This morning I was thinking about the families in Southern Illinois who are living with the devastation of the recent tornado.
It occurred to me that these same people were likely watching the news just days prior, and feeling so sad for all those affected by the devastation of the Typhoon that recently hit the Philippines. I’m sure that not once did any of them think that perhaps the very next day their own lives might be smashed to pieces in the same way. And admittedly, when I see both of these tragedies on the news, I cannot fathom that this will be my life tomorrow.
I think that all of us live in a bit of a delusion, thinking that our lives are safe and secure. But all of us most be aware that devastation has hit our lives in the past, and likely will hit again. Perhaps, some of you are facing extreme circumstances right now. A situation that seems unbearable and unending. Certainly the loss of a loved one falls into this scenario, but there are so many other situations that can feel this way. Divorce, foreclosure, mental illness, physical disability, all can seem every bit as powerful and insurmountable. Our perspective is typically limited by our own sphere of comprehension and vision. What we experience feels very personal to us. Separate and disconnected, our problems become the only problem.
And fair or not, I think we all fall into this trap of selfishness and clinging.
In my daily practice, I remind myself constantly that this is not me, this is not mine, and this is not the self. Simple words with a deeply profound meaning. Because it is a constant reminder of impermanence as well as letting go of attachment and the personalization of all things. Which does not mean to be distant or lacking compassion. In fact by letting go, we have the opportunity to see beyond the confines of our limited view. The view that is created and supported by ego and separation. With great mindfulness, we can instead begin to live in a way that becomes stronger than mere words, and can truly become a ship for those with an ocean to cross.
Perhaps today I can do more to live the words that I practice. To be aware of my own situations and feelings, but without attaching to them or feeding them as some sort of separate entity. Understanding that this is life, and there is suffering. And the insecurity of life is one that does not go away, and is not ours alone. It applies to all living beings in every corner of this World. And connecting to that truly means to be a servant to all in need.
I don’t mean this in a preachy way at all, but one that I think needs to be a foundation of practice. Because of all the nice words and meditation in the World don’t amount to a hill of beans if it’s not lived genuinely and profoundly. Wholesome thoughts, producing loving intentions filled with goodwill and acceptance, put into action with deeds that are a natural outpouring of a generous heart filled with compassion. Beginning with a deep unconditional love for ourselves, we each have the power to change the World. One breath at a time. Devastation is always just another opportunity to connect more closely to one another.