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Observing the Insidious Ego: the Reactions of the Mind and Body

In spiritual practice, we observe and control our thoughts within our Ego mind. Many practice meditation, yoga, and mindfulness. The Ego mind can be sneaky, and can operate unconsciously outside of our control. This is particularly true during this unprecedented viral pandemic within our lifetime that is completely outside of our control.

What I have observed within myself is the neurobiology of the brain that unconsciously controls our physical responses within our bodies when we experience fear. Within the past five months, I have felt agitation, anxiety, insomnia, sleep disturbances, lethargy, malaise, fatigue, and roller coaster of emotions. When the Ego mind experiences fear, the sympathetic nervous system is stimulated unconsciously within our bodies when adrenaline, and cortisol stress hormones are released, also known as “Fight or Flight” . The brain’s emotional center, the Amygdala also is activated, and we no longer operate within the Prefrontal Cortex where rational thought, decision making, and moderation of social behavior occurs. For these reasons, I have experienced these recent symptoms.

In addition to these neurobiological responses, the Ego mind also comes into play. The Ego mind deals with fear and trauma through suppression, repression, or expression. Suppression is the conscious pushing down of feelings. Repression is the unconscious pushing down of feelings due to guilt, shame, or fear over these feelings. Expression is the vented, verbalized, stated in body language, group demonstrations, or dumping of negative feelings onto others.

The Ego mind uses denial and projection as part of suppression, repression, and expression. Denial is used to avoid reality because it is outside of our control and too difficult to face. Projection is believing feelings we experience belong to others. The Ego mind then finds justifications to reinforce these projections. Blame is then placed on people, events, things, political and social conditions, etc. I have observed this within myself, that the fear I experience is the fault of the government, politicians, the media, and justify this by pointing to the poor job of our government, and inconsistent media coverage, etc.

In fact, this fear is within me caused by repressed and suppressed fears from earlier in my life, and the current viral pandemic is merely a trigger of this fear within. One way of determining where the fear or negative emotion lies is by observing who is reacting to the situation. For example, if a disagreement arises between two people, observe who is upset, yelling, melting down, and acting out. Whoever is reacting negatively, the fear or other negative emotions lies within them. The disagreement is only a trigger and that individual Ego mind’s justification to release these negative emotions.

This is why spiritual and emotional healing work is so critical during this viral pandemic, and why we must be vigilant in observing our Ego mind and its reactions to what is happening in our world. Healing begins with us, and when we become aware of what is really happening, we can help our world heal its divisions and conflicts. May you find healing and peace within during these difficult times. (Copyright 2020 Discovery in Awakening with All Rights Reserved)

Explaining Fear and Denial During the Coronavirus/Covid-19 Pandemic

I am not a specialist in psychology, neurobiology, epidemiology, infectious disease, or virology, but I earned a bachelor’s degree in general science and biology, and am constantly learning from experts who have devoted their lives to these subjects. Many Americans deny there is a Coronavirus pandemic occurring, many deny this virus can kill humans (we recently lost a parent to Covid-19), many deny that face masks and social distancing can prevent contracting this virus, and many claim there is a conspiracy by the government and/or media about this virus.

However, other countries who are well prepared for this pandemic are beginning to return to a normal life, such as Taiwan, Germany, South Korea, Vietnam, New Zealand, Australia, Iceland, Norway, Uruguay, Switzerland, just to name a few. Why is that? Why are Americans focusing on denial while other countries are moving forward to recovery?

Firstly, the U.S. government was unprepared for this pandemic while other countries after earlier SARS and MERS virus outbreaks began preparing for this foreseeable novel Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic. Secondly, when the pandemic spread to the U.S., the government did not provide a consistent message and accurate information to Americans because the novel Coronavirus is new and unknown about its effects on humans. Now, the American public in fear and trepidation are coming up with their own brand of denial and conspiracy theories.

