The fear of terrorism, Cycling In Siberia and how we magnify things in our minds
Recently I spoke to a friend about the three month long foot pilgrimage that we decided to take this spring in Japan.
“What if you are not fit enough to walk so long every day?,” she asked.
“So we will take it easy and walk slower.” I answered.
“Won’t you be left behind?”
“By the group, those you are walking with.” she said.
“There is no group. It is only Jules and I and we have no strict daily goal, no reservations, nowhere we are committed to be. If we walk slowly, so be it.”
“Oh…. I didn’t know that are walking by yourselves,” she said.
Aren’t you afraid?” she asked.
“Afraid of what?” I asked.
“Mmmmm….I don’t know… Dangers… People… Violence, dangerous animals,… Bears, snakes…robbery….” she said.
“I am not sure that there IS anything to be afraid of. You meet your own fears on the road.”
“That is not true,” she said. “There are real dangers out there, people could kidnap you, hurt you…there are dangerous places…actually, Japan is not such a dangerous place… It is not Brazil, for example.”
I never like to argue with my fellow brothers and sisters in the world.
The reason that I did not like to argue in this instance, is because she was right.
As a holy and powerful child of Life, you live in a world of your own creation.
If she were to go to Brazil, she probably WOULD encounter dangers.
There is a saying in spiritual circles, that you ALWAYS get what you ask for in life, that the universe always says ‘Amen’ and agrees with you.
In other words, you have filters in your mind that are showing you what it is you expect to see, that are filtering YOUR own view of the world and thus coloring your experiences.
Many people believe that the world is a dangerous place.
Because of this inner belief, they look for danger to be lurking behind every dark corner, and they feel relieved when nothing actually happens.
In my own experience, the streets are full of friends and helpers, Angels and teachers.
I see glorious signs of human kindness, and I make many friends and meet wonderful people during my travels.
Still, in the conversation with my friend, I was unwilling to side up with illusion, so I concluded with the factual statement that:
“Yes, Japan is not Brazil.”
A person holding the idea that danger is a real possibility will see reasons to be afraid everywhere.
Jules and I were often treated like beloved lost family members, and were showered with attention and kindness wherever we went, not only in Japan.
While visiting an ancient Jain temple in India, we were invited to join a large Jain’s family picnic on the temple grounds.
We ate their delicious food with our fingers and they were almost in tears, when we finally said we had to leave.
They took dozens of photos of us.
On another occasion, we walked by an elaborate wedding in the gardens of a palace, and were invited to join the celebration and partake of the food.
They had amazing entertainment with elaborately decorated elephants, water fountains, clowns and entertainers who were dressed as famous characters.
I have heard stories of hikers in Nepal who were assaulted and robbed, yet we encountered only hospitality in Nepal and in Sikkim.
On a hike to a remote temple that was run by Buddhist nuns, we passed by a Nepalese funeral, and were invited to join the multi day celebration of the deceased person’s life.
They treated us like royalty, explained the meaning of their ritual ceremonies to us, and kept feeding us and offering endless cups of tea.
Maybe the kindness we encountered around the world was a result of those people sensing how honored we felt to be invited into their circle… How delighted we were to sit with them, and how grateful and blessed we felt to just be in their presence.
Anyway…..I do not wish to get sidetracked here by giving too many examples. I am sure that as you read this, you remembered having your own experiences of kindness showered upon you.
We keep on going to Japan, NOT because it is a safe place with interesting things to see and do, but because it is a culture that we feel we can LEARN so much from.
If you look for the goodness that is out there in the world, and you give people your respect even before they’ve ‘earned it,” it will show you a whole new world.
We compound ideas in our minds.
The news, as reported by the media, has a sensationalist, narrow focus on what is wrong in the world.
It can build up an image in your mind that the whole world is a dangerous place, full of mean people looking to take your money, hurt you, kidnap you or even threaten your very life.
What is considered to be “newsworthy” are reports of murders, accidents, bombings, wars, calamities, corruption, natural disasters, disease epidemics, hunger, violence and deaths.
They do not report about all the good that is done daily by millions of people.
The reason that the “good” is not deemed “newsworthy” is because the kindness, charity, help and support that occurs everywhere, is considered NORMAL and is EXPECTED to happen.
In other words, in our very hearts, we already KNOW that goodness prevails and that kindness is everywhere….
It is the disasters and the violence that are the oddities, and thus they are the “news.”
