Here we are in February already! We are well into the year that some have predicted will involve the end of the world!
I recently saw a comic strip showing the guy who created the Mayan calendar responding to a companion by saying something like, I just ran out of space…
We seem to have an amazing ability to orient to fear. Perhaps the world is ending this year, but what if he really did just run out of room on the rock and we have thousands more years coming? Or what if we are run over by a car tomorrow, and we miss the whole ordeal, if there is one…
We can always find something to be afraid of or worried about. Sometimes that is easier than other times.
What if the meaning of the end of the world was really the end of the world as we know it? Or the end of our perceptual habits as we know them? What if the stars or the elements, or whatever it is that influences us, were particularly aligned at this time to facilitate a shift in perception?
Living From The Heart
Back in the 80s, I found some intuitive teachings coming through me. They instructed us about orienting to love rather than fear. I called my work at that time, Living From the Heart. This is still important to me. What can be more of a priority than love?
Our cultural tendency in the modern western world is to make fear the utmost priority. Countries create armies and security systems based on fear of attack. Lovers (and others) act out relational strategies based on fear of rejection. Education focuses on learning facts from the past out of fear of reliving it. Who teaches us to live from our hearts, in love?
Research in the field of Pre- and Perinatal Psychology demonstrates the essential nature of love in our development. Babies who are not held lovingly do not flourish. They may even die, like infants in over-populated orphanages.
As a teenager I volunteered at a New York state institution for the retarded called Letchworth Village. Usually, a group of us from my school were in the activity room with the high functioning adults. One day when we arrived, the doors to the activity room were locked. We were told that the woman in charge was home sick. We were asked to spend some time with the babies, and were ushered into a room filled with wall-to-wall cribs. We were asked to choose a baby and play.
The scene was shocking. I didn’t know where to begin. The babies were rocking, smashing their little heads into the bars of the cribs, or lying motionless. We were their only stimulation, their only human contact, except for when they were fed or changed.
I found myself finally drawn to a little girl who sat rocking herself. I tried to find ways to reach her. I now know it was much too late for a stranger to have any hope of touching a child so wounded in one short visit. I was particularly ill-equipped because of my own history having left me being quite dissociated from my body.
The little girl I tried to be with was well locked away within her fortress. Her walls were up. Her gates were shut. I now understand that a child with so little human contact and no love lacks the human reflection necessary for developing and organizing her nervous system. Many children deprived of maternal contact when little develop sensory integration problems. They have missed the reference point they needed as little ones, and that we all need to some extent throughout our lives. Love. Without love, they cannot organize the sensory input coming at them. They become easily overwhelmed. Often, they shut down in reaction.
Fear and Isolation
If love is so important, how do we become such fear-oriented beings? Actually, I would argue that it is not our beings that orient to fear; it is the self structure built on top of our being, to protect it.
Within the orientation of fear, we focus on fear. We are on constant alert for danger. Hyper-vigilance takes over our nervous system. Or we shut down and dissociate, living in denial of our pain or even of the real dangers around us. In this state, we are not just protected from pain; we also cannot sense or perceive love.
Fear is an isolative state. We divide our minds, our bodies, our experiences into separate containers, as if to avoid contamination. Modern education is a good example of this. Classes in maths are often taught in isolation without reference to what is being taught in science or social studies or language arts. Children take in unrelated information, without reference to context or relationship. We live that way. Our houses separate neighbors from each other, each family being in isolation. Nations make it difficult to cross their borders, reducing the degree of familiarity we have with each other.
Electronics is to some extent reversing this isolative tendency through the internet, mobile phones, etc., while reinforcing it in other ways. Many young people these days spend more time texting their friends than actually being in the same room as them. The social nervous system, including our faces, senses, and abilities to communicate and cooperate, is relegated to the background, while the electronics we communicate with speed us up. We are stimulated into a persistent fight-flight mode until we collapse or are overwhelmed into dissociation, shock or sleep. Our bodies are tense or uninhabited. Our minds follow suit.
Love Is Now
If we are not present in our bodies or in each moment, we have reason for fear. Love, on the other hand, is about presence in each moment. Fear is generally about what could happen in the future based on experience from the past. Love is about this moment.
If I spend my time fearing that I will lose those I love, I will miss out on being together with them, sharing the love. The run of deaths I wrote about in my last blog entry has underlined this for me. I can easily be drawn into grieving the loss of my mother, even while she is still here to be with. Each time I pull myself back to the love I know, that is always there under or beyond the fear, I find my mother again in my heart and appreciate that I can still speak to her on the phone.
Love and appreciation are closely linked. Gratitude is in the same family. Research from the Heartmaths Institute (www.heartmaths.org) shows how our heart function is affected by simple moments of appreciation, gratitude or caring vs. anger or complaints.
Gratitude is always available. Focusing on fear and on what we would rather avoid is simply habit. It is not that life is all fun and pleasant, but there is always something to appreciate or feel grateful for. All we need to do is look. I can complain that my mother is ill in hospital so soon after having lost my father, and that it is all too much too soon, or I can appreciate that the hospital staff are taking good care of her, that she is safe, that she is healthier than she was a few weeks ago.
When we shift our orientation from fear to love, our perception also shifts. Cell biologist Bruce Lipton presents a wonderful slide show demonstration of this. He uses red and green filters for his slides. Depending on which the audience focuses on, different messages and images appear. We can see through the lenses of fear or of love, each producing different perceptions.
So, what is 2012 about for you? What does the end of the world actually mean? Perhaps, it means an end to living in fear. Perhaps, it offers a deepening into living in love.
We die in small ways every moment. Skin cells are rubbed away. Thoughts vanish. Our bodies change constantly, meaning that old skins are shed and a new self can emerge. If we keep reverting to our old way of being, we miss the chance to start anew.
Every moment offers the end of the world. Every moment offers a new beginning. What is your choice? Is it time to die? Is it time to be born?
What if we look at this moment, this 2012 moment, as a birthday. My old age has died. I now live in a new one. Happy Birthday everyone! Welcome to this moment.