The big question
What is danger?
What is "no big deal" and what is a big deal?
The illusion is not the real deal
Creating a base of "safety"
So, are we "safe"?
The potential after realizing one is safe.
Other possible reading
In order for a human being to "risk" anything, what is risked cannot be inside the "core safety" central circle in life. We cannot progress forward very well if the primitive mind is "thinking" it is in danger, for it must take care of survival needs 1st and not optionally! Feelings of danger, that things might not turn out well in a core need, are the source of the great negative emotions and, as such, they can determine one's whole experience of life. It is unacceptable to let the misconceptions about our core safety stay in existence and to not determine the ways to create "core safety", where one can risk "out there" freely because there is no risk "in here."
Learn this, as it is vital to your life!!! Study this like your life depended on knowing it - as it does depend on it!
THE BIG QUESTION
Am I safe? Am I in danger?
The opposite sides of the same coin, with both of the sides needing to be answered in a crystal clear manner in order to live a good life. If one is feeling unsafe and accordingly "in danger" then one's attention is naturally drawn toward that; that is how we evolved and survived, by paying attention to danger and prioritizing it. (We do not operate like the ideal people in movies or by those who we only see the hero side of.)
The key problem is that we "make up" that we are in danger of losing something we hold as necessary, but in fact do not need at all. Consequently, we lead lives of pointlessly great anxiety, always guarding against losing what we don't need! It is the source of almost all of our anxieties. Accordingly, we can eliminate almost all of our anxieties.
In this discussion, we will be identifying everything that is not a real danger and clarifying that it is actually in the safe zone, by process of elimination - that's the opposite side of the coin.
And we'll see that there is very little that is not safe about life and that it only occurs not at all or rarely. And if it does occur there is nothing, other than wise prevention, that we can do about it. Accidents happen - but we recover. Even a person who become a paraplegic returns to a normal happiness level within a year. Almost never do we experience anything that will severely affect our ability to live a good life.
Read, as a corollary piece, Safe Always, as it addresses the key question with regard to whether one can assuredly create what one wants in life if one frees oneself up from a very false notion.
WHAT IS DANGER?
So, let's define danger, so that we know what is "not danger."
Danger - Exposure or vulnerability to harm or risk (i.e. a threat)
Harm - Actual physical tangible injury or damage (or the experience of the loss of a faculty which loss will expose the person to the probability of damage).
Risk - Chance of loss or harm
WHAT IS "NO BIG DEAL" AND WHAT IS A BIG DEAL?
Since there seems no point in reacting to minor potential harm or loss, it would seem that we should have a threshold under which we will say "no big deal, it's pretty neutral" and go on with life with no emotional reaction. If one takes danger as meaning actual physical injury or damage, then there are very, very few real dangers - all the others are pretty minor - and if they are considered to be dangers they are strictly conjured up.
Surely, minor items don't have real negative impacts on our lives. We get "owies"
(ouchies), like minor cuts and bruises, but those can be sluffed off. And in exactly the same way, the little intangibles in life that are "owies" actually make no difference. So, all of these are not threatening to our safety, in any stretch of the imagination.
(One also has a limited number of attention units, so it is not worth spending a unit where there is very little payoff. We should focus our attention units on where the biggest payoffs are. As a part of life, some things will always be going wrong, but that does not mean that life is a disaster, as the "big deals" are basically going right overall.)
THE ILLUSION IS NOT THE REAL DEAL
The main conjured up dangers are those where we still believe something a child believed that was untrue or is no longer true. If you look at the beliefs behind almost all bad feelings, they are untrue and are harmful. Mild concern and interest are what should be experienced, in one's best self interest, but we need not feel emotional pain nor suffer. See Suffering And Struggle. Read the Fear section and become fearless. You must understand the nature of false threats, after which most of your fears will disappear - hold this as one of the keys to your freedom and happiness in life!!!!
Tara Brach, in one of my highest recommended books, Radical Acceptance, says:
"...almost all threats are not real and are strictly fabricated as a childish way of “protecting” oneself from the concept of “non-survival,” there is nothing left to not accept." (Read the summary: Radical Acceptance.)
CREATING A BASE OF "SAFETY"
What do I have that I can't lose? See "What I Have..", below.
Why am I "Safe"? See the internal safety retreat, below.
You actually can create "safety" in the mind, but simply saying "I am safe". Lowering or eliminating many supposed threats can be accomplished simply with good "coping statements", such as "no big deal", but it is better to learn that they are "made-ups" and are not true in fact. See Affirming/Empowering Statements section and re-write your negative beliefs in the Beliefs/Thoughts section.
