image.adapt.567.high.1413636656485Last week, a passenger on the cruise ship Carnival Magic who tested an Ebola patient’s blood sample in a Dallas, Texas hospital was placed in isolation. As rumors swirled, Belize refused to allow Carnival’s guest to be flown home through its international airport and Mexico declined the ship’s passengers access for excursions in Cozumel. On Sunday morning, the cruise ship returned to port with health officials confirming the worker  tested negative for Ebola.

Christina Castile cheered, “We made it! Thank the Lord.

Really? Thank the Lord? For what? There’s nothing to thank God for. God did nothing; He didn’t have too. As I said to a friend a week ago, “You have a better chance of getting hit by an errant ICBM missile in the forehead while walking on Friday the 13th between 1:00 and 1:02 PM than getting Ebola.”

Mel Robbins, a CNN commentator and legal analyst, gave this series of events a name: Fear-bola.

Fear-bola attacks the part of the brain responsible for rational thinking. It starts with a low-grade concern about the two health care workers diagnosed with Ebola in Dallas and slowly builds into fear of a widespread epidemic in the United States.

Is fear really widespread? You decide:

  • Navarro College sent rejection letters to some Nigerian applicants because the country had a few Ebola cases.
  • A woman boarded a shuttle bus in a Pentagon parking lot, got off and vomited. A HAZMAT team responded and the woman was placed in isolation.
  • An elementary school teacher was placed on 21 days’ leave after attending and education conference in Dallas, in-spite of the fact she stayed at a hotel 10 miles from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where an Ebola patient died.
  • A TSA agent at Cleveland’s International Airport remains on paid administrative leave because the agent performed a pat down on Amber Vinson.
  • Missouri and Louisiana have sought to bar Ebola-contaminated debris.

Whether politician or neighbor, what’s infecting us right now is mass hysteria. Thus, we smother everything with hand sanitizers and refuse contact with anyone living in Africa, Oklahoma, Atlanta or Texas.

Long before becoming Buddhist, I was taught the essential cause of fear and anxiety is our ignorance. We’re constantly crave and cling to the illusory. And the gasoline in our vehicle is ‘fear.’ So unless we figure out how to handle fear, we will never understand or embody any sense of egolessness or selflessness.

All of us must refrain from tossing lighted matches into dry forests. By understanding, examining, knowing, slowing down, we take the first steps in working with fear. It begins the path to fearlessness. We must have the courage to say, “I don’t need to go there. I see what’s coming.” By doing so, we catch hysteria.

Still, I was going to vacation in Yosemite National Park. I can’t. Someone from Dallas, Texas visited the park. Now Yosemite, its animals and Old Faithful are quarantined for 21 days.