Escape from Fear

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The Chinese are over 1 billion people + immigrants and travelers. Many of them have had contacts with people outside of China. (7 billion people). And some of these other people (7 billion) had contacts with Chinese people, immigrants, and travelers returning from China. Experts have been warning of a pandemic for a long time. How many countries in the world were prepared? People had to face severe restrictions on their freedom. Could they prepare in advance? And in case of another wave, how many of us will prepare themselves? None or almost none, according to the book “The Power of Targeted Choices.”

"Consolation": acrylic on canvas; detail showing a kid trying to escape from fear. Aurora Mazzoldi
“Consolation”: acrylic on canvas; detail showing a child trying to escape from fear. Aurora Mazzoldi.

The book tells a different story in the time of the Saracen invasions.

Other environment and situation, same behavior.

“The Power of Targeted Choices” tells:

“… Many years ago, the inhabitants of one of the many villages overlooking the Mediterranean Sea lived in constant fear of the Saracen raids. There had already been many of them, and the people were tired and weary, as they sought refuge and shelter in the surrounding hills – from where they would watch, terrified and helpless, as their homes were sacked. For a long time, however, the situation seemed calm. Hope and illusion spread through the village that the raids were over. So, instead of preparing defenses, or a contingency plan for future raids, the villagers chose the more comfortable option of not thinking about any future danger, constantly telling themselves that it was over.

“They relaxed, not worrying about the pirates’ depredations. Then one day, at dawn, the villagers heard the bells ringing again. They ran out of their houses and looked out to the sea. But the situation seemed calm; there was not a single ship to be seen…”

Escape From Fear

“… They did not investigate further, preferring not to add to the momentary fear they had felt, and which had already so far led them to despair. Instead, they resorted to a simpler and, above all, more reassuring solution: ‘What is that idiot bell ringer playing at? Is he playing some kind of sick joke? He needs to be taught a lesson, so the rest of us can get some sleep; he’s obviously bored, and has nothing else to do all day but ring that bell!’ The more aggressive of the villagers ran to the church to give the bell ringer the beating he “deserved”; he should be punished for shattering the illusion of safety.

“But…

“They had to flee immediately! The pirates had arrived, and the villagers were now running as the marauders gave chase. The pirates had landed their boats in a hidden cove and had climbed into the bushes unseen; only the bell ringer had seen them because he slept out in the open, at the top of the bell tower. Suddenly awakened by a strange premonition, he had looked down and immediately confirmed his suspicion.”

A Constant State of Fear

“Tired to live in a constant state of fear, the villagers had allowed their anger at the bell ringer to persuade them; it was easier to accept and to vent, smothering the fear that might have alerted and saved them. Blinded by their anger at their powerlessness against the Saracens, they had missed the danger. They were simply tired of constantly considering it. 

“If fear can flow, and we can control it, it can warn us of danger. But if we entrust it to our mental part — to fight it and suffocate it — we will remove ourselves from the reality. Inhibited fear becomes destructive and self-destructive, turning into an internal mine, ready to explode the moment we hit it…”

“The Power of Targeted Choices — 11 Simple Steps to Better Living”. Luis Pisoni and Aurora Mazzoldi, pp. 105-106.

COVID-19: Fear of Fear — Antonella Giannini

Referring to the previous text, I will identify some threads of the emotional plot that surrounds and even imprisons us.

In COVID-19 times, we flee from fear (we have a fear of fear).

FEAR is a powerful emotion that makes us experience unpleasant feelings and perceptions.

  • A state of constant tension;
  • A constant restlessness;
  • An incessant overthinking that increases our uncertainty until we become anxious;
  • Emotional amplification and acceleration;
  • A pressure on the chest and stomach that holds them in a vice, gripping our breath, and accelerating the heartbeat. Who likes to live this?

Nobody does! But some emotions are important to warn us of what is happening in reality.

In the excerpt from the book, the bell ringer had performed this critical function, but, as we have already seen, people ignored it, with dramatic consequences.

Self-Destructive Thoughts

Why do we worry instead of caring (looking for a solution)? Why do we overlook the danger (escape from fear) or stop thinking about it?

Worrying about problems does not help us solve them; it works as a mechanism that repeats itself, regardless of reality. It’s a self-feeding loop: it gets bigger when we feed it with our attention (i.e. when we give too much importance to some thoughts). I often hear many people say: “it is stronger than me”, “I can’t stop these thoughts”. They feel weak and helpless.

In fact, in the simplest terms, they feel bad when they focus their attention on a spiral of self-destructive thoughts.

Welcome Emotions

How can we avoid this?

Introspective researchers stop overthinking and switch to intuitive listening.

Intuitive listening varies from moment to moment to better adhere to a changing reality.

It is based on it, not on its interpretation.

We should be able to free ourselves, even for a little while, from the dramatized interpretations of the external reality that the mind gives us (interpreting them according to its schemes) and turn inward.

We could observe the emotional turbulence and welcome the emotions without censoring or inhibiting them.

Then, slowly, slowly, we can listen.

Intuitive Listening, Instead of Overthinking

Intuitive listening helps us cope with daily life.

If instead we continue to overthink, then we surrender to the mechanisms of the mind that, disconnected from reality, make us feel weak, tired, demotivated, disoriented, defeated.

Following on from the previous text, we should not flee from fear and instead listen to the bell ringer. We should accept its warning instead of attacking it with anger.

We will accept fear without inhibiting it and, after remaining vigilant, look for solutions.

They will then emerge from intuition, the only reliable guide to follow in difficult times like the ones we are living now.