Many peoples’ minds are filled with fear based ideas, and when we compound these ideas with news reports about terrorism, we tend to magnify the threat in our own minds.
Please allow me to elaborate by taking you back in time.
In the late 1940’s, the Soviet Union developed an atomic bomb.
The confrontation between the USA and the USSR escalated to the nuclear level, and all of humanity trembled at the prospect of a global nuclear catastrophe.
Nowadays, we can reflect on that Cold War and the nuclear catastrophe that never materialized, and laugh at all the fears and paranoia that surrounded it.
The 1950s brought to America one of its darkest political and social times.
The government, and even private enterprise, recklessly accused thousands of Americans of being Communists or sympathizers, and subjected them to interrogation, investigation and sanctions.
Those were dark, sad times in American history.
As the threats of the Cold War intensified, hysteria over the perceived threat posed by Communists living inside the U.S. reached insane proportions.
It was known as the “Red Scare,” because the communists were often referred to as “Reds,” for their allegiance to the red Soviet flag.
The Red Scare led to a range of actions that had a profound and enduring effect on U.S. government and on American society.
Federal employees were interrogated and scrutinized to determine whether they were “sufficiently loyal” to the government.
American citizens were accused of behaviors that were “Un-American” by (believe it on not,) “The House Un-American Activities Committee.”
Many artists working in the Hollywood film industry and other intellectuals were victimized for their “communist beliefs,” and were labeled as communists or socialist sympathizers.
The fear of the Cold War had escalated so much, that it became ‘logical’ for some people to think that their own neighbors and friends might actively be working undercover as Soviet spies, and thus pose a real threat to U.S. security.
The climate of fear and repression linked to the ‘Cold War’ and the ‘Red Scare’ grew so large as to be completely out of proportion.
The fear had became non sensical… a mythical monster….a vicious dragon with power to burn and incinerate everything in its way.
Logic and goodness went out the window, and insanity prevailed.
Now… Where did we go wrong?
Pointing fingers at each other or at the government will not bring real clarity.
We must examine what occurred with open hearts and accept that the same forces that led to this Cold War insanity still operate in the minds of many, but in different forms.
So what went wrong?
We IMAGINED the threat to be bigger than it really was.
The whole world believed that a Cold War nuclear disaster was a ‘real’ possibility.
From the grid of possibilities, we all jumped on the bandwagon of nuclear catastrophe, and we strengthened this delusion with the power of our collective minds.
Minds are very powerful tools.
We believed that the democratic United States and the communist Soviet Union were two superpowers with equal strength, with an intense rivalry between them.
The truth was that there were merely frightened people on both sides, trying to protect themselves from a perceived threat.
We believed that both superpowers had their twitching trigger fingers on the red button of the atomic bomb.
We believed that they were watching each other over the earth, like a chess board, looking at each other to see who would make the next move.
We believed that each superpower was willing and able to press the atomic bomb’s “detonate button,” and in their insanity, to send the whole earth into oblivion.
But love and humanity prevailed over insanity.
Goodness and humanity is in the very heart of each individual, and we are guided and protected by Divine Light.
I still remember being a young girl in Israel, a nervous young country that trembled with fear at the Cold War between those two superpowers.
We were terrified onlookers watching a horrifying real life drama, that we thought we could do nothing to stop.
Until the dissolution of the Soviet Union on December 26, 1991, the whole world still thought that the Soviet Union and the USA were equal superpowers.
Only when the Soviet Union collapsed, bankrupt and without internal support, did we all see that the Emperor had no clothes….
The Soviet Union maintained an appearance of power.
Like Nazi Germany at the end of the war, that needed to counterfeit money in order to fund itself, the Soviet Union was financially broken and ideologically divided, well before it collapsed.
Where was the insanity!?
In our own magnifying minds.
So it is today with the threat of terrorism.
To illustrate this, I want to tell you a story.
Because I love adventure travel, I often read books by people who have done exciting things that I feel inspired by.
Years ago, I read a book by a guy who cycled from Siberia to Leningrad.
He was an American and a journalist, and he cycled with a group of friends, among them a few Russians.
In order to get a permit for this expedition, the Russian government insisted that they be accompanied by a police escort the whole way.
The government insisted that it was a measure of safety for the protection of the cyclists, and that if an American journalist were to be hurt by a petty criminal, it might be misconstrued as anti-American sentiment, and that they did not want to start that fire all over again.
