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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Fear, Terror & Hatred



While today's terrorist attacks in Brussels are no longer something the world is unaccustomed to, they nevertheless make us edgy, and create - in so many - strong emotions of fear, terror, and hatred. My last post on this blog was titled: "Do You Know What to Ignore In Order to Find Peace?", but today's post is not so much to encourage you to ignore what is happening, as much as to recognize that if you want to continue to remain in an inner state of harmony, despite what is happening, you need to find a way to deal with your thoughts. Here - on this blog - I've often talked about mindfulness as being a method that can be easily learned to do just that.

Jon Kabat-Zinn who is essentially responsible for having introduced the West to mindfulness thanks to Thich Nhat Hanh offers much information about the topic. You can look on his website or listen to any of the numerous video clips he has on the web.

However, if you want to get started right now ... today ... here is something very simple you can do. It goes to becoming the one who is charge of your thoughts (and hence your emotions), as opposed to being ruled by your thoughts (and hence your emotions), try this: make the decision that beginning today, and at least for the next three weeks (to give yourself a chance to see how you feel), you will take a daily 15-minute walk. Try to do it in a beautiful area (or a park), where there is not too much foot traffic to distract you. Your goal over the course of the 15 minutes is to focus on a beautiful thing - preferably in nature - appreciate its beauty, then feel gratitude for its presence in your life just for now, and move on to the next beautiful thing. Repeat the same procedure, and continue doing this for the 15 minutes. At the end of this time, as you take stock of what you just did, you will realize you may have noticed 4-6 beautiful things, but then your mind probably took off on its own agenda, and delved into whatever you habitually think, stress, or worry about.

Don't worry about it. Just do it again tomorrow. You'll manage a few more things before you drift off. And then the next day, and the next, and so on. The practice starts a process in your brain that serves to keep you in the present moment, as opposed to being off in the past or future. New neural pathways are created in your prefrontal cortex as you do this. At the end of three weeks, you will realize how much you look forward to the walk, and how much at peace you feel while you do it - even if the circumstances of your life at this time are not optimal.

There is much material on this blog to help you continue in this direction. But remember: terrorists have taken another strike in another capital. They have killed and maimed. Don't add your own inner negativity to the already high level of negativity in the world. Fear, terror, and hatred - even if you would never do anything to harm another - do add to what is not good in the world. Manage your thoughts. Manage your feelings, and you will be of much greater use to others than if your thoughts and feelings are running amok.

This is a choice. Choose well.



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