A new José Stevens Article

Healing The Politics of Fear

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Why does anyone want to be a politician? Politicians have been around for a long, long time and there are some excellent reasons for becoming one. Here are several examples: Throughout history politicians have enjoyed many perks including notoriety, authority, power, influence, respect, insider knowledge, opportunities for wealth (often illegitimately gained), advancement to higher offices, sexual access to fawning admirers, permission to be a bully, and the list goes on and on. The vast majority of these perks are ego driven and not all politicians take advantage of them but most do. In fact, the honest politician is a rare animal and this is why. Almost everyone has been a politician once or many times in previous lifetimes. In fact, it is a great way to keep agreements, learn many lessons, and create and pay back karmic debts.

Younger souls seek out political office in droves because of the opportunities made available through these high-profile lifetimes. Older souls, grimly knowing what is involved and not wanting to create new karmic debts tend to avoid political office. Sometimes reluctantly they accept the role because it is either a royal road to pay karma back or to further an older soul agenda such as: protecting the environment; giving a voice to the oppressed; fighting racism; eliminating slavery; curbing greed and graft; stopping government corruption; or spreading the wealth. They know they will probably get beaten up rather badly but sometimes it is the price to pay for advancement in consciousness. Joseph Biden is a mature soul who has these agendas now that he’s late in his life, has little more to lose, and much of his ego is finally out of the way.

If you care to look, the vast majority of politicians are some of the most fearful people on the planet. Their very lifestyle reeks of fear. The very act of running for office against many competitors that are also in great fear of losing speaks for itself. Many compromises must be made to feed the drive for success and these compromises are themselves filled with fear. What if I lose my family? What if I compromise my values? What if I destroy my reputation by running an aggressive negative campaign and so on? Once the contender wins the political race the fears increase partly because they are thrown into the arena with the most fearful people on the planet who are all looking over their shoulders at who is gunning for them, worrying about the rhetoric of the opposition and their strategies to utterly defeat them, and of course there is the issue of being re-elected. Being re-elected demands raising huge amounts of money and there is the fear of turning off the well-heeled and not getting their donations or turning off the masses and risking their votes. There are the fears of the opposition turning over every pebble of their lives looking for dirt (and who doesn’t have some dirt?) or the press pointing out every mis-statement, inconsistency, hyperbole, exaggeration, gaffe, (gaffes are often telling the truth when it is not expedient) and hidden agenda. A politician’s allies are looking to get paid back for their loyalty and they are threatened with compromise every step of the way. If the politician becomes too controversial they will receive death threats and even real attempts of their lives or the lives of their family members. As I said, who wants to be a politician?

Let us look at the current state of affairs. It is probable that the United States currently has one of the most fearful (and therefore dangerous) people on the planet as president. The truth is that most American presidents have been terrified and that the most authoritarian leaders in the world today are also the most terrified. More on this in a moment. The delusion is that the president is fearless, has immense power (Potus), extraordinary courage, great mastery, and extraordinary fortitude keeping an exceptionally grueling schedule. Interestingly, a president may actually believe they are fearless when the evidence all around them shows their absolute terror at losing control. This is of course part of the delusion and a great part of the overall problem. The most obvious fear is the terror over potentially being a loser. This is a young soul fright because older souls have lost so many times they have also lost their fear of being a loser. Win or lose you do the best you can and roll the dice. The younger soul however can’t tolerate the smallest loss because of the investment of their ego in dominating and winning every situation. In the extreme, for them, loss is unimaginable and certainly unmentionable. Another interesting paradox is that younger souls learn the most by losing everything. In the world of the young souls, emotionally five to twelve years old, there can be only one king of the mountain. Every time there is a race many young souls lose and learn hard lessons. So, in evolutionary terms, winning offers little in the way of learning. The absolute winner lags behind everyone else because they have won the most in the short term and have the least learning for the long run.

Every authoritarian tyrant or dictator is extremely fearful. Suppress the free press because they might criticize them, might get the public to rise up against them. Throw dissidents in jail, attack protests and marches for the same reasons. Poison and murder their enemies, dismember them, get rid of them, and lie through their teeth about what happened. Build concentration camps and call them re-education centers so that the world won’t know. Destroy nature by burning down the forests and jungles to give land to their supporters to help keep them in power. Support the expansion of the fossil fuel industries and open pit mines for the same reasons. Destroy nature because it is wild and feminine and they make money off plundering and destroying it. Fear, fear, fear, it’s all based on fear. Where is the courage, where is the integrity, where is the wisdom? It’s actually there, buried underneath mountains of fear. Every soul no matter how young knows deep within that you cannot destroy your nest without destroying yourself. That is basic, but even this knowledge can be buried underneath egoic fear of loss of power and control. Why does one want power and control? Because they are afraid of not having it. In other words, they are afraid of the people because the people might actually have the power and control.

