Mindfulness & Spirituality In Times Of Crisis
A simple, actionable 5-step guide to help you stay balanced when the world goes mad.
By Christina Lopes, Life Coach, Energy Healer, Author.
Sudden and large acts of violence in the world have a powerful effect on the vibration of the collective consciousness. Think of “collective consciousness” like a balance scale:
There’s always a delicate balance between love-based energies and fear-based energies. If the scale is tipped toward love, the vibration of the collective is high (love is the highest vibration energy there is). If it’s tipped toward fear, the vibration of the collective is low.
Individually, we all feel this energetic play in our own lives. You know that friend or family member who is always complaining about life? Everything seems to go wrong with them? Have you noticed how you feel when you are in their presence? Drained, depressed, sad, down. Or what about that person that always manages to brighten your day? They exude “good vibes” and this is the person you can always count on when you feel down.
Now take these small, individual energetic (“vibes”) exchanges and amplify them to the whole of the planet. You see, each and every one of us contributes to the “vibes” of the whole. In essence, the more Debbie Downers on earth, the more the scale of collective consciousness will be tipped toward low, fear-based energies.
Now take that image of a scale and think about what happens when sudden, large-scale violence erupts on the planet. Instantly, we’re bombarded with images, information, and…fear-based energy. The scale quickly tips toward fear. This is why it’s so common for us to react to violence but adding MORE violence. It’s very tempting to allow ourselves to dip down into the fear-based energy and let it lead the way.
But as we become more mindful, awakened humans, we begin to see that there’s a choice in all of this. We see that there’s a great amount of free will that is involved in the tipping of the scale. And we come to realize just how powerful we are.
Each one of us contributes to the tipping of the collective scale, whether we know it or not. We emit energy 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. And we do this regardless of our level of awareness. In other words, consciously or unconsciously, we are still tipping that scale every day.
So if we really are powerful beings that contribute constantly to the vibration of the collective consciousness, how can we better use that power to keep the scale tipped toward Love?
How can we help the planet and all those involved in violent events?
What can we do in the immediate aftermath of a violent event in the world?
I’ve come to rely on these 5 tips and actionable steps.
1. Hold A Vibration Of Love
“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
When terrible, violent events unfold before our eyes, the first emotion to usually take hold is fear. We become frightened, in panic, numb. Then quickly thereafter, other emotions come in: anger, rage, resentment, suspicion. When violence erupts, we can quickly move to “payback” and “getting the bad guys”.
Social media feeds and mainstream media channels become saturated with violent, scary scenes. And in the midst of all this turmoil, the vibration of the collective consciousness descends quickly.
It is at these times that you can deploy your most powerful “medicine”: Love.
If you can hold yourself in a vibration of love — refusing to descend into fear-based emotions — you will become the antidote for fear-based venom.
But how exactly does one hold a vibration of love, when the world seems to be going to Hell in a handbasket? I like to break the situation down to a personal level.
Instead of thinking about the enormity of violence in another country, involving people you may not even know, try to visualize the situation closer to home. Picture yourself going to a dear friend who has lost a loved one. What would you say to someone you love if they were grieving?
I’ve learned through experience that the best we can do to console someone who is in pain is simply to LOVE them. No words necessary. Just silently sitting next to that person or giving them a warm hug helps them navigate the deep pain they are suffering.
And just in the same way that you can love a friend who is pain, you can do the same for an entire city or nation. The truth is, we are all connected and we can love even those we consider strangers. But there’s more. We can send the energy of love to ALL those involved in violent events — even to those who perpetrate the violence.
Yes, it may seem inconceivable for those who lose loved ones to be in an emotional position to send love towards the people who murdered their family or friends. They may one day get to a position of love and forgiveness, or they may not. But as outsiders or observers to violent events, we can do the loving for them. And one day, if we ourselves experience the pain of losing someone we love to a violent death, there will be others out there who will send deep unconditional love our way too.
