Keeping Your Cool in Chaotic Times
Whether you see President Trump a God-sent entrepreneurial genius that will “make America great again,” Hitler incarnate or something in between, what is certain is the chaos his presidency sparked. Change seems imminent and only time will tell what will come to be.
It is natural to feel fear, worry or concern in times of change. By nature we rely on the familiar to maintain our equilibrium and balance of mind. Even though we like and want change, actual change, due to its unpredictability, often feels worrisome.
Everyone is wondering what will happen to our society; what new era does this administration represent.
In human life there has always been times of change, worry and chaos and in such times there has been those who thrive and those who suffer—which will you be?
For thousands of years kings, scholars and spiritual seekers have sought out how to thrive in a fundamentally unpredictable world. What do you do when you lose your job? What do you do when you are stuck in traffic or when struggling with ill health? What do you do when the candidate of your choice either wins or loses and your country is in uproar?
I have found a simple yet profound answer to all of these questions in the 5000-year-old wisdom of India. The same body of Eastern wisdom that gave us yoga and our numeric system says that all fear, worry and suffering comes from the same place. This ancient wisdom says that we feel fear because we are absorbed in what is secondary.
Secondary things are things that are outside of yourself, they are not part of your Dharma (deepest propose) and they are things that you cannot control. What is primary are things such as your deepest, highest self, your sphere of influence and your core purpose in life (Dharma). When you focus on what is primary, fear cannot enter.
When your attention gets distracted by secondary things, such as politics, the weather and what other people are doing, then fear is natural because you cannot control these things. It is clear that no one can control Donald Trump and, because he is President now, there are a lot of scared people.[clickToTweet tweet=”The cure for fear, no matter its source is the same; simply need to turn the focus inward. ” quote=”In fact, the cure for fear, no matter its source, be it from a lost job, the shaky economy or giving a public speech, is the same; you simply need to turn the focus inward.”]
To eradicate fear, either from having Trump as president or being marginalized or attacked for supporting him —the solution is the same. In fact, the cure for fear, no matter its source, be it from a lost job, the shaky economy or giving a public speech, is the same; you simply need to turn the focus inward. Focus on yourself, who you are in the highest sense, your core purpose and most importantly what you can control.
We are not talking about ugly-narcissistic-selfish-self-centeredness here, we are speaking about a deeper understanding of who you are at the core. We are talking about a spiritual awareness of your highest self. Your highest self is unchanging, fixed and perfect, it needs nothing from anyone and by dharma (core purpose or inherent nature) it exists beyond the chaotic happenings of this world.
Both ancient and modern philosophers, spiritual seekers, and most successful people, regardless of their religion or spiritual affiliation, know that this deeper true self is perfect as it is. They know that you don’t need any change to take place for you to be valuable, powerful or happy. You simply need to be you, be the pure you that exists beyond the chaos and political muck of life.
We live in this world and we must engage with it. Too many spiritual seekers want to drop off the face of the earth and go meditate in some cave in the Himalayas. But I say that true power, true spiritual fortitude, is not about dropping off the face of the earth—it’s about dropping back to it.
Practical and spiritual growth are both about being fully aware of and fixed in your highest self and then engaging with the world expertly, while not letting its chaos or its muck perturb you. It’s about acting with full commitment and engagement while being unaffected by the positive and negative happenings of life.
When you act from this place of knowing your true self, your actions automatically become orders of magnitude and more effective. There are many reasons for this, but simply said, such actions are supported by the full force of you. When you lose site of your deepest spiritual self, only a part of you is acting and therefore your actions, and their results, will be weak and ineffective.
Therefore, whether you are working on running your business, enhancing your relationships or are feeling scared by the chaos of life, the one action that will help it all is a deep spiritual awareness of your highest self. The second you absorb your mind on that which is secondary, that which is not your highest self, you will feel fear. At the same time, when you are in a frightful moment, simply connect to your deepest and highest self and purpose and the fear will disappear, true inner happiness will arise and you will be best positioned to access your greatest power.
Surviving chaos and learning how to engage with the world in full power is a continual practice; we have just scratched the surface here. My book new book Eternal Dharma radically explores the depth of inner purpose, effective action and of course, because I am a monk we must include Passionate Enlightenment.
By Vishnu Swami–The Maverick Monk
Author of the new book Eternal Dharma–Available Everywhere