We live in a culture of fear, and the reason is really quite simple. We live in a culture of fear because we choose to be afraid. What do we choose to be afraid of? We are afraid of change. Sure, we can nuance what we are afraid of and convince ourselves that we aren’t really afraid of change, we are afraid of losing something – but isn’t losing something change, no matter what it is we are losing? We could protest that we are afraid of danger, but what is danger but a perceived change from safety? We could be afraid of losing our job, or our house, or our relationships, or any of a number of other things – but isn’t losing something change?
The Occupy Movement, for example, was afraid of the economic crisis and the truth that the rich are getting richer and the rest of us are getting poorer. When they protested this fact, the powers that be were afraid of losing their power (again, change) and so they sought to stop the demonstrators. They had the police beat them, pepper spray them, shoot them, and all kind of violent interventions. The police complied because they were afraid of losing their jobs – which would be change.
Institutional Religion has been so afraid to change that it has lost most of its members, who after changing themselves found they didn’t get much benefit from the Church. The Church tended to respond by trying to turn back the clock through doctrine, dogma, excommunication, and pious declaration. They reasoned that change had created the problem, and if they could just return to a time before change occurred then people would have to return. When that didn’t work, they condemned them. It became a vicious cycle, no matter the denomination in question.
We age. We don’t “feel old” in terms of our mind, but our bodies reveal the truth through wrinkles, aches and pains, fatigue, illness and injury. An entire industry has sprung up around our perceived need to convince ourselves that we aren’t getting older (changing), from cosmetics to Yoga centers to plastic surgery. None of those “interventions” stops us from aging, however. At best they cover up the evidence.
Advertisers convince us that we “need” the products they offer in order to be happy, that without those things we will become miserable (change). Sooner or later, we learn that those external things don’t impact our happiness at all, and so we buy more. Now it becomes especially important that our financial status doesn’t change or we won’t be able to afford all of our temporary fixes of pseudo-happiness.
Imagine what would happen if we all learned to be content with whatever happened? Imagine if we loved ourselves enough and believed in ourselves enough that if we lost everything we would be just fine. In truth, that’s the point of the spiritual journey – we need to arrive at the place where it’s just going to be OK, where we don’t have to live in fear, and we can just let go into what is. From this vantage point everything is grist for the mill, everything potentially contributes to our awakening, and both fear and the anger that springs forth from it become a thing of the past. There will probably always be some people who won’t be willing to take the leap into fullness of life, but that’s no reason for you not to start.