FMBR Editorial: Jan, 2005
While Caring About the World
Freda Morris Hedges, with a reader response
To mention the international situation and taking care of yourself in the same breath may be a touchy juxtaposition. If you feel guilty at the thought of putting self-care first during this historical low, see what you think of this proposition: If you are calm and relaxed, you can think more clearly, understand more accurately, communicate more effectively, and make wiser decisions about how to make the world a better place. I suspect this statement makes sense to you. Your question may be, how can anyone be calm and relaxed in the face of information about how bad things are? In what follows, I will present an idea that I hope will help with this question.
Quantum physics shows that vibration is the nature of everything in the physical universe from subnuclear particles to galaxies -- everything goes up and down or back and forth, repeatedly. In ordinary life, we see this with guitar strings, water waves, and the phases of the moon. Our thoughts and feelings are part of the universe, so why wouldn't they fluctuate too? Independent of quantum physics, we know from experience that they do. For example, our desires and fears affect our buying habits and this in turn influences fluctuations in the stock market. A fundamental quality of all things is that they come into being and pass away. They wax and then wane.
Let's look at this rhythm as it affects the world situation. If we consider world mood, we easily see a vibratory pattern. The general populace seems to be unhappy for years and then eventually cheers up. The mood swings from positive to negative and then back again, over and over. When the Twin Towers were hit on September 11, 2001, social mood was already trending down after its high in 2000 as shown by the stock market decrease. With 9/11, the stock market went much lower, and the social mood in the United States plummeted. Americans staggered under the shock of attack, unable to imagine what to expect next. The variety of responses led to polarization between those who felt fear and anger, and those who responded with interest in the deeper meaning of the attack. The destruction in Afghanistan and then in Iraq has further polarized the country, causing a severe dip in social mood.
The last time social mood was so low was in the 1970s. Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers, and Malcolm X were all assassinated. There was a huge polarization about the Vietnam War, with a riot in Chicago during the Democratic National Convention. There were many race riots across the country. There was increased labor strife. Richard Nixon was forced to resign as President. The stock market went low. The Cold War became more intense. Terrorists killed Israeli athletes at the Olympics. Iranian fundamentalists took some U.S. citizens as hostages in the Iranian Embassy. The 1930s and 1940s were even lower in social mood. During that time, there was a worldwide depression, war enveloped nearly every country in the world, and Hitler and Stalin murdered millions of civilians because of their ethnic or political affiliation.
After both of these periods of low mood, a positive social mood followed. Immediately following World War II there was a great increase in prosperity, and social consciousness took a giant step upward. After the 1970s, there was a big boom, culminating in the 1990s, with a higher standard of living, even in the poorest countries. The Soviet Union ended, the Berlin Wall came down, peace treaties and weapons treaties were signed, and Middle East peace talks took place.
Herd instinct tends to take over when social mood turns up or down. The mood is contagious and it is easy to get caught up in the flow of events and feelings. In a downturn, the most prevalent emotions are anger, hatred, hopelessness, and fear. Here's where self-care comes in. We know that these emotions release chemicals into our bloodstream that have been designed by Nature to propel us to extreme action. If we don't exert ourselves, the chemicals poison us. Those who allow their internal state to be determined by what goes on in their environment are swept along with the crowd in the tide of the social mood. It is possible, however, for a person to see the vibration of social mood as part of Nature. When social mood turns negative, those who are aware have the choice to feel and behave as they choose rather than taking on the mood of the crowd.
Why not understand the fluctuating nature of life, be compassionate with those who suffer, and calmly and peacefully live your life regardless of what happens around you? It is in playing the game of us versus them that you create conflict. I think it is possible to be happy and peaceful regardless of what happens in the world. By being a calm, alert person who doesn't allow outside events to control your mood, you are doing good for the whole world. To do so is certainly good for you and those around you. Although these may be negative times, we don't have to add to the negativity.
Freda Morris Hedges, Ph.D., hypnotherapist and subtle energies practioner, with thanks to Bill Harris for inspiration and information.
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Email response: Comments on FMBR January Newsletter
I would like to add a commentary to the on-target comments of Freda Morris Hedges. In the nineteen sixties and seventies, there were abundant predictions that roughly the first quarter of this century was going to be very tough -- with great turmoil, and with the potential for great advances in "consciousness", our relationship to each other, our relationship to Earth, etc. (whatever facets were most apparent to each). Whatever ones metaphysical stance, those kind of times are upon us. There are many signs (ecology: global warming, ozone layer, loss of forests, uncomprehensible depletion of the Earth's fisheries, polution, etc.; humanity: letting our greed override our responsibility to provide good education to all, safety nets for the disenfranchised, impoverished, elderly, etc., and the focus on war as a primary tool to achieve political and economical goals). Any one of us could make a more extensive list.
We find ourselves not only deeply disappointed, but in shock regarding the extent to which our own government and culture has become a serious part of the problem. I am sure I am not the only one who occasionally finds oneself deep in rumination over how bad things have become (sometimes in the mddle of ones sleep). There are moments when one feels depressed with a sense of powerlessness. At the time of those predictions, it was somewhat abstract, easier to cope with. Now, we are in the middle of it. And, it will very likely get worse before it gets better.
All of us have an inner, deep inclination to be of help -- we want to be part of the solution, not the problem. For me, there is a sense: "Oh my God!, this is what I signed up for." (Explicit job descriptions are not usually handed out at birth.)
There is a very appropriate quotation of Albert Einstein that goes something like: "The level of consciousness that got us into this problem is not sufficient to get us out of it." If we want to be of help, we have a deep responsibility to expand, nurture, and cultivate, according to our own metaphysical perspective and our best instincts: our sense of well-being under pressure and our contact with those sources of wisdom that we revere, and we need to be open to expansion that takes us beyond our current boundaries of comfort.
(More easily said than done, in many situations. So, we also need compassion with ourselves and others.)
Dr. Hedges comments help to flesh out this fundamental responsibility of those who want to help.
(James R. Johnston, Ph.D.)