The psychological benefits of choosing love in the face of fear are profound. Especially so during times of darkness and division. This can be applied in our personal lives, but it can ripple outward and transform the community of people around us. Love is both vulnerability and the most powerful force in the universe. Learning how to direct this force for personal and global transformation literally has the potential to reshape our reality.
The Biology of Love and Fear
On a biological level, a cell has two basic functions: growth or protection. Sometimes a cell needs to close off and protect but prolonged time in a closed-system leads to illness and eventually death. The cell wants to grow, and that requires an open system. From an emotional perspective we experience growth as a feeling of love, and protection as a feeling of fear. Psychologically we often spend our time making decisions based on underlying emotions. Becoming conscious about if love or fear is motivating our choices is a very important way to to liberate ourselves and expand into new levels of growth.
We have the ability to re-write the patterns that exist within us and around us based on this conscious choice. When you view life through this lens it is easy to deduce the root of almost every action based on this binary juxtaposition. This is not to make one more important than the other, since fear has an important role to play in our lives as humans. However, fear unchecked leads to paranoia, delusion, more fear, prolonged state of closed system and ultimately illness, or death.
“In humans, the extremes of the two polarities might appropriately be described as LOVE (+) and FEAR (- ). Love fuels growth. In contrast, fear stunts growth.” -Bruce Lipton, Ph.D.
The emotional undertone beneath these two states starts internally, or biologically, but is also enacted externally in the way we live. This also has much to do with our belief systems as Lipton has shown through his work in the Biology of Belief. His research shows the clear relationship between what we believe and our biological health. We have to have the courage to choose love in the face of fear. Nobody says it is easy, but this is the choice we face.
Creating Safe Space
If the world feels unsafe to you, you can still cultivate safety within. This can be through a daily routine, meditation, a silent cup of tea while reflecting in the morning, or journaling. By allowing the feeling of safety to grow within us, our biology responds accordingly. We shift away from the fight-flight chemistry associated the stress hormones like cortisol and into a nurturing state of restoration, love, and peace. This gives us an internal compass to orient to when we face the darkness and division we face on a daily basis in our world.
Cortisol literally destroys brain cells in the area of the brain connected to emotional regulation and impulse control…(see short video above)
It is time to check our fears and choose to open up. Simply stated, we must believe that Love > Fear. If we can do this we will begin to send ripples in every direction around us. Love is contagious just like fear is, and it is up to us to shift the emotional state that underlies many of our decisions and interactions in the world.
Love and Fear on a Global Scale
On the Hopi Reservation in Arizona, high up in the painted desert, is a rock called Prophecy Rock. You don’t need to believe in prophecies in order to understand the simple and profound teaching etched into this ancient stone. According to their stories, there are two paths forward.
In the video, one path stays on the Earth where the people live in balance with natural systems (you can see a figure planting corn). The other reaches for the sky with steps leading upwards. The path leading upwards comes to an end, whereas the path on the ground wraps around the rock. The lower path symbolizes that a balanced life with nature will continue forever. This is the moment we have collectively reached as a species, the crossroads between a sustainable future, or one that will inevitably end catastrophically.
We have witnessed an increased number of extremes in both the forms of terrorism and weather. Political leaders are starting to recognize that warfare, religious extremism, and immigration are often rooted in scarcity of resources that will only increase with climate instability. With $1.6 trillion spent and the incidents of terrorism having increased 5-7 times since the start of the War On Terror, people are beginning to ask the tough questions.
“I was held hostage by Isis. They fear our unity more than our airstrikes” – Nicolas Hénin
Some political leaders choose to respond with a show of force after a terrorist attack. We saw this after the devastating attacks on 9-11 in the United States and again with the French response to the Paris Attacks. More bombing and violence does not stop the violence, it perpetuates it, while increasing the amount of refugees in a never-ending cycle. This is a fear cycle.
Yet not everyone responds this way. There is another option that allows us to stay open, to love, to trust. This path is lit by compassion, spiritual resilience, and understanding. This is nothing new as it is at the foundation of many religious and spiritual teachings. Now each of us are presented with an opportunity to live this wisdom for the betterment of ourselves and our future. This is a love cycle.
“The connection between warming temperatures and the cycle of Syrian violence is, by now, uncontroversial. As Secretary of State John Kerry said in Virginia, this month, “It’s not a coincidence that, immediately prior to the civil war in Syria, the country experienced its worst drought on record. As many as 1.5 million people migrated from Syria’s farms to its cities, intensifying the political unrest that was just beginning to roil and boil in the region.” -Why a Climate Deal is the Best Hope for Peace, BY JASON BOX AND NAOMI KLEIN
Politics and Climate Issues Converge
Terrorists, politicians, and corporate news media are asking us to stay bitterly divided and perpetuate the violence and fear. The environment is asking us to come together as one human family to address the balance of life on the planet. Each one of us has an opportunity to go within and ask ourselves what we choose. We can create something new using our higher wisdom and technology, or we can allow everything we cherish to fall into destruction and chaos. We are not passive observers, it is time to own our place within the unfolding of conscious evolution on this planet.
Every act of kindness, every community gathering is an opportunity to cast your vote and paint love upon the canvas of life. Globally synchronized meditations and conscious events are a form of subtle activism. Using internet map technology, organizations like Unify and others have successfully coordinated large global events to show solidarity, love and friendship across national and religious boundaries. The Dalai Lama recently made a very valid point when he reminded us that praying to God to help us through man-made problems may not be enough, we must act.
Violence is a reaction by short-sighted, out-of-control people. At 81, I believe it cannot be resolved through prayers or government help. We have to begin the change at individual level and then move on to neighborhood and society. We need a systematic approach to foster humanistic values, of oneness and harmony. If we start doing it now, there is hope that this century will be different from the previous one. It is in everybody’s interest. So let us work for peace within our families and society, and not expect help from God, Buddha or the governments.
-Dalai Lama’s response to Paris Attacks
We Are Choosing Our Future With Every Action
While meditation or prayer may clear our minds and center us for the spiritual resilience that will be required, it is going to take action. This action can come in the form of every interaction you have, every post you share on social media, and who you vote for in your nation, state, or local election. Continuously ask yourself, “Am I acting from a place of love or fear?” The choice is ours to make individually. A better world is possible, let’s create it together!
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