There is no greater illusion than fear.
Whoever can see through fear, will always be safe.”
(Tao te Ching Chapter 46, Stephen Mitchell translation*)
The devastation in Texas from Hurricane Harvey has been extreme. The emergency evacuations, families drowned while trapped in their cars, hundreds rescued from rooftops or clinging to trees above raging waters, have been terrifying images and shocking stories.
For me, this extreme event had a personal impact, as my aged parents live in Houston – while I am thousands of miles away in Vancouver. As the weather projections and hurricane impact grew worse, my own anxiety and helplessness increased. Talking myself down from fear was continually interrupted with visions of worst-case scenarios running through my mind.
Fear is a fundamental part of our experience, whether we have lived through a large scale disaster or not. Developing within our mother’s womb, our DNA is engrafted upon the traumas embedded within our family history, echoed by the traumatic history of all mankind. Our genes carry the story of human triumph and tragedy, our nervous systems fine-tuned through this gamut of experience across the ages.
Consider how we enter the world: even the most straightforward birth is an unexplainable journey fraught with pain and stress of the unknown as we are squeezed or pulled from the womb’s warm, dark familiarity out into the shocking, frenetic over-stimulation of the external world. Our highly attuned senses are registering danger and responding with fear before we even take our first breath. We are born helpless and unable to control our destiny, yet programmed to seek survival.
Perhaps the greatest paradox of humanity is this: born with physical bodies designed to expire, we nevertheless equate these bodies as the source of our life. And despite the imaginative capabilities of our mind, we cannot envision the inevitable transformation beyond what we see and feel.
Dwelling within these exquisitely sensitive, reactive yet temporary bodies, we forget the reality of our greater journey – that this physical body isn’t meant to go on forever – when we react to anything that threatens our existence. Even if we don’t take ourselves at face value, our wiring automatically responds to any risk, flooding us with adrenaline and the dark imaginings of our minds.
Each of us have different susceptibilities to what triggers our sense of fear. If we aren’t directly experiencing the situation or connected intimately to someone who is, we can usually move on and resume our sense of normalcy. But what if we can’t? What if the experience of trauma has been so intense that our system isn’t able to resolve and move beyond it? What if part of us becomes trapped or stuck in a cycle of terror?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in war veterans is now an accepted diagnosis and recognized as a serious compromise to well-being. But the experience of on-going trauma, even when the trauma itself is long over or belongs to a previous generation, plagues many people who haven’t been to war. Anyone who is easily overcome with disturbing emotions, can’t stop reacting fearfully to normal situations, has trouble sleeping or feels generally uneasy coping with daily life, may have a traumatic energy trapped inside.
Homeopathy stimulates healing using remedies that match our unique individuality and can apply equally well to physical as well as less tangible ailments such as PTSD and anxiety. Symptoms are signposts helping us find the particular remedy that will impact the root of the person’s fearful susceptibility/trauma on the energetic plane.
Remedies have their own resonance; when a remedy resonates to our same frequency, it is like overtaking a runaway horse. As the second horse pulls up, both will naturally begin to slow down, restoring a sense of safety and calm. When a homeopathic remedy’s resonance twins our own traumatic frequency, our fear response naturally begins to lessen and eventually dissolve. The cycle is de-activated, freeing us to move forward in our lives once more.
Of course this doesn’t bring back the loved one who has died or the house that was washed away or the city that was bombed or the children lying dead in the schoolyard. The story of our humanity is entwined with death and transformation. Even with the use of supports such as homeopathy, it’s unlikely we can free ourselves completely from the physiological reaction in the face of danger or loss.
For myself, cultivating a broader perspective helps me come to terms with all manner of experiences. We can consider our own beliefs regarding life, death and what is the thread of Truth running beneath all existence. While we may not be ready for death in this moment, one day it will come. While we may cling to our family and loved ones, our journey together will ultimately morph into something we cannot know just yet. Only in the arrival is the next destination realized, but we can anticipate it as one more step rather than the end of the journey.
Our bodies may be programmed to wring out every drop of physical existence possible, but there is a part of us that holds a much bigger space. When we connect with this larger, calm, expansive field within, we can plumb resources of courage and freedom to accept all that happens in this world. In this indescribable vastness we can know ourselves and all of life as safe, regardless of the circumstances.
Empty your mind of all thoughts.
Let your heart be at peace.
Observe the turmoil of beings,
But contemplate their return.
Each separate being in the universe
Returns to the common Source.
Returning to the Source is Serenity.
When you realize where you come from,
You can deal with whatever life brings you.
And when death comes, you are ready.
(Tao te Ching Chapter 16, Stephen Mitchell translation*)
*These are not the complete verses from Stephen Mitchell’s beautiful translation of the Tao te Ching. If you find them meaningful, do explore them further.