A friend of mine who is a hypochondriac thought he was having a heart attack, so I went with him to the hospital…despite the fact that I really dislike hospital waiting rooms. Upon arriving, I was immediately reminded why. The Cedars Sinai E.R. looked like a scene from the movie Outbreak. So many people wearing masks even Michael Jackson would have felt out of place. Somewhere in the background, a television reporter rants on about the dangers of the Swine Flu epidemic. “It’s coming to get us!! People in Mexico are dying, run for your lives!!” When I first heard about the Swine Flu, it was on the news and I admit I bought in to the hype. I can’t deny that I was kind of cringing to touch anything out in the real world ….handles, door knobs, buttons — these were all traps where the Swine Flu just lay waiting to attack. I was just full of excuses when meeting new people…”Hi I’m Ashley, so sorry I can’t shake your hand — I’m newly single and easily aroused.” Holding my breath in a public restroom at the park, I actually got my leg up high enough to flush a urinal with my foot so that I didn’t have to risk any physical contact with the invisible enemy. Try doing that in flip flops. Then, just when I would let my guard down and forgot momentarily about the swine plague, a commercial would come on for the 6 o’clock news preaching doom and imminent destruction. Fear was everywhere. But worse than that …it had permeated my mind — the only space that truly matters!
Then the LA times comes out with an article stating that the swine flu “may not even do as much damage as the run-of-the-mill flu outbreaks that occur each winter without much fanfare.” This is followed by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano saying she doesn’t think the H1N1 flu is stronger than regular seasonal flu. Hey, wait a sec! What about all those news reports and round the clock coverage of impending death?!? Just another overly hyped scare tactic used to hook viewers for ratings. It’s all about the money folks. The media propagating fear is not anything new, it’s just increasingly more common these days. I’m not participating anymore. In fact, I’m boycotting the evening news. When was the last time you heard something positive and uplifting on any news program? It’s primarily fear-based programming geared specifically to scare the shit out of you long enough to stay tuned in for the advertisements at commercial break! Or what about all those new pharmaceutical drug commercials that hypnotize you into thinking you should ask your doctor about it — never mind that there are more side effects than actual benefits! The media creates fear to make money — the pharmaceutical drug companies create fear to sell drugs. Fear is a powerful tool that has been effectively used for thousands of years to control the masses and it’s important to recognize when you are being manipulated by it. It’s been used by governments, religion, media, etc. to divide and conquer us since well before any of us were ever born. Fortunately, the mind is an even more powerful tool that can conquer fear once we recognize it for what it is. F.E.A.R. stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. A wise man once said — “Thoughts become things” — When you focus on a problem it only becomes larger and more real to you. The mind is a garden that will grow any seed (thought) you allow to live there — positive or negative. Energy goes where attention flows. Focus on health, wealth and prosperity and that is what you will experience. By the way, my hypochondriac friend never had a heart attack…I think he’d just been watching a little too much T.V.