Love, wisdom and hurricanes

 

Storms are often hard on people psychologically, because they represent revolution rather than evolution, new paradigms, perhaps even a whole new world.

Storms are often hard on people psychologically, because they represent revolution rather than evolution, new paradigms, perhaps even a whole new world.

by Dr. Larry Wilson —

With Katrina and Rita, two powerful hurricanes, arriving so close together, many people are wondering about storms. What is their meaning for us? More importantly, what good comes from storms and other disasters?

Natural disasters have occurred for as long as mankind has been on this planet. They are too numerous to list, from the great flood in the Bible, to the volcanic eruption of the Roman city Pompeii that buried thousands of people alive in molten lava. Even Plato and many other writers described how the entire continent of Atlantis suddenly sank into the Atlantic Ocean.

What is a storm?

Storms can be viewed simply as physical disasters. However, there is much more to learn and appreciate from them if we open our hearts and minds to go beyond the news media’s version of the events. In this article, the word “storm” refers to the many types of unsettling physical or emotional events that occur in everyone’s lives.

Physical effects of storms

Storms may destroy our homes, possessions and, perhaps, even our loved ones or our own bodies. Storms may lead us to move to a new location, a new home, a new job and new relationships. They can be, when severe enough, physical turning points that are definite endings and new beginnings for as many as a million people or more, all at one time.

Many people are stuck in their comfortable — but often dysfunctional — jobs, homes, business ventures, relationships, etc. However, it’s important to realize that physical disruption can sometimes be very beneficial. Storms can literally wash away old ways of living and doing. They can bring us to a new level of physical existence, even if that new level initially seems less comfortable and familiar. They can force us to explore new possibilities in every area of life.

Psychological effects of storms

Storms are often hard on people psychologically, because they represent revolution rather than evolution, new paradigms, perhaps even a whole new world. Most people want to believe that life is stable, predictable and will go on forever. Storms force us to see that life is not predictable, and it can all be swept away in a day or less. This is a supreme psychological challenge, as stability and security are prime concerns for most human beings. Even the body thrives on steadiness, as in the sameness of body temperature, blood pressure and many other parameters.

Storms jog us from everyday, mundane preoccupations and force us to refocus and look at life differently. This shift in perception is wonderful to move the mind out of its ruts and old patterns, even when it takes place at the emergency, survival level.

Storms force us to confront our mortality and our vulnerability as fragile beings who are at the mercy of forces greater than ourselves and beyond our control. We do not like to admit that, even with all of our technological advances, we are no match for a powerful thunderstorm. “How can our devices fail us so badly?” we ask, when we thought we knew it all.

Storms stir up fears like few other events: fear of death, fear of loss, fear of poverty, fear of disease and much more. These fears can even lead to post-traumatic stress disorder.

On the other hand, storms may also serve a good purpose, in terms of fear. Most fears are not valid and bringing them up allows us to look at them closely, and then determine which ones are valid and which are not. Most things we fear never come true. Holding on to fears when we ought to let them go causes stress, disease and death. Storms do us a service by bringing our fears to light.

A good storm can also help us examine human arrogance. “What arrogance?” you might ask. The arrogance of believing we understand why we are here and what life is all about. Arrogance of attitude, some would say. In fact, life lives through us and we are dependent upon a creator who may have very different plans for us than we imagine for ourselves.

There is another dimension to most people’s arrogance. It is the belief that one has a right to know one’s destiny or end. We often believe we know what our life is about and, furthermore, we believe we have a right to know. Yet, many Bible stories and other spiritual texts repeatedly say that as God’s children, we do not and cannot know the whole plan, as it is much larger than any of us separately or all of us put together. The ultimate design might even involve other planets, angels or different types of beings of which we know nothing.

Grow up, get married, find a good job or career, and enjoy friends and family. These are the things many of us imagine life is about. But storms can change all that, and do so in just a few hours. Gone may be the friends, family, job and the diversions we call entertainment.

Storms tend to upset all the planning most people do, throwing them back into the present moment. Often, with a big storm, all one can do is experience what is happening right now and respond in the moment. Storms throw the mind into a tizzy by upsetting the future orientation (anxiety and fear) that most people live in. Storms are humbling, to say the least!

Core values

What and whom do you care most about? Storms of any kind can force us to examine core values. There was much heroism in New Orleans, as well as looting and bitterness. Those choices were about core values.

Some people did not evacuate New Orleans and other towns because they feared the death of their pets. Those people, in a pinch, valued the lives of their pets perhaps more than their own.

Stability, comfort, routine and staying with the known are major core values for most people. Many endure dead-end jobs, unsatisfying relationships, poor health and much more, because making fundamental changes would be unsettling or uncomfortable for a while.

Comfort and stability are not bad values. However, they can easily overtake our lives, rather than serving as a platform for a life lived with integrity and responsibility. Storms, in this sense, can be about renewal — physical, emotional and even spiritual renewal, if we allow it.

