A few thoughts on fear

Here’s the thing: fear is a survival response, and when the thing we are feeling fear towards is a legitimate threat to our survival, fear is not a life-diminishing force, but a guiding light to be followed.

When we accuse an idea or a person or a teaching of being fear-based (and scorn it for that), we’re usually implying that there’s not actually anything to be afraid of, that this supposedly fear-inspiring thing is not actually a threat to our survival. So of course (as an extreme example) when r-w pundits tell their followers that the gov-t is coming for their guns, that’s an attempt to generate fear where there’s no real threat.

But when there IS a real threat to survival - as there is right now, if not immediately to you, to elderly, disabled & immunocompromised people, to medical workers on the frontlines, and yah to YOU if ANYTHING happens to you two weeks from now when all the hospitals are overwhelmed - fear is an energy that will guide us in keeping ourselves alive.

We also need to understand the idea of the cultural soma, a concept I’ve been ingesting by working with Tada Hozumi the past two years. It’s similar to the collective energy field, but a bit different because it speaks to the inherent co-regulation of our individual nervous systems, and the co-regulation of all sizes of groups within the wider collective.

(I’m usually speaking about the American cultural soma, tho obviously the idea is widely applicable. Every situation is a little different. I do feel there’s a unique manifestation of the American cultural soma right now that sets us apart from Canada, because of the incompetency of our federal government and the shortcomings of our healthcare system.)

There’s a fear response in the cultural soma, and it’s a legitimate one. And I’ll say it again, if you’re not feeling it—you’re numb.

Do you have to be feeling fear all day long, constantly? No, of course not—self-regulation for the most part is a responsibility.

But should you be feeling it sometimes? Should you be tapping into it for guidance? YES, because you can’t escape the fact that you’re part of the whole.

One thing I’ve noticed about people who claim not to be feeling fear right now is that they’re not really keeping up with the news.

If you’re privileged/lucky enough not to be worried about paying rent in a week; to have no loved ones whose life situation and health condition puts them at high risk of serious illness; and to somehow be away from the lockdown conditions that have most people on edge… then maybe you should gather up some courage and go read about some of the really scary stuff.

Read about the medical workers who are already running out of protective gear, doing intubations on suspected coronavirus patients with no masks or eyewear.

Read about the doctors and hospitals here (and around the world) planning for wartime-like triage conditions in which they have to decide who lives and who dies.

Read about the millions of kids who could go hungry because their parents depend on school lunches to feed them.

Go feel their fear, because it’s yours too. Don’t be in denial of that. For many folks fear is completely dominating their consciousness—they can’t even get out of it. If fear is NOT dominating your consciousness right now, you have an even greater responsibility to face reality fully.

Plus, it’s likely your suppressed fear that creates your resistance. It’s not courageous to stay ignorant, in your own bubble, or down an unembodied rabbit hole of conspiracy theories. What’s courageous is to honor your interconnectedness with the whole by proactively educating yourself about the reality in this moment.

There is a legitimate threat to the cultural soma right now. We should be feeling fear.

We should be moving it through, dancing with it, yes—we should not place our entire sense of identity on it.

But we should be feeling it. Honoring it. Even praising it, because it is hundreds of millions of years older than us, because it has brought us to this point, because it is holy, because it has kept us alive. We should be asking what it wants from us, not denying its existence.

We should be listening. We will need fear’s wisdom if we’re going to survive.

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