The current time cycles are bringing existential fear to the surface. Many people do not recognize this and simply feel antsy. But if they stop and look, they may well see avoidance behaviours expressed in a lot of distinct ways.
If we’re avoiding how we feel, we blame surface appearances; the lock-down rules, the government, the experts, the politicians, or whoever we see as “creating” the discomfort.
Some will respond with protest or intentional rule-breaking. Others with attempt to dull feeling with food, alcohol, or drugs. Some will lash out or take progressively more extreme positions. And others will be confused and withdraw.
All of this is classic fight, flight, or freeze stress response. The stress response helps us adapt to an immediate threat but is less helpful for continual challenge or for resolving discomfort like existential fear.
Of course, some people Are being deeply challenged by current circumstances. Loss of income or illness can have a cascading series of effects. But adding existential fear makes it harder to see solutions.
The most productive approach now is to turn within and face our fears. That’s what we’re being called to do. But facing our inner demons takes courage.
Life-affirming actions like spiritual practice, love, or doing physical things like walking or gardening can be an enormous help.
The long-term solution is to develop an unshakable inner sense of well-being. We find that in the depths of our being with what is eternal and unchanging.
This is under (above or beyond) the fear, under the stories, under the drama. If we can touch into our essential being, peace comes.
Then when existential fear arises, it comes as waves on the surface of our depths. We’re no longer tossed around like a rowboat in a storm. Clouds will come and go, but the light within remains.