There’s a whole lotta fear in our society today. There is the fear of the scary “other” political candidate who we have to prevent from being elected. There is the fear of violence, of war, of economic insecurity, of health problems, job security, and so much more. It’s not that this is new; it’s just that it seems to be culminating to a fevered pitch, which is why I’ve decided to step off the fear train.
The fear train has many cars and can accommodate as many who wish to board it. The fear train is free to ride, or at least it seems that way at the time we get on board. The only requirement for riding along is that we have to subscribe to a belief system that generates heaping doses of continual fear, which is where the hidden cost of riding the train is born.
It doesn’t matter which candidate you support, or whether you believe black lives matter or the police matter. It doesn’t matter if you feel we need to spend half a trillion dollars a year on the military to keep us safe, or if you feel a bloated military presence across the globe makes us less safe. It doesn’t matter whether you feel that abortion is murder, or that a woman should have the right to choose. It doesn’t matter if you believe that Trump is a fascist or Clinton a criminal. It doesn’t even matter if you feel that we are a Christian country or one founded on religious diversity, or whether Obama is a Muslim or a Christian.
The only thing that matters is that so long as we’re on the fear train, we’re not thinking clearly and we’re not moving into a place of compassion and understanding. The belief system that gains us entry to the non-exclusive train ride is that whatever we believe, the other side is wrong. Which also means we’re right.
Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Indigenous religions all share important attributes in common. They all hold, at their core, the need for humanity to be loving and kind to one another.
Polarized black and white thinking is what gains us entry to the fear train and clouds our minds to the need for compassion. Even many of my friends who have dedicated their lives to continual personal development are in fear right now. It’s so easy to jump on the fear train, after all, fear is all around us. No matter what you believe, if you take it to the extreme you’ll be in fear.
Stepping off the fear train doesn’t mean you become a moderate, a social capitalist, or a disinterested bystander. On the contrary, when we step off the fear train we become liberated to speak our truth and let go of the outcome, to take action with clarity, and most important of all, we can have empathy for those who possess beliefs contrary to our. We can see them as our brothers and sisters. We can engage with them respectfully and truly listen to them.
It’s a simple choice (perhaps easier said than done) but a choice nonetheless. Do we step on the train or off?