I cannot imagine what it must feel like to experience the dreadful pain of violence. And it is absolutely normal for us as humans to feel the array of emotions that are so often associated with such losses. Pain, anger, resentment, rage. They are all emotions that we experience in our lives. But as fellow humans and companions on this journey through life, we can all learn to bear witness to someone else’s pain, without adding to it.
And make no mistake: when we react to violent world events with anger, rage, or other low frequency emotions, we are essentially adding pain to what is already there.
We can all bear witness to pain, while holding ourselves in a position of love.
Action Steps To Hold A Vibration of Love
A. When violence erupts on the planet and you begin to receive the steady stream of information about the events as they are unfolding, resist the immediate temptation to dip down into fear or panic mode. Wherever you find yourself as you are hearing the news, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and immediately send the energy of love to the physical location where violence has erupted. I usually add this mental mantra:
“May love heal all those involved in this violence.”
B. If you are uninvolved in the violence itself, pull away from the sources of information that may be bombarding you. At least temporarily. For example: if violence erupts in Paris and you are across the world with no connections to Paris, feel free to pull away from the news feeds coming out of Paris.
The initial phase of information feeds can be riddled with fear, panic, and most importantly: misinformation. In the midst of a violent act, “fact-checking” is not the priority. The priority for emergency responders is to keep people alive and moved into safety. The priority of many mainstream media sources is to…amplify and exaggerate the violence. And if you have any doubts about this, just take a look at this screenshot of the Ottawa shootings in 2014:
So do yourself a favor and put down your smartphone the moment you hear about something violent occurring on the planet. You can come back to it later, as the information becomes more accurate and less fear-based.
2. Resist The Temptation To Enter The Fray
“It takes courage, of course, to step out of the fray, as it takes courage to do anything that’s necessary, whether tending to a loved one on her deathbed or turning away from that sugarcoated doughnut.”
~ Pico Iyer
When a crisis of some sort springs up in the world and the energy of the collective consciousness descends into fear-based emotions, it doesn’t take long for vitriol to follow. Tempers flare, opinions harden, and pretty soon, the egoic tendency of separation consciousness takes hold. It becomes “we” against “them”.
It’s so easy to become unconscious at this time. And when we allow ourselves to dip into unconsciousness, we give in to the fear-based tidal wave.
I’m sure you’ve experienced this before:
You’re scrolling through your Facebook feed and one of your friends posts something about XYZ violent event in the world. Whatever he or she posts jars you and you feel compelled to comment. Others add to the fray and you find yourself involved in an online argument.
Now let me ask you this: how did you feel after that social media “fight”? And most importantly: did the “fight” change anything in the world? Did it make XYZ event better or did it do anything to sooth the pain of those suffering?
When a tragic event erupts in the world, everyone seems to have something to say about it. Some people have a lot to say about it. But here’s another option to consider:
We can choose not to say anything about it, at least in the immediate aftermath.
Right? Think about it this way: for every minute we spend on social media, arguing about how to “fix” a problem or solve the root causes of violent events, we are missing out on practicing Step 1: Holding A Vibration Of Love.
In other words, for every minute we spend arguing on social media, we miss out on loving people who are in desperate need of loving energy at that moment.
Action Steps To Keep You Out Of The Fray
A. As I said above, simply put the smartphone down. It’s as simple as that. We’re all adults with free will, not robots. Simply remove yourself from the streams of information coming in.
Go make yourself a nice cup of tea or go for a run! Just put the phone down.
B. But if you do find yourself holding your phone (how did that happen?) and scrolling through your social media feeds, do not actively engage with anyone about XYZ event. You can do this at least temporarily, right? Just keep scrolling right through or…put the phone down altogether. I repeat myself, I know. I’m doing it on purpose!
3. Seek Out Opposing Views And Hold Opinions (Including Your Own) Lightly
“Truth is what we think it is at any given moment.”
~ Luigi Pirandello
After the initial panic and chaos of a violent event has passed, it’s natural for us to dive deeper into the underlying causes, how to address the problem, and possible actions to take moving forward. And this is where one of my favorite quotes comes in:
“Do not seek the truth, just cease to cherish opinions.”~ Seng-Ts’an
At this point, it’s very important for us to remember how the brain/mind works. Our senses, along with the brain, are prepared to show us the world according to our own underlying biases.
