels propaganda, labeling,