"Spiritual development reduces your habitual fear buttons to a minimum level until they are eliminated altogether." - Gregge Tiffen (Revealing Habits – 2011)
Sometime early last year my coach and spiritual mentor posed a question and a challenge. “What are the threats dogging you that you need to remove?” ‘Threats? Who me? I’m fearless’ was my initial response.
As I reflected on her inquiry, I realized that I was allowing far too much input from our culture’s ‘fear factories’.
You most likely have (or can create) your own list of them. Mine includes politicians who warn of doom and dire consequences if their policies are not followed; ‘news’ media fixated on war, terrorism and crime with a good helping of bad economic news; the financial services industry’s persistent messages about ‘not having enough money for retirement’; an entire industry of marketers hawking products to make me look better, feel better, drive the right car, wear the right jeans, etc. so that I can know that I’m ‘enough’. And, just to be totally honest, there are those with whom I agree (the organic, non-GMO food folks, for example) who all too often play the fear card as well.
Fear factories insert themselves in our lives in ways that range from BOLD to subtle, always aiming to snatch our free will and impose their own, having us make choices in service to them.
One approach is to turn off the spigot, isolating oneself from such input. But for someone who’s curious about what goes on in the world, that didn’t seem like a good option. Besides, where’s the potential for personal growth in avoidance?
As I continued to reflect and observe, I noticed that I wasn’t countering input from the fear factories with the faith and trust that I’ve nurtured in my 40+ years exploring how the Universe works. Eureka!
That awareness alone countered my nagging (but mostly unconscious) concern that I’d end up a homeless bag-lady under a bridge. Even worse, bridges are few and far between here in the southern Rockies, so I might be bridgeless as well! While the shift seemed to happen in an instant, I realized that over time I’d developed a strong spiritual belief system, and that this foundation was the key to putting my habits of fear to rest.
Not allowing myself to be sucked in to the fear factories’ consistent cries for me to be fearful requires diligence. And, I continue to develop my capacity to nimbly and gently bring myself back to my foundation when the fear mongers’ voices touch a sensitive place inside.
Consciously or not, we are each on a spiritual journey. As I read the above quote earlier this week, I realize just how important and practical (at least for me) that journey is.