Why is denial and conspiracy theories happening in the U.S.? Fear caused by the Coronavirus/Covid-19 crisis unconsciously stimulates the sympathetic nervous system causing “fight or flight” response within our bodies, including increased adrenaline, cortisol stress hormones, and blood to the muscles. The Amygdala, the emotional center of the brain is activated, instead of the Prefrontal Cortex, where rational thought, decision making and moderating social behavior occurs.

While within the Amygdala of the brain, the brain responds emotionally without rational thought, reasonable decision making, or moderating social behaviors. At this point, the human mind can unconsciously repress traumatic events or consciously suppress feelings of fear through denial and projection.

Denial is the way the mind copes with events outside of our control, and projection is believing feelings we are experiencing belong to others. During projection, others become the enemy, and blame is place on people, events, things, weather, political and social conditions, ethnic groups, foreigners, etc. For example, If I feel afraid, it is because others are doing this to me, or I am not afraid, only others are scared. The mind also finds justifications to reinforce this projection, such as conspiracies.

Once we understand why we are denying and creating conspiracies about the reality before us, and we begin to let go of this repression or suppression of our feelings from fear. We begin to directly address the fear within us, instead of blaming the fear caused or created by others outside of us. Meditation, Reiki Therapy, yoga, spiritual work and counseling can help to ameliorate the body and mind’s responses to fear, and then true healing may begin. May you find healing during the Coronavirus/Covid-10 Pandemic. (Copyright 2020 Discovery in Awakening with All Rights Reserved)

Grief and Loss during the Coronavirus Crisis

Grief and loss is a human response to attachment to people and things, and it is a natural response for all humans. During the Coronavirus crisis, this is particularly true when our loved ones may become ill or die from Covid-19. Rituals are created in each culture to help humans mourn our losses. However, during the Coronavirus crisis, funerals are not permitted or advised, so we must individually mourn our losses in isolation.

During this crisis, because the spread is common among family members with whom we interact, more than one member of the family may become ill or die during this crisis. We had a death of a parent in our family, and I could not physically attend the burial and no funeral service took place. This means no cultural mourning was available to allow us to grieve as a family.

This grieving has triggered my past losses, as well as the loss of friends from no contacts with them. Two close friends never returned my calls or texts for over four months, even after I texted them about the loss of a family member. I have decided to cease following up with them. Letting go is a difficult process and I must grieve now for this loss too.

This week has been a week of grieving for me. When I set the intention to let go, and cried deeply, I felt this amazing release in my body. My shoulders, back, and neck were very sore and achy from holding in all the pain and loss. I know I must release this pain, because long term grief can harm the immune system, and cause heart attacks, cancer, tumors, ulcers, anxiety, depression, and suicide. I believe I suffered from grief and loss that I never released as a child.

Another helpful action I took this week was to get off Facebook. I informed my FB friends to contact me alternatively if they need to reach me. This has had a wonderful effect on my overall well being. Drama, gossip, and chaos on FB is not intimacy or friendship. It is a false sense of closeness with virtual strangers, and this dynamic creates extremely toxic energy. We can feel and absorb others’ rage, anger, pain, distress, fear, and judgments. I am cleansing myself from this toxicity now.

Instead, I have been spending time nurturing my Hummingbird and Bee Zen garden, grounding in nature, and spending time the outdoors. Grounding with the earth, creating new life, and spending time in nature is the beginning of my cleansing process! May you find peace and harmony during the Coronavirus crisis. (Copyright 2020 Discovery in Awakening with All Rights Reserved)

Flowers from my Zen Garden

Letting Go of Expectations

Letting go has always been difficult for me. I have a tenacious personality where I persevere to the end. This can be good and bad! I can accomplish many tasks and goals, but I don’t know when to quit. Because I also am an empath, I want to save people from harm and themselves, also known as the “Savior Complex”. These are my expectations of myself.