At the beginning of the trip, they cycled near a large army base.
The soldiers, as soldiers are all over the world, were nothing but young, sweet and curious kids.
Yes, all over the world, soldiers are often only young kids between the ages of thirteen and twenty one, and many of them still sprout pimples, unrealized dreams, adolescent understanding and tender, sweet and idealist hearts.
Anyway, a few young soldiers gathered to talk to the cyclists.
When Jules and I first cycled in China, years before we cycled along the Silk Road, we cycled around Yunnan and Sichuan provinces in the Tibetan territories.
Often we were also surrounded by locals who were eager to talk to us, eager to practice their English, eager to hear new ideas, examine our bikes, finger our clothing and to share their own lives.
In Siberia, the soldiers were also eager to speak with the American cyclist.
Some had newly cropped hair, and he could see where the barber had nicked them.
This is the conversation that ensued:
“Where are you from, sir?”
“Where are you going, sir?”
The soldiers hooted and one leaned over his friends and said:
“Why?,” asked the journalist.
“It is too big to go by bicycle,” said the boy.
Another soldier said:
“Sir, we have seen the police and the black cars.
You are bicycling.
Why are they with you?”
“To protect us.”
The boy translated this answer to his friends, and all the soldiers howled and laughed.
The journalist estimated that these “Russian soldiers” were no more than fifteen or sixteen years young.
“That is also what they say is OUR JOB – to protect,”
said the boy, leaning on one of his friends.
“From who?,” asked the journalist.
The boy translated the question to his friends and they all laughed again.
Shyly, he pointed back to the journalist and said:
“What is this place?, asked the journalist, pointing to the compound up the hill.
“It is where we live, sir,” said the soldiers.
“The police wouldn’t let us stop there, I guess they don’t want us to see what you have.”
said the journalist.
“Of course,” said the boy, gaily. His comrades were shoulder to shoulder around him.
“My friends want to tell you things, sir.”
“We have rats in our rooms.
Our rooms do not have heat in the winter.
We do not have blankets.
We do not have a hospital.
We are hungry and there are days we have the same soup for every meal.”
The soldiers were gathering and shouting more information to the boy, who spoke good English.
“My friends want to tell you something, sir…..
You will NOT be able to see our country if you have the police and the black cars with you.
No one will talk to you.”
The journalist realized that those kids, representing the mighty “Russian soldiers” that we all once feared, were just kids… Just like him….
He was once a young boy, a kid with awkward short hair who wanted to talk to anyone, curious about the bigger world, asking question after question, staying up all night and thinking…. Dreaming… Hoping…
When the black cars motioned that they must move on, the soldiers ran after him and yelled:
“Sir, SIR! It is not what we HAVE that they do not want you to see.
They do NOT want you to see what we DO NOT HAVE!”
(Taken from the book by Mark Jenkins: “Off The Map, Cycling Across Siberia,”)
Wow… Listen to this….
It is NOT their power and their ammunition that they are hiding, it is what they do NOT HAVE that they are hiding,……hoping that in YOUR MINDS, you will compound the danger, the idea that they are strong and capable of harming you…
They are your very own younger brothers and sisters in the totality of Life… Frightened, scared, hungry, and even without blankets to cover them in the harsh winter… Are those the monsters that you fear?
Since we imagine ourselves to be living in a physical world, we tend to accept the terms of dualities without questioning them.
We think that there is good AND bad,
Love AND hate,
Life AND death, etc.
And we tend to think that these hold equal powers.
But in truth, the two are NOT equals.
Love and goodness, which are everywhere, are MUCH greater than anger and fear.
There is A LOT of love and very little hate.
There is only Life, and death is an illusion.
When a person passes on to the astral planes, our physical eyes cannot see them any longer, and in our attachment to their physical form, we cry and grieve.
But they are not gone…. They are just out of the range of our physical sight….
Because LOVE is at the core of all creation, love and sanity eventually prevail, even in the dream world.
When you look upon the loveliness in others, the loveliness that you look upon is your own….
You get closer and closer to the fountain of deep joy that is within your own mind….
A Joy so deep… that you can hardly comprehend it….
You do NOT walk alone….
There are angels to your right and angels to your left.
Protection and guidance is guaranteed in ALL that you do…
Power and strength are available to you in ALL your undertakings…
You can fail at NOTHING….