Suzanne had a minor car accident a few weeks ago. She ‘rear-ended’ a rental van on her way home from the shala. Totally her fault and she was fine. Nobody was hurt (the same could not be said of Suzanne’s pride unfortunately) but because our little Ford Puma was so old and it’s hard to find parts for it (Ford stopped making those cars in 2003) it’s not worth spending the money to fix it up. Poor little car. It was great fun to drive. RIP.

So we needed to buy a new car.

We entered the unknown world of www.donedeal.ie and found an old mini cooper with low enough mileage that we went to have a look at yesterday. The sellers were a very nice retired couple who admitted straight away that they were quite nervous about the whole situation. They’d only ever dealt with dealers when buying or selling cars before. Friends of theirs had warned them “don’t be inviting strangers out to your house”, “there’s loads of scam artists out there, be careful”, all of that sort of thing. Understandable right?

We, of course, were also on the lookout for potential dodgy dealings and so each side  met each other with some small amount of trepidation.

To cut a longer story short (which is something I’m not great at to be honest) the car was running very well. It had been taken care of by the lady who owned it, in fact it was pretty obvious that she had a real love for the car. Also our mechanic checked it out and gave it the all clear, except for a couple of small things that needed to be done on it. The lady’s husband came all the way from Donabate to Dun Laoghaire to show it to our mechanic (a round trip of two hours).

So, taking into account the small repairs needed on it, we offered them a bit less than what they had advertised it for. This was such a sweet lady that when we made our offer she accepted it and then knocked another €100 off the price because she liked us!

The whole thing was a very easy experience for us and, it seems, for them too. So why the initial fear and worry?

It set me thinking about how we relate, on a personal level, to the rest of society in our modern world. We are so inundated with stories of violence, crime and greed that, for most of us, our default setting is one of fear and mistrust of others.

In the age of Rupert Murdoch, Sky News, Fox News and Donald Trump is it any wonder we have fear of what’s going on out in the big bad world. Immigrants are out to get our jobs. Criminals are going to steal our identities online. Hackers are going to empty our bank accounts. A couple from Dun Laoghaire are going to come and look at a car I have for sale and then steal the car and kidnap my husband! It sounds ridiculous when you say it out loud but there is a deep underlying fear bubbling away somewhere inside most of us and, if we are not careful, it can really affect how we relate to the world.

And it’s not just global news that creates this fear. We have our own home-grown fear mongering too, with radio phone-in shows and the like.

A good friend of mine once said this to me and it’s something that I always try to remember when I can:

“If you see something on the news then that is something you definitely don’t have to worry about. By definition ‘news’ is something that doesn’t happen very often”.

If there were sixty murders happening every day in Dublin they wouldn’t all be reported on the six o’clock news. News reports by definition are reports of rare incidents.

Here is a headline you will never see:

Yoga Teacher Buys Second-Hand Car
Seller knocks extra €100 off asking price out of good-will

But it happened and it’s just as real as the gang wars and terrorism. But we don’t hear about it. So we think the world is a dangerous place.

Of course we can find ourselves in bad situations and we must take precautions to make sure we try to avoid that. But the fact is that if we are to indulge ourselves with the stories of horror perpetrated by most of our traditional media we will find ourselves trusting our neighbours less and becoming more and more insular. When a politician comes along who has the power to ramp up that fear inside of us then we can end up in a lot of trouble as a society.

So they are my thoughts this week. Not really anything to do with yoga but I thought I’d share them with you anyway.