Despite that, I now am making very conscious efforts to let go of these expectations. This is particularly difficult now during the Coronavirus pandemic. There are many refusing to acknowledge this pandemic claiming it is fabricated or exaggerated; some of these people are my friends. Part of me wants to save them from becoming very ill with Covid-19, becoming hospitalized alone, possibly losing their jobs, and then their health insurance. They will lose everything they know and have now.

However, I also know that we cannot save others, but we only can save ourselves. The decision not to wear a face mask, and attending crowded bars, restaurants and events may result in devastating karmic outcomes. Nevertheless, these are their decisions, and not mine to make. I send prayers and positive thoughts to these friends, while I let go of trying to save them. I feel very sad, but it is a necessary path on my journey forward. (Copyright 2020 Discovery in Awakening with All Rights Reserved).

Waking from the Illusion

The news this past week, that the European Union banned United States residents from traveling to EU countries, was quite a blow to me emotionally. For the first time, U.S. residents are not welcome to many countries due to the rising Coronavirus infections in the U.S. It is a rude awakening for many Americans.

I, along with the rest of America, have been living in an illusion of safety and prosperity, when, in fact, we have a failing healthcare system, inequitable economic system, poverty and homelessness within our communities, marginal education system, and a racial divide the size of the Amazon River. The complacency and denial within the U.S. is strong. Many do not believe there is a Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic occurring. Many do not believe there exist racism and bigotry within the U.S. Despite the U.S. death toll of 130,000 from Covid-19 to date, and many Black Americans murdered by police while caught on live video, many are still living in deep denial and illusion.

I really had to take a good hard look at my own attitude of denial in order to understand my living in this complacency. If everything is fine and dandy, then I don’t need to do anything or change anything? It is the easy way out, and our blinders keep us from taking action to move forward. This week was a week of action for me! I decided that I must do my part on the awakening of America, and to help with the much needed healing process. I started a Reiki Share group to help with those in need of healing during the Coronavirus crisis, and will donate any proceeds to organizations fighting the Coronavirus pandemic.

From observing what is happening around me, many are not ready or prepared to move forward. Many are paralyzed by fears of our past, present, and future. Those are not the ones that I will be able to help, but many are prepared and ready to evolve beyond the small selves of the ego full of fear, resentment, paranoia, and separateness. Here is where I will begin the healing process for my community. Until we have faced our reality although unpleasant, we will be unable to change, evolve, and grow. Facing and understanding our fears is one of those illusions to understand and overcome.

Although circumstances may appear bleak, I believe it is an inevitable path to awakening an entire nation to our true reality, to change for the better, and to evolve and grow past our fears and illusions. May you awaken through your path forward. (Copyright 2020 Discovery in Awakening with All Rights Reserved)

Living with Fear

The Coronavirus pandemic has caused emotional distress for many people, and I am no exception. For over three months, I have hunkered down in my home in fear of catching and dying from this virus. Except to buy groceries and going for walks, I have not been out of my home.

However, the world is reopening including my country, and my own state, and I have been permitted to reopen my Reiki practice. Even with this reopening, I have been reluctant to go outside unless it’s necessary. I even have lamented about our country reopening too soon.

Although my fears may be real, it nevertheless is preventing me from moving forward in my life. I am paralyzed by this fear, and have bunkered myself in my home with can goods, paper goods, frozen foods for feelings of safety and security.

As I become aware that my fears of this virus has kept me indoors and venturing out infrequently, I am confronted by my fears head on. I watch myself waiting for nothing to happen as a vaccine may still be 18 months away. The world cannot continue to remain closed as we need food, consumer goods, power, electricity, etc., and businesses still must continue to operate.

Today, I prepared for my venture outside tomorrow to run errands and shopping, while donning my face mask, of course. I will buy my first cup of Starbuck beverage in over three months. It is time to get back on the horse that threw humanity for a big loop. This real fear must be confronted, since this way of life will become our new normal! (Copyright 2020 Discovery in Awakening with All Rights Reserved).