Have you felt it - the global shudder? Are you, like me, feeling just a little off balance, a little off-kilter, like the axis of your world has suddenly shifted? I cannot seem to shake the malaise, as if a permanent fault line in my thinking has been unearthed since the events of last Friday. I thought I could count on the ground always being there to meet my feet. I thought the air I breathed would always bring vitality. Despite centuries of evidence to the contrary, I somehow trusted Mother Earth to be a place of succor not a place of terror.
But Mother Earth has become moody and mercurial. Perhaps she is justifiably reacting to the way we have abused her. Why do I insist on personifying Earth? I heard someone in desperation and compassion suggest we beseech Mother Earth to take care of the people swept away, homeless, terrorized, radiated, shuddering down to their core. Does it not seem ironic that we look to the very thing that has traumatized us to then safeguard and heal us? It seems our needs, illusions and delusions are strong. We need to believe there is someone, something out there that we can rely on, turn to, trust. And so we personify the universal elements around us, - conferring on them human sensibilities - hoping they might care and intervene.
I feel off balance because my hidden illusions have been swept away by these vivid, harsh realities. The universe, the earth, life itself does not care about my length of days, my creature comforts, my search for meaning, my dreams, my accomplishments, my constructions, my security. I, you, we are confronted by stark proof that ultimately we are inconsequential, insignificant, not special, and not exempt. The universe does not seem to intervene for any of us on a personal basis. How many prayers were uttered as lives were arbitrarily swept away? And yet we persist in hoping to be plucked from the yawning jaws of danger.
So...have you felt it? The creeping, ubiquitous, global depression resulting from a such a close encounter with powerlessness and helplessness? It seems we are all quaking with fear - inundated by doubts - leaking confidence - exposed and reacting to the brutal realities the catastrophe in Japan is forcing us to face. As so many struggle to survive, they find the only respite lies in service, in sharing, in sacrifice, in the human qualities of love and compassion. That is all we really have to offer ... and it is everything.
Life does not seem to care whether any one of us persists, but life does care about life. And so with each breath it seems all we can do is care about life and do what we can to serve life. We are not here to be made comfortable. Life is given with no promises. While we have the mysterious gift of life, we are called upon to make sure life in all its forms continues - to serve life itself. As I face the harsh realities I see in Japan's horrifying predicament, I find my only consolation is in knowing that while I have breath I can - I will - serve life.
(I apologize for the stark tone of this post. I know the unstated norm here is to be upbeat and positive - but not today - not at the expense of truth. These feelings of helplessness are pervasive and I have been noticing them in every person with whom I interact. I hope you will feel free to express yourself on this issue in the comment section. I would love to be shown the fault-line in my thinking.)