As I write this, I'm cruising at 36,000 feet, far out over the Atlantic Ocean—with the assistance of a Boeing 767. An hour ago, a man spilled out of a nearby restroom and fell unconscious in the aisle. This elicited quite an excited response from several flight attendants, who scurried around him.
I rose from my seat, parted the anxious crowd, and sat on the floor beside the man, whom we will call Neville. His pulse was racing, his face was pale, and his breathing was rapid and shallow. After a few seconds, his eyelids fluttered to life, and I asked him several questions about his health and recent activity. I determined that he was hypoglycemic and dehydrated, complicated by mild air sickness and intake of alcohol. He became excited at feeling ill, whereupon he suffered a panic attack, with hyperventilation. When he rose from his seat in the restroom, his blood pressure fell, and all the contributing factors combined to overwhelm him. Neville fainted.
I slowly fed him water, but he benefited most from my touching and gentle talking. I shooed away the people who were excited, because they were only adding to his fear—the primary cause of his panic attack. Another man remained calm and sat with me on the floor, gently holding Neville's hand.
In short order, Neville returned to his seat, where I checked on him regularly for the better part of an hour. More than anything else, Neville was afflicted by fear, which ignited an emotional and physical storm. It was love—gentle, unremarkable, administered at 36,000 feet—that put out the fire. It's love that puts out the fire within all of us, allowing us to respond to our stresses in far more productive ways. It's love that replaces fear with peace and happiness.
When we are afraid, we become blind, and we spread the fire and the blindness to others. But we can change all that.
Replace your fear and confusion with peace and happiness.
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