Compassion Culture: To Fear or Not to Fear
“Who are You that you should be afraid of a mortal man that will die, and of a son of mankind that will be rendered as mere green grass.” ~Isaiah 51:12 (Anger, rage and threats whither like grass!)
We live in a world gripped with fear. Everyone lives with fear to some degree or another. You know your personal fears. The fears i’ve confronted, i don’t possess any longer. With age and acquired knowledge/experieince in life, our fears change and vanish. Facing fear and overcoming fear is important to wellness. When you take positive action, you relinquish some fear. When you run from fear…guess what: fear follows and catches you. Which reminds me of this powerful Biblical point about craving …and not being prepared…
“just as when a man flees because of the lion, and the bear actually meets him; and [as when] he went into the house and supported his hand against the wall, and the serpent bit him.” (Amos 5:19)
The Garuda Purana claims: “True Happiness lies in the extinction of all emotions…where there is affection there is misery…Renounce affection and you shall be Happy.”
What do you think about that claim/solution?! Sounds dreary to me or sounds just like “unhappiness.” What’s happiness devoid of emotion or affection?!..unhappiness.
Can we devoid ourselves of all fear?? i don’t think so. Should we be totally fearless?? Fear can serve as a protection and restraint. Here’s 1 definition of Fear: “a calm recognition or consideration of whatever may injure or damage, such recognition causing one to exercise reasoned caution and intelligent foresight.”
Here’s a funny story…or what i think is funny/strange about certain fears and youth and experience. Hubby and i were traveling throughout many parts of France (i think ’95)…mad cow disease was a big deal at the time. (For more on Mad Cow Disease: Check out this link: www.webmd.com/brain/mad-cow-disease-basics) So, IF one made a conscious choice NOT to eat meat…no threat/danger/fear of mad cow disease. Was on constant high-alert and vigilant to avoid meat or being given meat to eat mixed in other food unsuspectingly. It’s funny cause i was more concerned about not getting mad cow disease and not eating meat while there…than bomb threats and bombs going off in Paris. The first time we were to take a tour of the Louvre…the first time in our history and the history of the Louvre–it was closed that day because of a bomb threat. Actually, my parents were quite concerned/fearful back home because they hear on the news about bomb threats and bombs going off in places we were visiting. It seemed we would visit a place and the next day we would hear a (small) bomb would go off somewhere like in public trash cans…no casualties that i can recall…perpetuated fear and anxiety for a lot of people. Not me though, didn’t fear terrorism. (Public trash cans were removed.) The terrorism was/is out of my control…didn’t and don’t fear what is not in my control (usually). Getting mad cow disease is/was in my control..i could choose not to eat meat. Of course, was not a parent at the time and would i be touring around Paris or any major city/place/village with kids and bomb threats, etc?! NO!
In a lot of cases/instances of low or high crime…areas…being discerning and prepared, excercising foresight or intelligence, you can avert/prevent danger/trouble: “The Wise see danger ahead and avoid it, but fools keep going and get into trouble.”~Proverbs 22:3 New Century Version
1 fear many struggle with is fear of man/woman. Or fear of what others think and what others may do or not do to them. Here are some points from an article i enJOYed on the topic: “Why Do so Many Live in Fear?”
“Many people, places, and organizations that were considered safe are now seen as a threat to safety. For example, many playgrounds, schools, and shops are now considered frightening high-crime areas. In some cases religious leaders, social workers, and teachers—people who should provide protection—have betrayed the confidence placed in them. Reports that some commit child abuse make parents hesitant to leave children in the care of others. Police are supposed to protect people, but in some cities police corruption and abuse of power are commonplace. As for “security” forces, in some countries memories linger of civil wars in which loved ones disappeared after being taken by the military. In various parts of the world, therefore, instead of easing the climate of fear, police and soldiers have added to it.”
“Living as we do with fear all around us, we may be unaware of how many of our daily decisions are governed by fear. How often does fear affect the way you act?”