Now let’s turn to a different idea. I am not saying that the lame duck president who refuses to acknowledge losing or other authoritarian tyrants are bad evil people or anything like that. To say that would be taking the low road and to join ranks with fearfulness in general. Bear in mind that this does not condone their behavior born of fear. The truth is we have all been just as fearful and perhaps have done worse things in our long hard journey through the soul ages. Today the problems the world faces are simply a giant legacy of all the fear that has been running this world for millennia, a pile of fear that we each have contributed to. Most of us live intensely fearful lives, even the older souls amongst us. How many people have been afraid of the incredibly and obviously fearful men that have been called ‘President’? Yes, perhaps they are dangerous to a way of life, to the integrity of the nation, to the future, to the planet. Aren’t we all dangerous to some degree by virtue of the fact that we allow fear to run us, to drive our thoughts, to reduce us to hopelessness and helplessness? These mostly men (There certainly have been some women as well) are only symbols, excellent representations of the legacy of fear that now runs the earth. Fear is like a parasite that has taken over its host and the host is barely visible now.

Let’s do a little experiment. Try to go for an hour, perhaps start with ten minutes and see if you can be free of some fearful thought or feeling. Perhaps it is just a little thought like “I hope I’m not late for that appointment because xyz” or “Oops, I forgot to call Mom on her birthday yesterday, what is she going to say?”, “What is that headline? ‘President eliminates protections for wildlife in favor of industry’? I’m enraged and scared, what’s next?” or  “Mortgage is due tomorrow. Hope there’s enough in the account.”,  “I have food shopping, post office, Costco run, and DMV. How am I going to get it all done?”, “Ow, and that tooth is hurting again. I hate going to the dentist. I’m afraid she might have to pull it, or drill, that’s even worse. And what is that pain in my elbow? Hope I am not getting arthritis.”, “Oh no. A lump on my breast. I fear the worst.” On and on it goes, all fear based. Fears beget more fears and it grows like mold in the bathtub tile or like dry rot until the whole floor gives way one day.

Well, it has all built up to a giant crescendo, exactly on time according to all the prophecies. We have had a controversial president to say the least, the pandemic and fires have been raging, icecaps are melting, animals are going extinct, the economy is tanking etc. Is this an accident? Hell, no it’s not an accident. It’s exactly orchestrated like a Hollywood or Bollywood movie. Time to change course. Time to shift directions. Time to choose anew or it’s all going down with no salvation. Time for a redeemer. Wait, can we really expect a savior? Not really. At least not an external one. There is no responsibility in that but we do need redemption, perhaps a little grace or a whole bunch of it. Can we find some? The answer is yes and there are hints and clues aplenty given to us by the wise ones. The redemption is within us. The grace comes from us. As we go from externalization to internalization we find the resources within.

It is time for the death of the parasite, the pulling down of the dictator, the fall of the tyrant. That tyrant is fear, the fear within us. When the fear falls, all the other symbols of fear will fall with it including the external fearful politicians and their fear-based structures and dynamics fed by, you guessed it, our own fears. In fact, all this is happening already. So how do we pull down the parasite and what replaces that mountain of fear? The first thing to do is to realize that fear does not exist except in our own minds. We believe in the idea of it so it exists and controls us. Fear is of our own making. It is a tired neurological pathway. Instead, we look at what we fear and own it. Then we have compassion for that being that is buried underneath the fear, ourselves included. Then we find a way to love that being. This is easier when the tyrants have been rendered harmless, disarmed, defanged. That can only happen if we work together, however, this is not a struggle, nor a huge effort. It is actually simple. It happens when we change our minds, about everything. When we see the divine in everything, even the most fearful. We are talking radical transformation here, not window dressing. Get ready. It’s inevitable, kicking and screaming or embracing. You choose. We all choose. There is only one inevitable outcome. The big old truth, not what we think it is but what it actually is.

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José Stevens

José Luis Stevens, PhD is the president and co-founder (with wife Lena) of Power Path Seminars, an international school and consulting firm dedicated to the study and application of shamanism and indigenous wisdom to business and everyday life. José completed a ten-year apprenticeship with a Huichol (Wixarika) Maracame (Huichol shaman) in the Sierras of Central Mexico. In addition, he is studying with Shipibo shamans in the Peruvian Amazon and with Paqos (shamans) in the Andes in Peru. In 1983 he completed his doctoral dissertation at the California Institute of Integral Studies focusing on the interface between shamanism and western psychological counseling. Since then, he has studied cross-cultural shamanism around the world to distill the core elements of shamanic healing and practice. He is the author of twenty books and numerous articles including Encounters With Power, Awaken The Inner Shaman, The Power Path, Secrets of Shamanism, Transforming Your Dragons and How To Pray The Shaman's Way.