What do a Buddhist nun and an influence expert have in common ? They both understand human nature. Before reading the two quotes, disengage your logical circuits from your emotional circuits. A technique I use is pretending that I am a visitor from outer space. I have been sent to planet Earth, my mission is to document the behavior of human beings. This is vital, a person recently asked me for book suggestions. I suggested Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior. His replied that he didn’t buy into Eastern Philosophies. I do not buy into Stalinist feminist Philosophies but I read their works so I can learn their techniques. Now that you have disengaged your logical circuits from your emotional ones, let us proceed.

The Buddhist nun:

The human race is so predictable. A tiny thought arises, then escalates, and before we know what hit us, we’re caught up in hope and fear.
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

The Influence expert:

People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears and help them throw rocks at their enemies. The One Sentence Persuasion Course - 27 Words to Make the World Do Your Bidding

Both the Buddhist nun and the influence expert are talking about hope,fear, and distractions.

Fear is the unpleasant sensation caused by the belief something will cause pain. The opposite of fear is hope. Hope is the pleasant sensation caused by the belief one can escape the pain. Fear and hope are both beliefs and they both concern avoidance of pain. This means fear and hope are actually connected together. For westerners this might not be evident, it is useful to examine how Eastern and Western Philosophies view things.

Eastern philosophies see connections versus Western philosophies see entities.

Western philosophies tend to view things as individual entities by contrast Eastern philosophies tend to concentrate on the connections between the entities.

Ancient Greeks had the belief that all matter is comprised of small entities which we now call atoms. By contrast, ancient Chinese believed in acupuncture, which is the belief that energy flows within a person’s body. It concentrates on the connections between the different parts of the body.

One might be tempted to get into a debate which philosophy is better. As Blair Warren states, this is an example of help them throw rocks at their enemies. The enlightened will realize that one should reframe their outlook depending on what they are studying. If you were studying how water boils, examining a single molecule of water is pointless. The boiling of water is dependent on how the water molecules interact with each other when heat is applied. By contrast studying a single molecule of water is beneficial if you want to determine how to produce pure hydrogen and oxygen.

Returning from our side trip. Fear and hope can be viewed as two separate entities. Fear is viewed as an unpleasant sensation, hope is viewed as a pleasant sensation. The common connection is they are both beliefs and they are a result of human beings attempting to avoid pain.

Human beings inherently want to avoid pain and seek pleasure

The anticipation of pain, known as fear, often causes more trauma than the pain itself. Human beings have found ingenious ways to escape from this reality.

Every man has experienced approach anxiety. He sees an attractive woman, he has the desire to talk to the woman. But then the fear of rejection kicks in. Men have a multitude of mental tricks to avoid this fear. He might tell himself, it is pointless to talk to this woman, she will just reject him anyway. He starts playing the worst case scenarios in his head, his friends will laugh at him, he will be publically humiliated. He will often procrastinate till the opportunity has passed. Anything to escape his sensation of fear. Afterward, he will justify his failures. Well if only the woman had stuck around for a little bit longer. It is her fault.

Hope is what one experiences when they the believe they have found a way to escape experiencing pain. Possibly when you started reading this post you had the false hope that I would tell you how to avoid this pain. I can’t tell you how to avoid this pain. Pain is part of our existence. Marketers and religions tap into our desire to avoid pain but the best they can do is offer temporary relief through escapism.

Discipline means cutting off all means of escape

To become fearless or brave one must confront their fear. To do this requires discipline and self-honesty.

What discipline is not our “badness” or “wrongness”. What we discipline is any form of potential escape from reality. In other words, discipline allows us to be right here and connect with the richness of the moment.
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

We all have the desire to disconnect from reality. To disconnect from feeling unpleasant emotions. Discipline does not mean punishing yourself over trivial offenses. It means having the courage and determination to carry on with the task at hand despite the emotions you are feeling.

As our society becomes more technologically advanced, we are constantly inventing new ways to isolate ourselves from reality. Recently many western countries have passed laws which are designed to isolate homeless people and beggars from the rest of society. To alleviate possible guilt we might feel, we tell ourselves it is to help the homeless or beggars. The reality is homeless and beggars scare the majority of people. To confront this fear, one needs to ask the question - What is causing this fear ?

A beggar is someone who society deems a failure

A beggar or a homeless person is someone who has failed in society. People who have fallen this low are cast upon the garbage heap of society. So why are people scared to look beggars in the eye, fearful to talk to them ?

What terrifies the normal person is they might find out that these outcasts used to be normal people also. We then realize that potentially the same fate could happen to us. Instead of accepting this reality, we escape from it, we pass laws which hide the beggar, hide reality.

Escaping reality has become acceptable. Safe spaces and trigger warnings are examples of how society deems it acceptable to avoid our fears.

Confronting your fear, become fearless

To become fearless, one has to confront their fear. After they confront their fear, they will become fearless or brave. Fearless should not be mistaken with being foolhardy or reckless.

In extreme cases of fear, I will write down on paper what am I fearing. If I was suffering from approach anxiety, I would write down the person who I am afraid of approaching. Even when a person is experienced with talking to strangers, there are certain people who still might trigger a fear reaction. Then instead of escaping from the painful emotions, embrace them. Embrace reality. Examine what I am actually scared of. I am scared that the person will laugh at my idea. They will humiliate me, I will suffer rejection. Once you have embraced the fear, you no longer have to dwell on it.

Words without action are meaningless. Discipline is forcing oneself to live in the moment. Living in the moment means feeling and experiencing the sensation of the moment. Once you have confronted your fears you will begin to experience inner peace. A sense of fearfulness, you will have gone beyond the fear.

In my previous post Get rid of unrealistic social expectations to alleviate loneliness I forced myself to go on despite my fears, this was done by concentrating on the moment. By concentrating on each step, I was forcing myself to concentrate on the moment, to experience the moment.

The journey is more important than the destination

The journey is more important than the destination. People often tell me, sum up, get to the point. What they are saying is they want to collect the prize without going on the journey. They wish to avoid connecting with reality. What would you rather have ? A sealed black box which turned coal into diamonds or the knowledge of how to turn coal into diamonds ? To understand how to turn lead into gold, you would need to understand the process, the journey. This knowledge will be far more valuable since it will enable to create many machines which can turn coal into diamonds. Also once you have this knowledge, you can study the process and possibly improve on it or apply it to other areas.

Further directions

The Buddhist nun and the influence expert are both examining human beings desire to escape fear. The nun is examining fear from an internal perspective, how to avoid being influenced by outside factors and start gaining control over your life. By contrast, the influence expert is examining how to tap into other people’s hopes and fears to limit their control in their lives. By looking at things from different perspectives we can see how they can be applied in different ways.

One should extract the essence of a concept. Then after you have extracted the idea, examine how it can be applied, examine how it relates to your present knowledge. I saw the book
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
in a used bookshop. Initially, I was biased against the book, what can I learn from a Buddhist nun ? But out of curiosity, I decided to read the book. What intrigued me, is like fear and hope are mirror images, her ideas were mirror images of the influencer’s ideas. In anything, keep what you need and throw the rest away.

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