The “Fight-or-Flight Response” to New Ideas
Jesus speaks: “One of the great challenges for a spiritual teacher is the issue of complexity. More people on this planet have been brought up with an extremely simplistic understanding of themselves and of life. If you grew up in a traditional Christian environment, you were taught to believe that God created your soul at conception and that you have had no prior existence anywhere. If you grew up in a materialistic environment, you were taught that your sense of self is a product of the brain, affected by inherited traits and environmental factors. Again, ‘you’ simply appeared at birth with no prior existence.
“In reality, the picture is much more complex, but the problem is that most students would feel completely overwhelmed upon hearing the full story of where they came from. One of the most common reactions encountered by spiritual teachers — a reaction I encountered often when I walked the Earth, as recorded in the scriptures — is that a student is presented with an idea that is so far beyond the student’s existing beliefs that the student refuses to accept it and thus rejects the teacher and everything he or she stands for.
“This reaction is actually described very well by the science of psychology, and it is commonly known as the ‘fight-or-flight response.’ When a person is confronted with a danger, the typical response is to avoid the danger by either fighting it or fleeing. For most people the default reaction will be to flee, but some have developed a default reaction of always fighting the danger instead.
“So what happens when a student is presented with an idea that goes so far beyond the student’s existing belief system that the idea is seen as a threat — because it threatens the belief system and thus the student’s sense of status quo? Well, less mature students will experience a fight-or-flight response. They will typically seek to avoid having to think about the idea, often by rejecting it based on their existing world view. If they cannot justify ignoring it, they will often switch over to fighting it by arguing against the idea or perhaps even by attacking the person who presented it. If you read the scriptures, you will see that the scribes and the Pharisees — sometimes even my own disciples — responded that way when I presented challenging ideas.
“Why am I describing this reaction in a key that talks about your teachability? Well, is it not obvious that as long as you respond to challenging — or simply new — ideas with the fight-or-flight response, you are not teachable? This course [Master Keys to Personal Christhood by Kim Michaels, as dictated by Jesus] is available for all people to read, meaning people from a wide variety of backgrounds. How can I say anything in this course that will not be new or challenging to some people? If you think about it, you will realize that the reason you are reading this course is that you hope it will help improve your life. So if you already knew how to improve your life, you would have done so and have no need for the course. So how can I help you improve your life? I must tell you something you do not already know. Yet if your default reaction is to reject anything that goes beyond what you already know, you will severely limit my ability to teach you.
“Thus, I have two options. I can say what I want to say and simply accept that a certain number of students will be filtered out because my ideas will be too challenging to them — too far away from their existing beliefs. Or I can seek to make the readers aware of the most common mechanism that prevents people from accepting new ideas. The former option has been chosen by many spiritual masters in the past, including myself when I walked the Earth. However, times have changed, and as humankind raises its consciousness, the law of God requires that the path to Christhood be explained in a more straightforward way than has ever been done before. Thus, I have chosen the latter option for this course.
“The essence of the path to Christhood is — as I have attempted to explain from several perspectives — that you become able to see the beam in your own eye. That beam is the ego and the conglomerate of illusions behind which it is hiding.”
All quotes in this article are copyrighted by Kim Michaels (various years) and are used here with his permission.