Well, this has certainly been an interesting month. Almost six weeks ago I had an idea for the April newsletter and actually started writing it … several times. But as the headlines surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic (it hadn’t yet been declared a pandemic back then) changed not only the details but even the general theme of this newsletter almost on a daily basis. I wrote it, threw it out, and rewrote it several times over—Exhausting! That’s when I finally realized that what needed to be said about the Corona virus has very little at all to do with the details. Rather, it is all about motive and intent, and the relationship between them.
What do I mean by that? Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980, French writer and existentialist philosopher) once wrote: “What is important is not what happens to us, but how we respond to what happens to us.” Sartre was talking about life in general, not just the Corona virus, but the COVID-19 pandemic provides a classic (albeit somewhat dramatic) example of the general principle. “How we respond to what happens to us” is all about what motivates our intentions.
Given what has been happening this past month in societies around the world (panic buying, empty shelves, social distancing, economies tanking, etc.), I think it is high time that all of us start paying attention to what motivates our intentions and act accordingly. I’m talking specifically about Fear and Prudence. Let’s take a quick look at each so that we are very clear about our motives and intentions.
Dictionaries define Fear as:
1. an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger
2. anxious concern; worry
3. reason for alarm: danger
Synonyms for Fear include: dread, fright, alarm, panic, terror, and trepidation.
In contrast, Prudence is defined as:
1. the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason
2. sagacity or shrewdness in the management of affairs
3. skill and good judgment in the use of resources
4. caution or circumspection as to danger or risk
Some synonyms for Prudence are: carefulness, caution, and heedfulness.
I think that most people basically understand the distinction between these terms, but I also believe that most people don’t really think about it. Prudence is definitely called for at the present time, but Fear is also definitely rampant—or is it? In practice, there often seems to be a fine line between the two, and it is not always easy to determine which side of the line one is on (more about that later).
Maitreya says that we are here to detach from the emotional body. In other words, we are here on the earth plane to learn not to be ruled by our emotions but to become the Master of our life. For example,
• “Your whole incarnation is meant to be one of compassion and love, but not to give in to the emotional body and the drama it likes to create. Face all of your fear.” ~ Maitreya (Newsletter #201, July 18, 2007)
• “It is the emotional body which the Self hangs on to, holding on to the fear, doubt, jealousy, anger, greed etc.” ~ Maitreya (Newsletter #201, July 18, 2007)
• “The purpose of your life on the earth plane is to move out of this energy, to control and distance yourself from the emotional body. This does not mean that you are devoid of feeling, but that what feeling you have will be in a detached way. You still have love, compassion, and all other feelings, but it is without conditions, without manipulation, and without emotional ties.” ~ Maitreya (Newsletter #164, September 26, 2005)
The “detached way” Maitreya speaks of includes prudence. It is fine to experience emotions (we are temporarily human after all), but we are here on the earth plane to learn not to be governed by our emotions. When emotion rules your life, the real YOU, your Higher Self is not the Master of your life, simple as that.
Fear clearly motivates many people to buy every last roll of toilet paper, bottle of laundry bleach, and household disinfectant on store shelves, but the behavior of many people is motivated by prideful foolishness, a willful and complete disregard for both fear and “the use of reason.” For example, a Tik Tok “social media star” took a video of herself licking an airplane toilet seat as a “Corona virus challenge.” A self-described “social media influencer” took the “challenge” and, a few days later, was hospitalized with the COVID-19 virus. Such are the fruits of overactive egos (the Lower Self) in a never-ending search for attention. I don’t know which one is more prefully foolish as I think they share the honor equally.
But how different are such actions from those who flaunt requests (and even government orders) for social distancing because they “have no fear?” They somehow think that their youth or good health (or who knows what?) somehow makes them immune, all the while disregarding the danger to others who may, indeed, be more susceptible to serious or even life-threatening infection. Ultimately, both genuine fear and reason (prudence) occasionally fall victim to prideful foolishness which is just the Lower Self masquerading as “fearlessness.”
Prudence is actually the antidote to both fear and prideful foolishness. Genuine fearlessness (not the lack of fear, but courage in the face of fear) really means that one is not paralyzed by fear. It is a sign of growth that you are well on the way to becoming the Master of your life.
The hallmark of prudence is preparedness. It is proactive and, while it may sometimes be triggered by fear (a negative emotion), genuine prudence is not itself characterized by fear. I think that an awful lot of apparent prudence is actually motivated by fear, especially during this pandemic. For a large proportion of the population, the result is a striking lack of behavior motivated by “the use of reason,” and much of it motivated by emotion. That can ultimately be to our individual and collective detriment in the long run. So how can you tell the difference?
Granted, there often seems to be a fine line between Prudence and Fear, but it really is quite easy to determine which side of the line one is on. All you have to do is pause for a moment, take a deep breath, and center yourself. Ask yourself “How do I feel?” Feeling prepared begets confidence and feeling good. Feeling worried about the future begets fear, and that feels bad. All you have to do is to momentarily check on your feelings. How do you feel?
• “Worrying is using your imagination to create something you don’t want” ~ Abraham (Asheville, NC, September 5, 1998
• “Whatever you’re thinking about is literally like planning a future event. When you’re worrying, you are planning. When you’re appreciating you are planning. … What are you planning?” ~ Abraham (Silver Spring, MD, April 19, 1997)
COVID-19 is now our current common world “enemy” and, as the saying goes, “My enemy’s enemy is my friend.” One possible advantages of this situation is that the Corona virus is providing the opportunity for communities, states, and nations to begin working together as they have never done before in rebuilding a human society based on cooperation and the common good in terms of the economy, the environment, and the health and well-being of the citizens of the world. Whether we, as a whole, take advantage of this opportunity remains to be seen, but it begins with each of us individually. For now, our job is to prepare ourselves and our communities to the best of our ability and then let it go—“Give it no energy” as Maitreya so often tells us. That means, don’t worry! Spirit has our backs individually and collectively. Our job is to respond to the pandemic with reasoned intention, prudence, not fear.
• “Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions.” ~ Pema Chodron (1936-; American ordained Tibetan Buddhist nun and author)
So, be Prudent. Buy only what you need and leave the rest for others. Get used to not touching your face until you have washed your hands thoroughly, wash them frequently, and practice social distancing. Most importantly, Stay home, stay safe, and don’t worry! We are going to get through this if we behave prudently.
Have a great month!