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Panic doesn’t serve you (or the greater good)

The Weekly Seeker #1

Panic.

A primal reaction to life, to the unexpected, to bad news, to things going “wrong.”

As humans, we also panic about things that haven’t happened yet. Things we think might go wrong. Things we imagine going wrong.

I’ve lived most of my life imagining worst-case scenarios. Infusing these worst-case potentials with vivid details, making them as real as possible in my mind, (over)analyzing them. Planning in advance what I’d do if they actually happened. Planning this over and over.

These mental gymnastics – rumination, overthinking, anxious thought-looping – only serve to fuel the panic. They make it bigger and bigger, until it feels like there’s nothing else left. No love. No awareness. No solace. No perspective. No hope. Only panic.

Panic separates us from our divinity. From the highest, wisest, most loving aspects of ourselves. It separates us from Divine Source – or makes us forget we are part of Divine Source.

There’s no real use or purpose to panic. Panic never helped anyone get something done faster, smoother, or better. Panic never helped anyone make a wise or helpful decision. Panic has never contributed to building a sense of peace or connectedness or clarity – whether in ourselves (individually) or in our species, as a whole.

Panic has never helped you. Panic shatters your inner clarity. It creates total confusion, total loss of perspective.

It also creates miscommunication and misunderstanding. In a panicked state, the wires get crossed in our heads – and then we can’t understand what is truly going on with us or explain that thoughtfully to others.

In a state of panic, when you need the most help, it can be extremely challenging to ask for help. To know how to ask for help, or what words to say, or where to turn.

At the same time, as I always say, it doesn’t serve us to demonize anything. Not even panic.

We don’t need to demonize panic, or make it the enemy. You don’t have to banish, demolish, or destroy panic. (You can’t ignore it either, because the physical sensations it causes tend to be pretty strong – you might break into a sweat, or hyperventilate, or feel faint, or feel your heart beating out of your chest. The un-ignorable physiological effects of panic.)

Panic is a natural component of our built-in, primal survival system. Panic helped our ancestors and their ancestors – way back in time – survive immediate threats in their environment. Panic helped them react in the moment, in a split second, to save their lives when a tiger or a bear or some other lethal danger sneaked up on them.

But panic in our modern lives has often (mostly) done more harm than good. Unless we’re facing an immediate physical threat that requires a strong rush of stress hormones to trigger our fight-or-flight response, panic is not useful.

You can’t make wise or loving decisions – for your good or the greater good – from a place of panic. You can’t create a nourishing and peaceful life from a place of panic. You cannot serve others well or fulfill your highest purpose from a place of panic.

Instead of panicking, let’s take a moment to breathe, together. Remember the love, wisdom, clarity, and peace you carry in your heart. Even if these virtues have been clouded up by panic for a while, you can always return to them. It’s your sacred responsibility to return to them, as often as you can.

With love, your fellow seeker,
Josephine

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7 thoughts on “Panic doesn’t serve you (or the greater good)”

    1. Josephine Hardman

      I’m so glad it was timely, Golda! I’ve been moving through panic as well so certainly there are collective elements to this right now. I’m sending lots of support and hoping you can find some space to breathe and be still and feel grounded.

      1. Thanks, Josephine. I’m wishing you the same. I’m sorry you’re experiencing it too. I’m trying to just live moment to moment and remind myself in this moment that I am safe.

      2. Thanks, Josephine. I’m wishing you the same. I’m sorry you’re experiencing this too. I keep reminding myself to live moment to moment and that in this moment I am safe.

        1. Josephine Hardman

          I feel that’s the best approach too. All we can do is stay in the moment and give ourselves consistent messages of safety – not just cognitively reminding ourselves but helping our bodies feel safe and grounded. Sending lots of love, Golda!

  1. The Weekly Seeker by Josephine Hardman is one of the best spiritual blogs out there. Not only is it accurate, but it’s also compassionate. I love that there are so many different perspectives on how to navigate life’s ups and downs.

    I started reading this blog a few months ago, and now I can’t get enough of it. It’s not just comforting, it’s life-changing.

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