For the last couple of weeks, we’ve been exploring the struggle between our inherent belief in love and our instinctual fear of death, the power of belief, and the necessity of exercising faith in those beliefs over time and adversity. So what does all of this look like when you put it together in your daily life? Today, we’re ready to put our miraculous formula into practice.
I’ve mentioned before that the decision to live by love instead of fear makes changes right down to your physiology—and this isn’t backed up only by ancient manuscripts, but modern science as well. The fear response that activates when your body thinks it’s in danger is also called fight-or-flight, the stress response, or (say this five times fast) hypothalamic pituitary adrenal access. It was designed to activate only during a literal life-or-death situation—things like being mugged, attacked by a wild animal, or a car accident. Generally, that would mean experiencing this about once or twice a year, which is important because of the effect it has on our bodies.
See, during fight-or-flight, our bodies are completely fixated on the short-term. Little things like the immune system get turned down—or completely off—to conserve energy. That’s fine if it only happens a few minutes a couple of times a year, but according to the latest studies that’s not even close to the reality. Most people are going into fight-or-flight between five and fifty times per day. For those closer to fifty, that means they’re living more or less continuously in that state, which has a devastating effect on their long-term health.
According to many doctors, including Dr. Bruce Lipton, Ph.D., and even the Center for Disease Control, at least 95 percent of illness and disease is caused by physiological stress. In fact, medical research suggests that our bodies are designed to live for about 120 years, and in near-perfect health for the great majority of that. So why isn’t that our experience?
There have been a lot of polls done on what people are afraid of, and the most common number 1 fear these polls find isn’t cancer or car accidents or being kidnapped—it’s public speaking. What do you suppose a person would say if you told them that when they experience fear of public speaking, what they’re really afraid of is death? Well, I actually have said that to a number of people, and they reacted about as you’d expect. But it’s the truth. All fear is a fear of death because our fear-response is only supposed to be triggered by life-or-death situations.
The problem is that over the years, our fear-response has gotten confused. It’s started to interpret the definition of “life-threatening” more and more broadly. Maybe during the depression, for example, losing your job could mean starving. So now your job is a matter of life and death. Okay, that seems sort of reasonable. But then maybe your boss gives you a funny look. That’s scary because maybe you’ve done something to upset him and endanger your job. Maybe you really do lose your job—and now whenever someone gives you a funny look, it will trigger that memory all over again.
This is a phenomenon I’ve written a good bit about, which I call the “devolution of memory.” Recent studies have shown that memories, especially trauma memories, are passed down in the sperm through generations. For my money, it’s only a matter of time until they find them in the egg, too. The result is that fear increasingly takes over your life, which continuously degrades the quality of your life.
We’ve been talking about the answer for a few weeks now. It’s about living in love in the present moment. If you’re a follower of Jesus, like me, that means saying “Your will be done.” Or as Oswald Chambers put it, “Lord, I am delighted to obey you in this.” But I firmly believe you can see a version of this done in your life no matter what your personal beliefs.
Ancient manuscripts talk about how even the mistakes of those living in harmony with God will be worked out for their benefit—as if they had not made that mistake. To me, this is nothing short of incredible. It doesn’t mean that there will be no consequences, but it does mean that even those consequences will work out to your benefit, in the long run, if you’re living in love.
After all, those same ancient manuscripts also say that God is love. I think that this is not only meant as an expression of His will, but also a description of how our physiology is wired. We’re built to live according to love, and that’s how we reach our happiest and healthiest state of being. Full stop.
Have a blessed, wonderful day!