Dining On All-You-Can-Eat Fear, Buffet Style
A distressed student goes to her teacher for guidance one day. Deeply confused and fearful, she tells her teacher that she has a wolf and a lamb within her, battling for dominion of her mind and heart. She tells the teacher that sometimes she listens to the lamb; at other times, the wolf’s voice is so aggressive and loud she cannot ignore it. Wringing her hands, the student pleads with her wise teacher for guidance. “What should I do? What can I do? Which one will win?” The teacher, being wise and having lived a long life, replies to his student, “The one you feed will win.”
An old story worth renewing.
Fearful messaging is to the mind what heroine is to the body. It is addictive. It dishes up savory attractive mental meals for the inner wolf by sharing shocking untruths and predicting science fictional outcomes.
Creeping into our gray matter, it drives us further away from any acute awareness or ability to recognize the difference between real danger versus imagined danger. It creates extremists and convinces a once sane and responsible father to drive across state lines to kill pedophiles in a pizza shop. Trusting strangers that creep like toxic tar from the shadows of cyberspace and into our private homes can convince a young male adult to carry a gun across state lines and murder two demonstrators. Dining on conspiratorial messages is what got us to this point in history.
We have abandoned those we trust for strangers in the dark that we have no connection with. These “wolves” have destroyed our objectivity and the relationships we that matter to us. It has made what we see happening right before our eyes invisible to so many.
I suffer from my own fearful thoughts, for sure, and must continually avoid the trap of feeding them as I observe the world today. There is so much for us to try and “figure out.” But I have also come to accept that it is not something I can fix, only something I must live through. After talking this through with people I trust, I am reminded that whatever I think I “know” is simply impossible to “know.” It does not mean turning away or taking an ostrich approach to life; it does not mean burying my head in the sand. It is about awareness and trusting my own inner GPS.
As I look back on my life, I have come to realize that decisions made in the shadows, strategic actions taken away for the light of day, are rarely for the good of anyone. Everything from affairs, to embezzlement, to betrayal, to any low level or high crime begins in the shadows. The conspiracy theories that people are dining on, that are feeding the wolves inside of them, are sourced from these dank alleys. Not one of us, in our right mind, would walk down one of these frightening side streets in any city and yet, these cyber alleys are entered without so much as a thought about how they are raping us of our common sense and decency, of our humanity.
It is not easy, to live a life of awareness and stand in the light. The peace found there can be boring. The real-life pain we see there can break our hearts. The humanity that is ours, for now, is preciously fragile in the light. But it is in the light that we dance, and we love, and live. It is in the light of day that we reconnect with caring.
In the light of day the lamb grazes on open pastures and offers its wool to keep us warm. This metaphoric wolf we struggle to silence can be starved and rejected as we learn to love the lamb. It may feel monotonous. Or it may make us feel restless, even anxious, until the growl of the wolf, at first loud, weakens.
But on the other side there is the peace that passes understanding, the peace that so many masters have reassured us is real and within our reach. And that makes this inner struggle even more worthy of the effort.