There is a stark difference between fear-based worlds and joy-based ones. In fairness, fear and joy both have their place in life. However, it makes a huge difference which we use as the primary anchor for structuring our world. That is what our discussion is about today.
Qualities Of The Fear-Based World
Since early human life was exceptionally precarious, fear was a big part of life. The survival agenda was then and is now still our agenda as a species. Therefore, fear for our survival has never really gone away and is very much imprinted in us in various ways: biologically, socially, culturally, and historically. Most of us still experience significant fear in modern times, although many dangers have diminished.
Whatever we focus on increases and will become a basis for developing skills. We have focused on fear and still do to a large degree, and we have developed skills for a fear-based world. Warrior skills demand a determination to emerge victorious, and although our physical survival has been largely mastered, the warrior skills of control have morphed into psychological, social, and political warfare. Warrior skills combined with technology have made our protections as frightening as the fears themselves. Both socially and physically, our warrior skills create a lot of fear in people. Our fears and protections seem to escalate continually, and de-escalation is difficult. It seems that the war is never over.
Fear is a sharp and often cold energy because fear heightens and focuses our attention, and since we are in danger, we need to be sharp and cool-headed in our responses to survive. Our cultural systems have revolved around survival, with warrior skills prized above others. The warrior skills have elevated some over others and created a defensive spirit in many people because of the ease with which threats are assigned.
Every time we go to war, we not only create physical and psychological damage in people but we also harm the earth with the chemicals of bombs which poison the earth and water, making areas of conflict uninhabitable for a long time in the future.
Qualities Of The Joy-Based World
We have evolved as a species to the point where, because we have created enough life-sustaining infrastructure and skills, we can reconsider our focus on fear and survival as our dominant investment. This is not a pollyanish attitude. The survival agenda has been achieved, and we are in danger of destroying the earth and each other if we do not shift our focus to thriving and the health of the planet and individuals. So what is the energy and investment we can use to create a thriving and healthy world? Joy.
Joy is a lighter and more generous energy. It is friendly and perceives a friendly universe that supports us and, as complicated and ugly as human history has been, admires and has gratitude for the beautiful resources created throughout history that make our lives work today. Joy is an energy that enables us to feel lucky to be on this earth enjoying this magnificent experience of life. It is an energy that sees and celebrates all the good in the world: in each person, nature, and the human-created world.
Someone anchored primarily in joy wants to contribute what they can to add to the joy and protect it from harm. This individual’s mindset supports and serves a thriving, healthy, life-affirming agenda. A thriving agenda is low on conflict and high on serving the common good. Because there is so much good in people and the world, and because the good is underrecognized and underappreciated, the joy-based way flips the script from what is wrong with the world to what is right and good. This is how we can release resentment, grudges, and injustices that fuel a lot of the conflict in the world.
Joy Is A Shift That Serves Us All
A joy-based way values each life and supports approaches that support the thriving of all life. It
… is not just a feeling. Joy is an intelligence, an anchor, a practice, a skill, and a compass. Joy is a way to make friends with ourselves, each other, and nature. It is time to make the spirit of friendship that joy creates a living reality in our lives.
We need to end the war and find a way to live together that makes life the beautiful experience it can be. A shift to a joy-based life will get us there.