Hi. What a weekend it’s been here in the United States. It was hard on my heart to see refugees and others being denied access to come here. It felt like my country was closing off its heart. At the same time, it was wonderful to see so many people rise to the occasion to protest the Trump administration’s travel ban. I think it was also hard on the people’s hearts who protested and that’s why they spoke up.
The travel ban came from fear. Fear can make us close off our hearts. By cutting ourselves off from others, we may think it’s to make us safer, but we suffer. We can never feel safe enough by putting up walls. That’s because deep down we are living with fear. The fear is in us. We may think it’s coming from the others, but the fear is in our hearts. We can never feel safe until we open our hearts back up.
One of the greatest quotes came from President Franklin Roosevelt who said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” He wasn’t speaking of a natural fear that happens when we are in actual danger in the moment. Like when a barking dog suddenly jumps at us. Natural fear is your body and mind telling you what to do to protect yourself from something that is happening to you in the moment. The fear that creates suffering is imagined fear. It’s the mind saying, “What if ______ were to happen me?” It’s not actually happening. But the mind is a powerful instrument, and what is imagined can feel real. It’s a debilitating reaction because it’s not in the moment. That fear lasts over a long time. It wears us down and takes away our clarity. We close our hearts and minds in a protective reaction.
The fear that brought about the travel ban was created out of the terrible and painful memories of terrorist attacks: 9/11, the 2015 Paris attacks, the London subway bombings, and others. It’s understandable that a long term fear can manifest into protective actions. But, it won’t bring a true relief from the fear. The fear lives on in the reactive actions we have taken.
This is an opportunity for all of us to take a look around and ask, “Am I okay right now?” “In this moment, am I safe?” The mind may say, “Yes, but what if _____?” Or, “No, because _____ could happen.” That’s the fear talking. It’s worth taking a deeper and curious look at the fear. I suggest this for all of us because it’s the collective fear that needs to be healed for positive and life-supporting change to come. Looking within yourself with a kind eye has a healing effect on the collective soul. I’m including myself in the looking. I can feel some fear in my heart. I feel some relief by looking with tenderness.