We see the world not as it is, but as we are. What we call “truth” is simply a set of beliefs or circumstances that are in agreement with our inherent biases. Science shows us that we are uniquely prepared to observe, take in, and process, information that confirms what we already believe. And this tendency of the brain is normal. We need not fight it; we simply must be aware of it.
Being intensely aware that what I believe about the world may be fundamentally different from what others believe, allows me then to do this:
Give up the need to defend my beliefs or those of others in any way.
When I acknowledge that my “truth” is different from yours, then why defend it? That is just insanity to me. You can however, hold opinions so lightly, that nothing anyone says can rattle you. If we can all live this way — holding opinions lightly — then we are more open to seek out the views of others. And when we do this, a whole new world of understanding opens up. When we give up our need to be right and actively listen to how others see the world, what we find is that there is so much more that binds us than what tears us apart.
Notice how different this is from the predominant collective paradigm that still dominates. If you look closely at the behaviors of people on social media, you’ll notice how we so often use our platforms for monologues — closing ourselves off to information we disagree with and disengaging from open, civil discussions.
So many of us use social media platforms like megaphones.
We shout our hardened opinions into the “cloud” and refuse to listen to opposing views. But how can we possibly learn anything from the world if we simply go on living in this hardened way? How can we solve anything when we are more interested in protecting our views of the world, instead of truly understanding someone else’s?
Action Steps To Help You Hold Opinions Lightly
A. When I feel my opinions or beliefs harden in any way, I use this simple but powerful mantra to loosen the grip of the ego:
“I may be right or I may be wrong.”
The moment you repeat these words mentally, you’ll notice how your internal environment becomes more peaceful, less rigid.
B. Actively seek out opinions and views of the world that are completely different from yours.
I call this little practice “Bursting My Bubble”.
Since we know that our brains have the tendency to see only what we already believe, then we can counter this by consciously seeking out other beliefs and opinions.
Now this doesn’t mean we need to expose ourselves to hateful, angry, or vitriolic content. It simply means that we seek out opinions are that completely different from ours, yet still civil. In fact, some of the best and eye-opening conversations I’ve ever had were with people I disagreed with! When both sides of a discussion hold their opinions lightly, we end up learning so much from each other. And that in turn makes room for compassion and empathy to flourish: understanding what it feels like to walk in someone else’s shoes.
4. Be Extremely Mindful Of What You Manifest In This World
“By choosing your thoughts, and by selecting which emotional currents you will release and which you will reinforce, you determine the quality of your Light. You determine the effects that you will have upon others, and the nature of the experiences of your life.”
~ Gary Zukav
We are each responsible for what we say, what we do, and the energy that we emanate. And in the digital age, this responsibility takes on new meaning. Before the internet was a thing, our opinions and actions were more “local” in the sense that they affected a smaller number of people.
If you voiced your strong opinion at a family dinner party, there were only about 10 people affected by the words coming out of your mouth. But now, this has changed. The words that come out of your mouth can be heard or read across the globe.
That multiplying effect should bring personal responsibility to the forefront of our awareness.
What you say, do, and emanate has consequences. And the consequences will fall under these two general umbrellas:
- You will add love and compassion to the collective consciousness (and to your own life).
- You will add fear to the collective consciousness (and to your own life)
That’s as simple as we can get. You either throw out an energy of love or you throw out an energy of fear. And the choice you make will have direct consequences to you and those all over the planet.
We talk a lot about the effects of the digital age and globalization. For the most part, our world has become hyper-connected. And in my opinion, that is absolutely wonderful. I love technology and think it plays a fundamental role in the evolution of our consciousness. But like so many wonders of modern life, technology can be used to either to amplify high vibration energy (like love) or low vibration energy (fear).
Action Steps To Help You Be Mindful Of What You Manifest
A. Before you say or do anything (even “minimal” actions like commenting on Facebook), ask yourself this mental question:
“Am I speaking/acting from love or fear?”
