There’s a big bowl of suckers and chocolate candies still on the table by the front door. It’s the lingering evidence of Halloween in the rear view mirror and a diminishing number of costumed tricksters come a-knocking. There was very little hell raising in our neighborhood this year.
Halloween is one of the few excuses children have to play in the dark and get rewarded for it. Sometimes I think we adults could learn a thing or two from being more authentic about playing out the shadow side of our lives. In fact, it seems to me that raising hell could be the way we raise what’s hidden in the dark and bring it to the light.
Spiritually speaking, shadow work is where we find the rich fodder for personal growth and spiritual deepening. And dealing with our fear may be the greatest gift toward global transformation.
Ernest Holmes once wrote, “To overcome fear is the greatest adventure of the human mind.” He emphasized a way of life that embraces Divine Fearlessness, holding a singleness of purpose so firm in mind that we are determined to align our thoughts to the thoughts of God. To do this is a great adventure.
An adventure is a voyage, a journey, an exploration. It’s about living our lives awake and inquisitively, studying and learning and looking deeply into matters of the soul. We are very much the explorers of Truth, uncovering our own understanding of things unseen yet felt. We somehow seem to sense that which is greater and beckons us forward even while we can’t always find our way there.
Recently I had a scary dream and woke with my heart racing and my head pounding, only to realize it was just a dream. But there’s that time it takes to become fully awake before we can calm ourselves down. I think that’s where we are now, less than a week before the most interesting presidential election in history. (I use the word interesting to imply curious or peculiar rather than a pleasurable interest.)
It feels like we’re in the middle of bad dream and we can’t quite shake it off. There’s a reason for that. Social psychologists are pulling great research from social media, especially Twitter and Facebook. Those who sell the news already know that fear spreads wider and faster than other types of information. But a computer scientist from USC, Emilio Ferrara, has gathered some fascinating data.
Ferraro wrote a program that can mine conversations on social media and can analyze emotional sentiment. In 2014 researchers involved with the project had an impressive opportunity to follow the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. On September 30, they noticed an unprecedented surge of data flowing into the system, and determined that CNN had broken the news through a Twitter feed that the first case of Ebola had reached the U.S. Within days, hysteria set in. Within one month a Gallup poll showed that Americans believed Ebola was the third biggest health concern in the country. One in six Americans believed Ebola was the nation’s greatest health problem, even though the CDC had only confirmed 4 cases in the entire country.
The spread of fear was pandemic and pervasive. Scientists call it emotional contagion and they explain how these misperceptions propagate: When we read fear-rich tweets or posts or news articles, or when we view videos of the same, our bodies respond to the fear as a threat. This triggers a physical response in the body as if it were real and our conscious, thinking mind doesn’t have a chance to reason it through. Because we feel threatened we’re more likely to believe that we are threatened. And then, before we evaluate the level of truth in the post or video, we’re quick to share it or pass it along. Re-tweets and Facebook shares which are fear-rich are posted twice as fast as neutral information and, sadly, twice as fast as positive information too.
We know now that what you give power to, has power over you! But hear these encouraging words of Marie Curie: “Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” How strongly I feel this to be true. NOW IS THE TIME TO UNDERSTAND MORE, so that we may fear less!
This year has been fear-rich in terms of the 2016 Presidential election, and we are witnessing, even experiencing, stress contagion. It’s time for us to wake up and shake off the dream and return to love. Perfect Love casts off fear.
Let us join together to raise hell and pull the demons into the light so that we might individually see that everything looks different in the Light. Things are clearer and less scary when they’re not left in the dark. Let us bring our own minds out of the hellish dream and back to a greater Truth. Right where we are is a greater wisdom, immense possibility and divine Grace. Where will you put your faith?
I do believe, as has been said before, that it’s time for us to see it takes both a right wing and a left wing to fly above the hellish games we play.
Let us soar together and return to love.
And by the way, my prediction is that on Wednesday after the polls have closed and the scandalous accusations continue, it will be a lot like Y2K… we can drain the water out of the bath tub and get on with life!