(I wrote this in the Fall of 2015 shortly after the attacks in Paris France. Of course, this applies to all acts of violence, hate and crime.)
In light of ALL worldly events that occur out of human “doing” I wanted to write this to put out some ideas that I know to be true from my work, speaking with my colleagues, my close friends and to be quite honest, from simply witnessing the insidious slurs in recent world (human) events.
It has to do with these three words: fear, anger and hate.
Let me explain.
1 > Fear is not bad.
It’s a basic biological emotion.
You see, the word “fear” has become a buzzword in wellness, health and self-improvement circles. And it’s getting thrown around (carelessly I might add) like cheap confetti.
‘Let go of your fear.’
‘Free yourself from fear.’
‘Feel no fear.’
(A recent click on Amazon with the word “fear” gives you a plethora of titles!)
But without fear, without this basic biologically body-based emotion, we’d have no signals to let us know that something isn’t safe.
We’d not know when to run, or fight, or play dead. We need it.
Here’s where we get into trouble though – we get into trouble when we FREEZE alongside of our fear, and stay frozen.
I call this Frozen Fear.
When we get stuck here, in Frozen Fear, it’s really tough to have good solid “correct” internal knowledge of what is safe and/or unsafe — so we may “think” we need to be afraid of something that actually isn’t a threat to us.
Or, we don’t realize that something might not be safe, and we get closer to it, and before we know it, we are back in a situation of threat/helplessness.
(We call this re-traumatization in the trauma world.)
2 > Anger *IS* a biological necessity.
Imagine if a mama grizzly bear didn’t have an anger response when a dangerous predator was approaching her precious wee cubs? Or, if she saw that predator, but didn’t express her anger?
Kind of impossible to imagine right?
Like fear, anger is critical for us.
Yet, we as humans, have lacked an apprenticeship to know how to feel and process this potent emotion and body experience.
And, we don’t have it as simple as the animals in the wild. The threats out in the wilderness are much more black and white. In the ‘human species wilderness’, there are more shades of grey. (And purple, red, blue, green…etc.)
Bottom line is this: we’ve been taught that any expression of anger, and the intensity that comes with it, is bad. Many of us, have either a) a default that works to repress and suppress it, or b) a default that goes the ‘out of control’ route and it turns into rage, or even worse hate.
3 > Hate is not a biological emotion*
From a humanistic perspective, and from what I’ve witnessed, hate is a by-product of the faulty metabolism of our basic survival energies; the emotions of fear and anger.
When we can’t process our fear and the intense emotions that follow – meaning, anger and/or sadness – these emotions get denied, repressed, suppressed,
(Um, hello western society that teaches us to ‘Suck it up’ – ‘Put on your game face’ – ‘I’m fine’ – ‘Be positive’ – ‘Forgive’ – ‘Don’t get mad’ – ‘etc’)
All that biological ENERGY gets deflected outwards.
THE RESULT = YOU LOOK FOR SOMEONE or SOMETHING (or a country, or religion) TO BLAME.
As my husband said to me not so long ago, when we were chatting about this topic and the recent rise of “hate” energy towards the refugee crisis and the attacks in Paris:
“Anger, coupled and intertwined with fear that’s never been felt and properly processed, and is stuck inside of a human being, turns into hate.”
You see, fear and anger are on a continuum. They need each other.
Enter The Spiritual Bypass
Because we have done our own version of atrocities, by not teaching our people, our kids, our cultures (humanity) how to effectively process this continuum, our fear and anger, we’ve gotten into this pickle of what we call hate.
Actually, we *think* we are teaching this.
But from what I’ve seen, we’ve done a brilliant job at managing it cleverly with a lot of calming practices that deflect the intensity, or addictive practices that numb it out and cause avoidance.
The unrefined rise of consciousness via mind-body “everything” can actually keep us far from our real internal situations, sensations and feelings.
And yes, I generalize here… I have many colleagues, myself included, who teach ‘mind-body’ from a very different slant that includes the biology, the environment in relationship to the biology etc., but we are the exception right now, not the norm.
So, if you are using meditation and/or some other form of compassion-based practice to try and calm yourself down without FIRST properly processing, metabolizing and integrating the agitation, the anxiety, the fear, that anger, then it’s only adding more toxicity to our world.