How to Stay Centred When There’s Chaos in the World

short black hair woman looks herself in mirror
by Tony Fahkry

The Promoting of Fear

Let there be an opening into the quiet that lies beneath the chaos where you find the peace you did not think possible and see what shimmer within the storm. ~ John O’ Donohue

To remain centred amidst the chaos in the world is challenging, yet it signifies a renewing act of strength. It’s no surprise the news media sensationalise the reporting of events to hook us in. They use bold words and Breaking News in their headlines to captivate our attention while giving us a glimpse of the actual story, especially now with the spread of the virus. But they’re not giving us the full story, which is important. Therefore, it is wise to limit watching the news since it heightens the fight-or-flight response in our body. The mind perceives impending danger when regularly exposed to distressing news and creates stress. It’s known as the fight-or-flight response which weakens and suppresses our immune system is activated for long enough. Have you experienced this where you find yourself fearful and anxious for no reason?

Our perception of life is influenced by our past and immediate environment. I’m not suggesting unpleasant occurrences don’t exist. Though, when exposed to it often, we evaluate reality according to what we experience. Have you noticed people who declare the world is terrifying, are the same ones who clutch to distressing news events? They base their assessment on negative experiences without considering an alternative view. Assuredly, what we look for is what we are sure to find. The media propagate a biased view of events we know little about. We concede because it’s broadcast into our living rooms or social media channels and we accept it as truth. Judging by the tone of the article, you might assume I’m anti-media. I’m not, yet if we allow it to be our only source of information, we are at the mercy of relying on the fear it promotes. There’s little reporting of pleasant news events nowadays other than a 30-second highlight, capturing parts of the story. To rely on news as our source of information can incite fear, hence the reason for panic buying recently.

Change is Contagious

Ego says, “Once everything falls into place, I’ll feel peace.” Spirit says, “Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place. ~ Marianne Williamson

Upheaval has existed for thousands of years since man first roamed the Earth and was far more severe in ancient times. Crime rates have decreased in parts of the world due to advances in technology, a shift in consciousness and development of civilised society. Sometimes, chaos may represent the disorder in our own life. So how do we maintain equanimity when there’s chaos in the world? It lies in our response to handle negativity and not catastrophise the situation. If we are drawn to the pessimism in the world, consider the potential of thousands of other people to be lured into the same fear-mongering. In contrast, what if our thoughts are enriching instead of fuelled by fear? Collectively, we extend peace instead of panic into the world. Humanity cries out for people like you and me to impact others; positive change is contagious and carries its own momentum.

It begins right where you are, in your own corner of the globe. Peace is only a thought away. Consider the power of that phrase. A negative thought contributes to the unrest in the world. If hundreds of people buy into this way of thinking, the collective energy of humanity is negatively affected. I respect the advice by the Dalai Lama, who said: “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” It’s clear if you’re reading this, you value personal growth or are intrigued by the insight these words offer. I invite you to move into your heart when you are unsettled to get a sense of the peace there. Engage in meditation to turn your attention to the silent voice within. By moving into your heart, even as little as five minutes a day, connects you with the pure love and intelligence that guides the universe.

You are Safe and Taken Care Of

The state of nowness is available in that moment of squeeze. In that awkward, ambiguous moment is our own wisdom mind. Right there in the uncertainty of everyday chaos is our own wisdom mind. – Pema Chodron

I cannot describe why certain events happen in the world. It would be remiss of me to claim I have the answers when I don’t. I also caution you to run in the opposite direction from those who claim they do. What I propose is a way to manage the chaos, not try to make sense of it. When you go within, all is well and safe. Therefore, stay present and connected to your moment to moment experience, knowing everything will be fine and you needn’t worry about the future. Fear is a future-orientated occurrence. When we project our thoughts ahead of time, we worry things will not transpire as we hope for and we experience pain and suffering. Ask yourself the following when you experience this restless state:

How do I feel right now?

Am I safe? Are my needs met?

If the answer is yes, you needn’t buy into the fear others impose on you. When you experience negative or fearful thoughts, do nothing other than reassuring yourself you are safe and taken care of. To shift from a negative to positive thought is like trying to do a U-turn on an ocean liner. It’s impossible, yet if you change course over a distance, it’s more likely to happen. So, with your thoughts. Move from a negative to a neutral thought is the first step towards rewiring your brain, from fear to inspiration. It takes time, patience and diligence because we are habituated to this way of life. It’s wired into our genetic nature to discern negativity around us.

Similarly, immerse yourself in activities that nourish your soul, whether catching up with friends and loved ones or taking part in hobbies you enjoy. This enhances your psychological and emotional wellbeing. Happiness is contagious, so others feel good in your company. You inspire them to adopt a similar attitude and transform lower emotional states. You don’t have to be a victim of fear in the world. The news and social media are one form of information not intended to purport the truth. You have the power to stay centred, calm and stable amid the chaos since peacefulness is always a thought away.

To learn more about managing thoughts see: How to Manage your Thoughts

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