Coping With Fear of the Future

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 1:21 | Filled in Body, Mind, and Spirit/Personal Growth

Dear Dr. Stormy,

        It’s 2012 and I’m feeling somewhat anxious over all the doomsday scenarios that are supposed to happen at the end of this year. Usually I disregard these sort of prophesies, seeing them as the rants of fanatics, religious zealots, or even the mentally ill. Yet with all the media hype about Dec. 21, 2012, I find myself to be vaguely uncomfortable. Too many sources seem to be corroborating these prophesies to allow me to ignore them. How can I feel less worried?

Unsure of the Future

Dear Unsure,

        For starters, you’re right about many predictions originating with questionable sources. This is a fact. Having said that, some predictions do come from more reliable sources and/or corroborating sources. It’s these that give us pause, particularly if there are spiritual overtones to the predictions. Here are a few thoughts on the matter.

        Many of us latch on to negative predictions/prophecies when we are feeling vulnerable, angry, powerless, and/or depressed. We project our own feelings outward onto our environment and end up seeing a reflection of our inner world in the external world. It’s like we’re movie projectors and the outer environment is our movie screen. Once we have beamed our feelings onto this screen, it can be difficult to identify them as ours. For example, if we are feeling powerless, enraged, and confrontational regarding our own plight, we will most likely see impending destruction, upheaval, and turmoil in society. However, this was not the unfolding of a prophesy; it came from within us.

        Also, I find that individuals whose lives are somewhat depressive or dull find a certain kind of excitement in focusing on stimulating new possibilities (even if those possibilities are negative ones). It takes the focus off of one’s own self for a while. For these individuals, a focus on negative prophesies can be a big adrenaline rush. It helps them to feel vital and alive. If deeply depressed, they may need extreme acts or possibilities in order to feel anything at all. Whatever the case, focusing on something other than our own lives helps us avoid looking at what we need to do to improve our own lives.

        Sometimes involvement in spiritual prophesies can help us feel connected to a greater whole. They help us feel less alone and a part of something far greater than self. This is not a bad thing because certainly we are all part of a greater whole. Yet in these instances we should look to see if there is more meaning that we can create within our own individual lives. We must not use our focus on a greater whole in order to help us avoid our own areas of responsibility. For example, if we are feeling disconnected and/or disenfranchised as individuals, we need to work on that problem within our own lives rather than look to an affiliation with a greater whole in order to provide us with that which is lacking in our lives.

        There can also be a narcissistic element to identification with prophesies (good or bad). Sometimes we tend to attach ourselves to prophecies because it gives us a sense of “specialness.” Here we’re the ones in the know. We’re the ones connected to a higher vision, force, or being. We’re the important ones. There can be a lot of spiritual ego involved in those of us who are preoccupied with prophecy, and this possibility needs to be within our awareness.

        Sometimes we get all wound up in prophesies because we desperately need someone — anyone — to know what is going on. We need someone to be running the show. No one wants to feel like he or she lives in an unpredictable and chaotic universe. No one wants to feel afraid and at risk. It’s better, though, to acknowledge our fears and work to better our own lives, even if we have to do that within a chaotic environment. Many of us have had to learn to do that in our families of origin and have survived quite nicely.

        Obviously if a negative prediction does come true, there is little to do other than work with the concept of acceptance. We would have to say to ourselves, “This is my reality. Now what do people with this reality do?” Then we would have to focus on the things within our lives that we do control. Simply, we would have to avoid trying to change the parts of our reality that we do not control and work on ourselves instead. Working on ourselves may include adopting an attitude of humility, holding reasonable expectations, choosing not to focus on “shoulds,” and agreeing to live simply.

        Not all concerns with prophesy are due to psychological processes within us. I think we definitely are going into an era of great change, and many can sense it ahead of time. I think, however, that what is coming may be more an era of enlightenment rather than one of unmitigated destruction. Yes, some things may have to fall of their own weight before better things can be erected, but that’s pretty much how the cycles of life work. No matter how much we resist change, the new often turns out to be better than the old ever was.

        My understanding of the end-of-times predictions is that we have been living on the “outbreath” of God for a long while, and after December 21, 2012 we will start living on the “inbreath” of God. This means that civilization has reached the peak of its negative functioning, i.e., it has gotten as far away from a Godlike existence as possible and will now start a movement back to a more balanced, spiritual way of life. This may involve certain changes in the physical world, but also may manifest as inner change more than outer ones. Whatever the case, I think we’re all going to be fine.

Dr. Stormy

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