Be Mindful of Fear Based Beliefs Used In Politics
If you are afraid your nervous system shifts to a fight/flight/freeze response and this puts your mind in the same type of thinking. You are in a mindset trying to protect your self, whether something is a real issue or imagined. You see threats, or imagine threats even when they do not exist. We have learned to trust our gut and so we take our emotions as reality. This means we are more likely to see imagined threats as real, and real issues that are small in exaggerated danger. We do not feel safe and we seek safety. Seeking safety means building walls, or attacking threats, the press, the other party whether real or
Our mind seeks to create a congruent world. We want things to make sense in a rational way that includes our emotions. When we have a gut response, the rational circuit in our brain makes a belief that explains our feelings and justifies it with something. Most likely it will use a justification from the world outside. We feel fear and our mind builds an explanation so the reason for our fear is connected to something. Our mind builds thoughts about the world being an unsafe place, people being dangerous, and justifies that we should fear them. An extreme example of this is a person that is paranoid. They are overwhelmed with fear, and they see threats and danger everywhere. In this extreme case the disconnect between their beliefs of the world and the real world are obvious. In milder cases of fear this separation takes more effort. In most cases we don’t even look for it. We look outside and see people as threats and say that is why we are afraid. In politics the culprit is from another country or religion, or the other party. The person appears in our mind and we say it is the source of our fear, yet the opposite may have happened. We had fear on the inside, and then our mind built a story about someone outside and used it to justify our fear.
Why look for questions when we feel confident about our belief?
There is no reason to check a fearful belief when it seems so certain to be true. We have a belief in our head congruent with our emotions about why we are afraid, and it seems connected, but we can no longer tell which order it came in. We can no longer tell if it is true. The fearful picture in our mind is assumed correct, it fits with our gut feeling, and makes it difficult to see if reality is different.
At that point it seems unnecessary to be skeptical. The way we feel matches the way we think so we feel confident in our explanation. There is nothing to question here. Yet this is the time it is most critical to be mindful of thought and emotions.
Questioning a Fear Based Belief Takes Time
Questioning our fears and beliefs take time. We must quietly sit, ask questions, and pursue other avenues of possibility. We have to will our imagination to other points of view, explanations, and emotional states. This is hard, particularly when we are afraid. When we are in fear, we are in a fight or flight mode and our primal instinct is to act with urgency. There doesn’t seem time to sit and evaluate our beliefs or consider other sources for our emotions. But if we wait until after we act it will be too late to reconsider.
Questioning Our Beliefs Takes Will Power
It takes will power to override our primal survival emotional response. Fear subjugates our will power and directs our energy to come up with a plan for safety. We must flee, or we must fight. In today’s political world flight takes the form of isolationism. We build walls with our neighbors, cancel trade agreements and replace them with tariffs. Fear becomes the architectural approach for our foreign relationships. Yet fear isn’t a healthy emotional basis for any relationship.
When our fear is not busy planning on isolating our self, it goes into fight mode. It pushes our mind to seek ways to attack anyone that might hurt us or even just limit our freedoms. Those people it imagined as threats, or anyone that can be imagined as threatening us, seems reason enough to attack them. We go on drone strikes, build walls, or invade a dictator nation thousands of miles away. Were they a threat, or did we just imagine them to be? The will power to question your beliefs and appropriateness of your actions may take less power then sending in the military or building a wall.
We fear what they might do in the future and so there is a rush to attack them before anything has happened. We imagine being attacked and feel we can’t wait. The only violence against us was what we imagined in our mind. Our mind is the source of fear. Most often, our mind is where the violence is happening. It is there that we must prevent the chaotic attack of fear, not outside. Yet our mind then deceives us by suggesting someone else in the future is the perpetrator. It is a deception of time frame, and of responsibility. If we are mindful we can notice.
We falsely believe our mind is predicting the future. We invade and attack with drones as a response to the fear in our imagination. We become the creators of real violence and real death in an effort to protect us from our imagined scenarios. What will protect us from the fear running amok in our imagination and causing us to react unnecessarily?
Afterwards we say we did it for protection of our people, but if we look closer we might find that fear made us do it.
Do we have time and attention to notice the fear that is driving our behaviors and how others are being treated? Yes, but we have to make ourselves take that time. Our time, attention, and will power is under the tempting influence of fear and the fight and flight strategies it pursues. If you want to solve violence in the world, in your neighborhood, or even an argument with your spouse, then you will need to address emotions and what goes on in our imagination. Building schools, education, health care, and a healthy economy will help, but even countries with all of those things are susceptible to fear as a source of violence.
What path are you on?
You might not be afraid of other countries, or people in other countries. Perhaps you are afraid of the other political party, their ideology, or candidate, and what policies they might enact or repeal. Whatever the justification for the source, fear is still inside you, and that is your fear to deal with. It is not the change in policy or the candidate that makes you afraid. Fear is your creation, and your response to what you believe about the issue. If it was the candidate or policy that created your fear, then everyone would have the same fear. Each person responds with their own emotion because of how their beliefs interpret what is going on. Your emotional response is because of you.
No one can take on that challenge inside of you but you. The stakes might not be so violent as life and death as in some cases with the world, but still, you don’t need to serve fear. Sometimes you may still need to take action on issues, but do so wisely, not blindly by allowing fear to obscure your vision. You can be without fear, and still act. There may be dangers in the world, but there are fewer than the ones that show up in your imagination. In a clear mind you can take actions and have positions, without the fear. If you really want a or change, fight the fear inside you as much, or more, than you fight others.
When you become adept at changing what emotion, thoughts, and beliefs go on in your own mind, you will be better at changing others. If you can not change the fear, thoughts and beliefs in your own mind, then you will not be very skilled at changing anyone else’s.