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Inspirational, Informative, and General Reading

Why is Nature Angry? And Other Unanswerable Questions

by Laura Turner

First hurricanes, then the tsunami. The swell of emotion is insurmountable. Thoughts of tragedy and images of loss in everyone’s minds and on their lips. Moreover, these feelings and phases of denial-anger-regret have been, as of late, far too prevalent.

So what of these acts of nature? How do we define them? And whether or not we’ve lost someone to them, none are exempt from tremors of sadness about them. Yet if indeed there are these natural laws of cause and effect, as a scientist, I have some burning questions!

Of course, I couldn’t begin to answer these universal questions alone. No one could. Therefore, as my normal practice, I query my bookshelf for answers – this time in hopes of finding a source of comfort or perhaps some modicum of understanding.

Q1: Why Do Bad Things Happen?

For the answer to this question, there is only one author I would consider: Rabbi Harold Kushner. Rabbi Kushner tells us in “When Bad Things Happen To Good People,” often things in our lives just “happen.” It is we who give these happenings meaning.

On page 136 Rabbi tells us it is we who give tragedy meaning: “not by asking, why did this happen to me?” For as he puts it: “the better question would be: Now that this has happened to me, what am I going to do about it?”

My translation? If we can let go of the past and focus on the moment and what it holds – we can go forth into the future with anticipation. We do this by searching for ways to make a positive impact. Then, through our relationship to the tragedy (and controlling what we can) there is promise of invoking positive change. When we embrace the present, we may then as Rabbi puts it, “affirm life.”

Q2: Does Every Problem Have a Solution?

I’d like a concrete answer to this one, please. And so I chose Dr. Wayne W. Dyer’s “There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem.” I randomly open the book to page 118 to see what he has to tell. Here is the passage I’m drawn to: “Mortal sense needs to yield to make room for spiritual awareness.”

Okay, so what does this mean? Here's my guess (oops, sorry, scientists call this "speculation"): in this passage Dr. Dyer explains that we all must remind ourselves of our “source.” And in trusting our source's power we “yield” our troubles over to our creator.

I do find deep comfort in this. Take home message: If we stop in the midst of a tragedy, reminding ourselves of the illusion of the mortal world, we can turn our problems over by way of positive thoughts and Prayer.

Q3: Can I Help Heal The Wounds of Nature?

Yes. How? In a word: compassion. But, how do we define compassion and why is this helpful? True compassion involves empathy – requiring both inner and outer work. It involves your relationship with yourself and through this relationship, your way of viewing the world.

Why is this important? I believe, when we are gentle with ourselves and have compassion for our own personal plight - we can truly come from within and relate to one another.

How do I know this?

At first this concept of compassion was difficult to conceptualize. Again I consulted with my bookshelf. This time I’m lead to Pema Chodron, Buddhist nun. She defines compassion as: “being fully present with the feeling (good or bad).” She also tells us in her book: “When Things Fall Apart,” we must allow ourselves to “feel what we feel” and not suppress, hide or “push it away.”

Compassion brings up many problems for me, however. For to truly be compassionate - Pema explains - one must let go of judgments and versions of our own reality. Then we take a look at what is truly happening. This is a challenge. For, in order to be compassionate, we must embrace our own imperfections. Ouch!

How to do this in a way we all understand? I say: “Do unto others as you would have them, do unto you.”

Q4: How Can I Find Peace In Times Of Loss?

Judith Viorst author of “Necessary Losses” dedicates a good amount of discussion to the topic of “Reconnection.” And a whole chapter (pg. 211) to Faith. How do we reconnect to peace and faith during times of loss?

We must first understand and find peace with the idea that loss is part of life. The good news is (if there is any), loss is indeed a "necessary" thread woven within the the braid of loss and gain. The truth is, loss is inevitable. Yet, it is a functional part of life which leads to growth.

The question Viorst tells us to ask ourselves during these times of loss: “What beauty and gifts do these occasions hold for me?”

(ed. note: Hopefully, with some meditation, I can come to understand and fully embrace this concept.)

Q5: But, Why is Nature Angry?

This is the most difficult of the unanswerable questions and one of which (as a scientist) I could only speculate. (For as I continue to peruse my bookshelf, I find myself continually confused by the information it gives).

And so I give you my closest findings (scientists sometimes do this): Carl Jung, psychoanalyst, and a trusted source of truth, speaks of the “collective unconscious” in all his books (far too many to mention here).

Agreed, this begs the question "What does this have to do with anything?" I say: If the collective unconscious is the connected place inside all of our minds and hearts, it could have everything to do with everything.

Here I will have to go out on a limb (scientists sometimes do this, too) and speculate that most will give testament to the existence of the collective unconscious - as well as the power of prayer and energy of thought. With these hypotheses, then: I leave you with this:

Could we imagine:

The deep unrest of our unconscious could "collectively" cause a natural disaster of such proportion?

Could the state of the world as it is and our collective discontent be a powerful enough force to literally move the earth from its axis?

And thus this scientist signs off, closing her study and handing the baton off to you (yes, we do this very often). Yet, before you decide your own answer to the unanswerable, pause for just one last moment to ponder:

If this hypothesis is true -- imagine what loving each other could do?

***This Article is dedicated to all who have been affected in hearts and lives by the tsunami.

See Also:

Are You Living Life to the Fullest?
Many people are worried about dying. Their worry can keep them from fully enjoying life in the present. But for other people, the knowledge that they will die someday actually motivates them to live more fully!

Dealing with Trials & Tribulations
Look on your life as a lesson that your soul is learning, a spiritual lesson that transcends the intellect.

Moments In Life
There are moments in life when you miss someone so much that you just want to pick them from your dreams and hug them for real!

Suffering - A Christian Perspective
From the most ancient days, man has asked again and again why there is suffering in life. If God is loving and compassionate why is there so much suffering in this world?

A Prayer Service for Victims of the Asian Tsunami

A Tsunami Blessing

More Inspirational Articles


Copyright © 2005 Laura Turner

Laura Turner is a writer and author. She publishes the bi-weekly New Body News and Wellness Letter, The Online Magazine Healthy People Read. ( http://www.new-body-news.com ) Subscribe  and receive her Special Report: "Take Charge of Your Health!"

 

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