Research indicates that attraction to spurious conspiracy theories, propaganda, and misinformation is largely driven by fear. Fear that a way of life is disappearing. Fear of loss of power, of change, of differences, of “others”—fears that often spawn wild scenarios and hatred. Some people latch onto lies to confirm and magnify their false beliefs. With pandemic time on their hands, they roam social media becoming entangled in dark webs of terrorizing fabrications. Connecting with like-minded individuals, they form friendships and community—belonging, no longer feeling alone. By sharing and spreading fears and falsehoods, a raw power is generated that sometimes acts out in hostility, as evidenced in the January 6, 2021 attack on the US capital. History reminds us of the terror of Hitler’s holocaust, Stalin’s killing of millions of innocents, Mao Ze Dong’s oppressive lies, and Kim Jong Un’s denial of human rights. These examples indicate how terror often swarms around a cult of personality in autocratic societies, though it may pop up through fear anywhere when truth is denied. How can we avoid being sucked in by lies and misinformation that promote fear, that may even lead to terror?
A good start might be to see things more spiritually, to acknowledge God, Good, as the only Mind, the omnipotent Mind that brings good to human minds and bodies when human beings turn to God. Seeing ourselves and others as Mind’s spiritual ideas keeps us from being swayed by the flood of personal opinions and deceptions that swamp internet, social media, TV, etc. Some outlets superficially attract, fascinate, influence, and take us away from better endeavors. They claim to offer happiness, truth, acceptance, community, even love. But they really are like hordes of stinging mosquitoes, riddling us with lies that would damage our pure selves. Knowing God to be the only Ego–to be Love, Truth, Life itself–we can see through mortal personalities and their misconceptions. Spiritually discerning between good and evil, we can choose the better part. Then we walk in the light of Truth where dark fears have no place.
If we get these fundamentals straight in thought first, fear cannot steer us off course. “We have nothing to fear when Love is at the helm of thought” (Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings, p.113: 25-26). Love is in control. As 1st John states: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear” (KJV, I John 4:18). Maintaining a consciousness of love is our protection.
Taking time each morning to practice the presence of God, to know what is true, brings a peace that stays with us throughout the day. Sitting still for just 5 minutes, or for hours, to solidly acknowledge Love’s presence and power is all it takes. Feeling God as Love. Knowing God’s presence as undeniable fact. Being grateful for family, friends, neighbors, animals, the world of nature and nations, and those with whom we contend–even those we might be tempted to consider enemies–sets our day in heavenly peace. Spiritual thinking never frets, fears, storms, riots or wallows in falsehoods. Rather, it is accompanied by angel thoughts–divine messages that come to direct our path. Time taken to sit and listen to God, to pray, to study Scriptures, to read books that lead to spiritual understanding, and to act from the inspiration gained (for action more than words is needed) is time that blesses us and everyone on whom our thought rests. How much more valuable than time spent perusing misinformation.
A spiritual practice is no Pollyanna-head-in-the-sand thinking. It requires grappling with hard issues and dark fears. We cannot pretend troubles away! We have work to do! Work to continually see ourselves and others embraced in God’s loving community where no one is left out. Refusing to listen to fear’s earliest suggestions, we hold to a higher consciousness–a consciousness brimming over with gratitude and love. Seeing fear for what it is–a swarm of lies–we spot its nothingness. Nothing can terrorize a Love-filled woman (or man or child) who starts her day with a strong spiritual foundation. Light illuminates her path.
I’ve had a number of experiences grappling with and overcoming fear. I’ll tell you about one next week.
Light Shattering the Dark, oil, 29″ x 18,” $675, custom framed. This painting is part of a series I did entitled, Let There Be Light.