For example, notice how you feel as you are typing a comment on someone’s Facebook post. Take a deep breath and feel the state of your internal environment. Are you agitated, angry, upset, annoyed, offended?
If so, do not type a single word. Just don’t do it.
Don’t engage, don’t call the person to express your anger, don’t write a whole long email about how offended you are. Just take a deep breath and walk away. Instead, take the time to turn your vision inward and understand why you are upset or agitated in the first place. Is it because you are holding tightly to your view of the world? If so, then the best you can do for yourself and others is to release that grip.
Now, this isn’t to say that we should all just stop voicing our opinions. Not at all. When we can all open up about how we see the world and share that vision with others, it increases the diversity of our collective. But realize that there’s a huge energetic difference between what we say from fear versus love.
When you speak from anger or any fear-based emotion, the likelihood that others will receive those words with openness is minimal. Instead, they will close their hearts and revert to defending their own views. It’s hard to have an open, civil discussion when we are in attack mode, right? What will end up happening is a mutual attack/defend type of argument. Hearts and mind are rarely changed that way.
5. Embody The Oneness Of Life And Never Lose Sight Of The Broader Picture
“While there’s value in seeing the reality of conflict, it’s equally important for us to not lose sight of the beauty.”
~ Erin Northcott
We really are all connected. It is only the mechanism of ego — the part of our minds that make up a “me” identity — that gives us a sense of separation. Specifically, it is in the left hemisphere of the brain where our sense of separation arises. The right hemisphere sees things a little differently and as neuroscientist Jill Bolte Taylor explains (click here for her TED Talk), it is in this hemisphere that Oneness and the Big Picture lie:
“Our right brain perceives the big picture and recognizes that everything around us, about us, among us and within us is made up of energy particles that are woven together into a universal tapestry. Since everything is connected, there is an intimate relationship between the atomic space around and within me, and the atomic space around and within you — regardless of where we are. On an energetic level, if I think about you, send good vibrations your way, hold you in the light, or pray for you, then I am consciously sending my energy to you with a healing intention. If I meditate over you or lay my hands upon your wound, then I am purposely directing the energy of my being to help you heal.”
By dipping down underneath the level of ego, we can connect to the universal theme of connection. Unconditional love, empathy, and compassion can only be genuinely felt if we are living from the basis of Oneness.
In essence, treat others as you want to be treated because in the end, they are you and you are they.
As you witness violent events on the planet, always remember to hold the broader picture in your awareness:
Our planet is evolving toward love. On the whole, we are living in more peace and love than we ever have.
And in the end, love will always win over fear. Always. In fact, love is replacing fear every single day on this planet. The balance scale is moving more toward love. And we are the more blessed for it.
Action Steps For Oneness and Seeing The Broader Picture
A. Make meditation a daily practice. It’s the easiest way for us to learn how to dip beneath the ego and connect to the Oneness in life. Just 10 minutes a day of meditation will change your life in meaningful ways.
B. Learn to connect with your heart center or chakra. The seat of love and compassion is in the heart and its power can be accessed in seconds. I use my Heart Light exercise frequently:
- Close your eyes and bring your attention down from your head, into the chest area. Literally visualize the light draining from your skull, through your throat, and into the heart.
- When your awareness arrives at the heart, visualize it lighting up! The light can initially be as small as a pea but it glows ever more brightly and increases in size, until it finally explodes out of your heart center!
- Remain in this heart-centered awareness for a couple of minutes and then open your eyes. Try to hold your awareness in your heart the rest of the day and see how you feel
C. Whenever you see acts of violence occurring on the planet, try to keep this mantra close to your heart:
“For every act of violence on this planet there are a million acts of love.”
Thanks for reading!
Remember that this post is alive! Ha! What I mean is that I turn some of my posts into interactive sessions by including reader feedback and questions in the body of the post…as I did here and here.
Do you have questions or comments about mindfulness and spirituality in times of violence? If so, comment below or shoot me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org!