Whether it’s a bombing in Brussels, the threat of deportation for undocumented immigrants, the prospect of further encroachment of women’s, gay or minority rights, or just the possibility of a bully becoming president, there’s lots to fear these days. But there has always been a lot to fear. Life is a struggle, and the fight for a sane and compassionate world has always been fraught with difficulty. The difference between today and the past is that the threats of our times are now all over the news, all over social media and in our faces.
Life has always been challenging. Can you imagine the lives of Black people in the South facing segregation and lynching before the Civil Rights movement? The torment of gays during the not-so-distant past when being homosexual was illegal? The constant threat of police or gang violence in our own neighborhoods, which still occurs? And the reality of abuse of women all over the world? Not to speak of so many other things, such as the fear of factory-farmed animals going to slaughter?
There is and always has been lots to fear in life – including the constant threat of disability, death, unemployment or emotional loss. The question is not whether or not life is going to be easy and secure. It’s how we meet our fears.
It may be seductive to think that we can withdraw from the world and avoid facing fearful situations. We can get lost in a bottle of wine, a sexual encounter or the never-ending effort to shop ourselves into oblivion. But violence will continue to exist and so will our own demons.
When we begin to stand up and speak about what we see, we shed the passivity and escapism that many of us have used as a refuge. But passivity isn’t a refuge. As we now realize, we can be on vacation at an island paradise and a bomber can blow a hole through the resort. We can escape into the Ivory Tower and have a disturbed person create a rampage of blood right at our school.
External threats will continue, no matter where we go. We are all connected through highways, airplanes and even the internet. But beyond that, we cannot escape ourselves and how we feel about ourselves. If we give into fear or self-indulgence, if we avoid doing that which our conscience demands, we hurt ourselves at least as much as any armed gun person could, because we add self-contempt to the long list of negative emotions that engulf our sense of ourselves.
Today many of us are feeling more fear, but that is because we are out of denial. But coming out of denial, we are now also more empowered to be more in charge of our world. We are inspired to act. And as we feel inspired to act, some of us are finally breaking through our old “safety” patterns that only appear to have kept us safe. Breaking our own internal patterns can create fear. Now awakened, we begin to stand up and fight for the good, which triggers our inner fears, as our egos scream to us to take cover again.
But we can’t go back. Reality cannot be denied. We cannot stay asleep anymore, and we need to face the fear of our standing up for something. Only then will we feel the surge of self-love and self-respect that come from doing the right thing. The only thing worse than Hitler was the way we felt about ourselves for failing to stand up to him and the consciousness he represented.
Denial and passivity are no longer viable options. Reality has made sure of that. But beyond that, awakening is an amazing experience carrying untold benefits. And those benefits go way beyond just self-respect. When more and more of us wake up, then more and more of us can stand together and feel the strength of collective action. For those who have not had the exhilarating experience of standing FOR something and working with others, imagine yourselves marching with millions of people down the streets of human consciousness. It transforms us from isolated, trembling creatures to fully self-expressed individuals within the context of Oneness, who feel the power of our collective potential.
Our deepest self is a fighter for justice, not just for ourselves, but for all. Don’t let fear divide you from your deepest self. Let’s join together, hug, laugh and just keep going.
Beth Green is founder of TheInnerRevolution.Org, host of Inner Revolutionary Radio on VoiceAmerica.com and creator of Beth Green TV & Radio on YouTube. You can download a free version of Beth’s book Living with Reality at www.theinnerrevolution.org. And follow us on Facebook where we’re building an online community of people who are joining together to face our fears and fight for justice.