“Has fear of violence led you or your family to avoid arriving home at night alone? Does fear affect your use of public transportation? Have the dangers of commuting affected what employment you take? Or has fear of fellow workers or fear of people you would have to deal with affected your choice of work? Has fear affected your social life or the entertainment you can enjoy? Perhaps fear of meeting unruly drunks and crowds has dissuaded you from going to certain sports events and concerts? Has fear affected what you do at school?”
It’s important to distinguish legitimate/actual danger from threat. Avoid panic. Avoid Trouble. Avoid Crime. Avoid Sexual assualt. Defining danger is practical. Distinguishing “real” danger from threat helps. Sometimes, i think of threats like thunder…can be loud and scary, but doesn’t mean you’ll be caught in a rainstrom or struck by lightening. If there’s a lot of thunder and/or lightening, you take shelter from the “potential” storm. i’m NOT Afraid of Thunder!
Where do you go for shelter? Education prevention?
Came across an interesting “old” quote in Newsweek from back in 2004: “We’re living in a ‘chronic heightened state of alertness and . . . helplessness,’ prompted by a ‘poorly defined . . . danger that could strike at any time in any form without warning.’”
- Remain calm so as not to make the thief nervous his inexperience can kill.
- Be ready to hand over what the thief wants. If you delay, the danger increases. Later, you may feel that it is safe to ask that identification papers or bus fare be returned.
- Often you cannot tell who is a criminal.
- Do not carry a large amount of money.
- Avoid exhibiting jewelry, gold rings, or expensive watches.
- Walk and travel normally, showing no fear.
- Do not fix your eyes on individuals as though you want to identify them.
- In case of street shootings, throw yourself on the ground; clothes can be cleaned afterward.
Read another practical article: Protect Yourself From Crime! Sexual assault is a real danger for a lot of women. (For further context, check out: Ceci n’est pas…Un Blog!) It’s not limited to rape and includes other forms of sexual contact, stalking, threats, etc. Just a comforting reminder to any victim of sexual assault: You are NOT responsible for the assault. The Aggressor/Attacker bears the responsibility not you! So, what can we do to avoid sexual assault? Please notice these practical points from the above-mentioned article:
- Don’t Ignore your feelings. “If a place or person makes you feel uncomfortable or uneasy-LEAVE,” advises a police department in North Carolina, U.S.A. “Don’t let anyone convince you to stay if your instincts are telling you otherwise.”
- Act Confidently; be focused. Sexual predators hunt for the unsuspecting & vulnerable. Walk confidently. Stay Alert.
- React Quickly. SCREAM! Escape or fight back using the element of surprise. Run to a safe place and call police.
Compassion culture calls for on-going education. Education about Agape love. Education about how to treat others in a compassionate way that we would like to be treated. Compassion Culture education is balanced…it acknowledges that NOT all are as fluent as others in the language of love/compassion. We at times, need to protect ourselves from those who choose the culture of hate and crime. Sadly, some just lack (compassion culture) education to make better choices that don’t endanger themselves or others. Sometimes, we just don’t know all our options or choices. (Some of us have acted in ignorance.) We can choose to fear or not to fear!
Totally believe in compassion education and have devoted many countless hours of my life from youth on up to learn/share it with others. Agape love can transform fear. Agape love is a crucial component to managing fear and overcoming fear…certain fear. Those of us who willingly choose compassion…Must take the lead in setting an example and help educate others about this important path to wellness and peace. Please listen to those who share compassion with You. Compassionate/Positive Mentors are so necessary in our personal growth of living compassion freely and without fear!:)
i hope to explore this topic of love/fear further (If/when possible i.e. find the time) including apathy and tolerance and the connections between these. Caregivers, Partners, Parents, Friends, Men and Women, Young and Old, etc. have “specific” fear (s) or “concerns” that are unique to the circumstances they individually face.
THANKS for reading…May You have Peace, Compassion and May You know: to fear or NOT to fear!:)
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Winifred, J. (2013). Compassion Culture: To Fear or Not to Fear. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 18, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/wellness/2013/03/compassion-culture-to-fear-or-not-to-fear/