But, gradually things began to change. People became more stressed as they could no longer sustain their basic life needs. Anxiety, depression, anger, and frustration showed on faces of poor families living below poverty lines. Smiles faded and were replaced by tension and constant whining and complain. “I could perfectly understand their behavior, she said, how could you ask a hungry man to smile in your face?”
But during Ammy’s last visit, the situation deteriorated even more. “Every body was rude, angry and hostile, even the highly educated and wealthy people. I could not figure out why. Fight rose among close relatives. In my own family I spent the whole summer trying to solve problems and meaningless quarrels. People became very suspicious, intolerant, and defensive. Serious conflicts arose from simple misunderstandings. I felt as if there was a virus in the air, a deadly virus that infected the whole city, even the whole country. What was wrong with these people?”
In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell talked about an impressive effect called priming. When a person is subjected to rude comments, surrounded by stressed people, complains and whining, even if he has nothing to do with it, his subconscious mind receives a message that he is in a tension situation, it gives him a kind of alert on which he acts accordingly without recognizing his own change in behavior. Priming is nothing like brain washing or hypnosis, but increasing scientific evidences are proving its tremendous effect on our behavior. You can compare it to the effect of media in shaping people mentality. Continuous hidden tiny messages have far more powerful effect than a direct clear statement. The cartoons and comics that appeared in the sixties and seventies associating the ‘bad guys’ with a black skinned person had a tremendous effect on the mental image that people held for years for African descendents (needless to say the films, computer games, and cartoon movies that nowadays associate the ‘terrorist’ actions with the image of a man with a beard). Our subconscious has no ability to analyze, judge or reject suggestions; it just receives them, stores them and acts accordingly when the time comes. That’s why a simple suggestion delivered on a subconscious level are much more effective than a whole speech delivered to the conscious mind.
This is the answer to Ammy’s question; this is the ‘virus in the air’ the highly contagious virus that is infecting everyone around. Bad temper, anger, frustrations, rudeness, and stress are easily picked up from single words or change in tones of the ‘infected’ persons and the cycle goes on infecting the whole community undermining their energy and damaging their sense of security.
The important question here is: what can we do about it? If I am saying that our subconscious stands totally helpless before these damaging suggestions, do I consequently impress that we are totally vulnerable to mental manipulations? Of course not. The main ‘vaccine’ to this virus is awareness. Being aware of our behavior, the situation where we are and our response to it is an important element in the formula. Most of us nowadays run on ‘autopilot’. We just execute what we are supposed to do without being mindful of it. We deal with our lives as viewers watching a video clip. We do not engage in our actions, we do not involve all our senses in our life. When was the last time you stopped to notice the sunshine or to admire the beauty of the sunset? When was the last time you cooked a special dish and shared some with your neighbors? When you walked out of your house today did you greet the newspaper guy/the postman/the neighbors’ child? Did you remember to take some bread crumbs to feed the birds on the backyard? Stopped to pat the cat on the street or noticed the new grass growing on the sidewalk? Did you smell the fresh grass/snow/flowers? Did you remember to renew your intention? Your intention from going to work/school/college today, from going to the supermarket, from taking the kids to sports class, from talking to your friend on the phone? Did you take the time to feel grateful for your Divine blessings? Did you feel them? Enjoy them? You may have remembered to say your daily affirmations, but did you stop for only one minute to admire their meanings, to feel how they apply to your life today and how could they alter/shape your behavior, perceptions, and beliefs for the better?
These simple but continuous daily actions are the suggestions you are imposing on your subconscious mind, they are your powerful tools to help you counteract any erroneous suggestions subjected on you from the outside world. Don’t underestimate the power of you own autosuggestions; they are the most potent ‘vaccines’ protecting you from the deadly ‘virus in the air’.