Faith as survival part 2
I want to continue with this line of discussion on faith. I find it interesting that we as a species are motivated by self preservation. I would venture to say that all action is motivated out of self preservation or at least it is a concept that I am exploring further. So, right now the prevailing wisdom is that in order to survive, we must fight and protect ourselves from the perceived threat that others around us pose. And in our small reptilian brains, we find ourselves functioning from our primal instinct to fight, flee or freeze.
So, could it be that as we evolved, we come to understand that survival is no longer based on fighting one another or the world. What if we step back and take an objective view of how we have done things since we stood on two legs and simply notice how it has not brought about the lasting peace and sustainable living that we all long for. If we are honest with ourselves, we come to realize that we must do something different. That is where it gets really scary. When we feel threatened, our natural instincts for survival takes over. We want to believe that something better is available to us yet what if we try and it doesn’t work. We have no real evidence that we can see or refer to that it will work on a grand scale.
Actually, we do have evidence or we can at least conduct an experiment to see if a new way will work. First of all, let’s redefine survival. For so long, it simply met getting our essential needs met. For centuries, happiness and well-being were not on our human radar. Those were luxuries meant only for kings and queens and other rulers. The common person was there strictly to meet their needs. Yet, with the dawn of the enlightenment age and advances in science, we began to see that happiness and health and well-being are our natural birthright. In fact, our country, the United States,
Yet, we still believed that we had to fight for it. And fight we did and it worked for the short run. But we have established the pattern that fighting is the only way to protect ourselves. We have gotten more sophisticated and advanced in our ability to wipe out the enemy so much so that we now have the capability to destroy the world several times over.
The fight is personal and woven into our daily lives without us even knowing it. Think about the level of competition that drives the world. We fight to win at everything. We see each other as the enemy to be defeated and in the meantime, we lose sight that we are all in this together.
So, what if, instead of seeing peace as an alternative as an altruistic endeavor, we saw it as an act of self survival. Choosing something other than fighting becomes a selfish act rather than an act of selflessness.
It will take courage to be the first ones to step out in this new paradigm and it may not work right away. But if somebody does not start doing something different we will end up destroying ourselves as a result.
Back to the experiment. The next time you are in an interaction with someone and you feel the need to fight, flee or freeze, take a deep breath and take your attention down to your heart center. Connect with the power of love in that moment. Shift the way you see the person in front of you, instead of seeing him or her as the enemy, see this person as the reflection of you. See your struggle reflected back in his or her eyes. Understand that they are as afraid as you are. Let your heart be softened by this knowledge. If it does not come to you, then pretend you feel this way. What would a person who feels compassion in that moment do? What would this person say in the situation and what would her tone of voice be? Remember that your survival depends on it. And also remember that we are redefining survival as a deep sense of peace and wellbeing. Try this for a period of time and see if something shifts for you and your quality of life does not change. Let us know here.