This section is integrally connected to the "Gratitude" section, as gratitude focuses on
what you actually have. Feeling "unsafe" is based on fear of losing something, of not
often. As you review "what you have", your primitive brain actually gets the idea that it is safe.
As you practice Peace of Mind , your brain learns to reinterpret and diminish danger signals and to become more convinced it is safe. The actual circuitry of the brain changes. There is a corresponding effect where the part of the brain that makes one happy actually gets bigger and better able to produce happiness. Keeping yourself from doing Stress activities and experiencing alot of ups and downs emotionally and physically is absolutely, absolutely beneficial! A funny thing happens as you begin to build into every week several soothing, nurturing activities, we start to feel safer and considerably more confident that we can take care of ourselves and not have life contingent upon outside circumstances or people.
"We spend all our energy and waste our lives trying to recreate these zones of
safety, which are always falling apart." (Pema Chodron, Comfortable With Uncertainty) The childish idea of a permanently safe zone, based on fear, isn't practical and would also take away from the experience of life.
SO, ARE WE "SAFE?"
Most of us are. The arguable exceptions are those who live in dire poverty and/or in a violent environment; yet some of those people still feel safe, through their spiritual practices and beliefs, many of which are recommended on this site (see above).
We are "safe" by definition, if our life or limbs are not threatened.
Do I have the ability to eat? Is there anything actually threatening my life (in the physical, actual world)? Do I have a threat to my limbs or faculties I might lose? (Many people recover from the latter to create good lives, so they are not an actual danger to the quality of our lives, despite our usual beliefs that they are. See Bad Past, Good Life for some of the stories.
Every other thing we see as a threat is "made-up", which means it is a fictional movie that we keep playing and feeling fear, over and over. These are stored in our brain as recordings to be played over and over - unless we make up new ones. And making up new ones is the unique characteristic of the human being, differentiating him from the animal. If we "made-up" something negative, we can unmake it and replace it with a new "made-up" that is positive.
Again, there is no actual danger from made-ups. Yes, we do feel "bad" if a negative made-up gets repeated, but even then we have the power to stop entertaining the negative made-up, so the suffering is stoppable!
We are safe. We have no real need for getting approval from others, as we have a system that provides available food to us. We live in environments where we are not likely to be killed (and if we are, we are simply dead). We have shelter. Plus we have so many other benefits (TV, books, etc.) that it is clear we live in a cornucopia of great things (but some people don't see it yet, as their "made-ups" obscure it). Indeed, as Auntie Mame said: "Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death."
To get a perspective of the good things one already has, including many "unloseables", read What I Have Compared To So-Called "Losses". That should be sufficient (at least it turned the trick for one person who was negative before understanding it).
A practice used by many wise people is to ask the question "Am I safe in this moment?", asking it over and over whenever anxiety/fear come up. Feeling danger now about a future possible danger is the great ruse that human beings fall for - I hope you don't fall for using that louse strategy!
In terms of the intangibles (the things we "make-up"), it is absolutely true that is anybody else could do something you can, too - you need only find out the information that they had and then implement it. I, repeat, EVERYBODY CAN DO THIS!!! The only question is "are they willing to do whatever it takes?" The decision and the commitment to making life the best it can be is the key. Will you make it?
THE POTENTIAL AFTER REALIZING ONE IS SAFE
Once the few things in "the base" are taken care of, everything else is just a game, just something extra, as a bonus. Once one realizes one has "enough", one need not get caught up in the game of "I must have more to be happy", which is the source of all suffering. Gratitude and seeing that there is more than enough is the key to happiness. I recommend that you commit to the latter!
Those who clearly see this reality of already having more than enough are "free", free to create whatever they want, to live life full out.
This is what this site is about. Getting that "safety base", appreciating what there is, and then getting the extra bonuses, with freedom, grace, and ease!
Quite simply: YOU ARE SAFE!
OTHER POSSIBLE READING:
What some people do and some counselors and seminar leaders recommend:
go and a reliable place of great safety for the rest of your life. The practice will
dramatically change your life if you use it. It is vital to your happiness.
(Notes for possible inclusion:
Safety/Security -- the need for structure, predictability, stability, and freedom from fear and anxiety. This affects the viewpoint of people and conditions their brains to be less false danger sensitive, so we do need to address that.
Also, draw out more examples, such as "if we lose a piece of furniture sitting next to us, are we in danger or is that simply a "what's so" deserving a "so what?".