How storms affect those less involved

Those who observe storms from a distance experience a range of effects from fear and awe, to disinterest, when one believes the storm is “over there” and “not my concern.” Regardless of any single individual’s response, the fact is that all of humanity is joined in consciousness. This has been proven in scientific experiments involving the power of prayer, such as those done by Larry Dossey, M.D.

All of us are one in spirit, whether we like it or not. At an unconscious level, we are all connected. Any kind of disaster that affects one affects everyone. Television, radio and the Internet only make this more of a physical reality.

If this is so, the best response to another’s apparent misfortune is one of compassion, rather than judgment, as so often is the case. Many people blame the victim, which is another inappropriate response. Throughout history, societies have always denied their connection with others, using this as an excuse to attack other individuals or nations. In fact, if we attack others, we attack a part of ourselves. It is always self-destructive, although in the short run it may be necessary if the other threatens us physically.

All of us are one in spirit, whether we like it or not. At an unconscious level, we are all connected.  Any kind of disaster that affects one affects everyone. Television, radio and the Internet only make this more of a physical reality.

All of us are one in spirit, whether we like it or not. At an unconscious level, we are all connected.
Any kind of disaster that affects one affects everyone. Television, radio and the Internet only make this more of a physical reality.

Spiritual effects

This is a most interesting area, because storms are spiritual purifiers. They teach that God is not in a special place at a fixed time at our beck and call. God does not always take care of us the way we would wish. Indeed, God may not be at all as we think. Many people, following a destructive storm like Katrina, doubt there even is a God. In New Orleans today, even among the very faithful, many are doubting their faith in God. They are unable to see that it may all be part of a greater plan to open people’s minds in ways that few other events could have allowed.

In fact, storms are one of the best spiritual vehicles or eye-openers available to mankind at this time. They are better than wars, famines and other nasty events that most people survive, even as they lose their possessions. Storms help teach the value of life and the relatively low value of material things. Storms also teach us to think on our feet, get out of our ruts, and open our minds and hearts to a new reality of living by faith since, in fact, we do not know what tomorrow will bring.

Storms as initiations

Storms are a way to know reality in a way that few experience, unless they intentionally place themselves in impossible situations. In olden times, students learning spiritual mastery would spend weeks alone in the desert as Jesus did, or weeks living in caves, as some yogis still do in the Himalayas. Today, however, these opportunities are limited. Few places are totally out of touch with the rest of the world. Also, if one is not guided by a true teacher, a solo wilderness experience can be very hazardous. It is my belief that Jesus was guided at all times by clairvoyant teachers who surrounded him with protection.

Today, storms and other disasters serve somewhat similar purposes in subjecting people to their deepest fears, if only for a few hours or a few days. The rest of us experience a little of it, too, thanks to the news reports. Storms are a valuable spiritual exercise, although they may seem harsh and unfair.

You might say storms offer an opportunity to exercise our mental and spiritual muscles. How am I to survive the night in this flood? What am I to do tomorrow without my phone, electricity, a job, friends and, perhaps, even without water or food? These are good exercises for the spirit.

Religious aspects of storms

Many people wonder if the recent hurricanes, last year’s tsunami and other natural disasters are part of a larger shift the planet is undergoing. Many groups, in fact, feel we are at the end of an age and in a time of tumultuous change. It is spoken of in the Bible, in the Mayan calendar that ends in 2012 and in many prophesies for our time. Some call it “the end times” when the battle of Armageddon will be fought, whether inside each of us or on Earth’s battlefields.

I believe there is a new age of love and wisdom coming forth. The trick is to somehow ride the wave and do your best to enjoy it. At least, this is a much more positive way to understand recent events, as opposed to wallowing in fear and despair.

What’s the best way to prepare? Keep your life simple enough so you are not thrown by unexpected events. Set up support systems, including reading material, friends, groups and natural therapies to help you keep your balance amidst whatever chaos may occur. Care deeply for yourself and love yourself so that you can truly love others, and do what is best for them when called upon.

Conclusion

A few will wake up from storms like Katrina and Rita and become entirely different people. They may look the same, but inside they are changed. They see the world differently. They have given up the purely material life. The change may feel like a religious experience. Or perhaps it is more subtle, a refocusing of their energy. Their lives will take new directions, with new jobs or careers or a new sense of purpose. Perhaps they will design a better home, build a better shelter, or in some way think more about others and less about purely selfish or personal issues.

Storms are among the best vehicles to speed humanity along into a new age of enlightenment. We will again learn how to think, how to live and how to survive in the present moment without all the material props. We will learn how to love one another, because it is the right thing to do.

References

M.S. Rain & A. Greystone, Mary Summer Rain on Dreams, Hampton Roads Publishing, 1996.

Dossey, L., Space, Time and Medicine, Shambhala Press, 1982.

 

Dr. Lawrence Wilson has a medical degree and has been in the health field for 25 years. His books include Nutritional Balancing and Hair Mineral Analysis, Legal Guidelines for Unlicensed Practitioners, Healing Ourselves and Manual of Sauna Therapy and The Real Self. He also co-authored Toxic Metals in Human Health and Disease and contributed to The Dangers of Socialized Medicine. www.drlwilson.com or 928-445-7690.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 24, Number 5, October/November 2005

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