Lessons from Natural Disasters

 
Nathan was shocked by what met his eyes! Mud had completely invaded the streets and the cars could barely circulate. Everywhere people implored for help, the look of despair clearly visible on their faces, and the feel of fear and anguish distinctly palpable in the air.
At various times, the taxi driver was forced to stop the car, and Nathan with his heart clenched tight from all the misery he was seeing, asked Simon:
“Why is nature so cruel sometimes? It’s absurd!”
“It is not so much that nature is cruel that it’s absurd in as much as the need for its purpose!” replied Simon.
“What sense could all this have?” Nathan asked, trying to understand Simon’s reasoning.
“Like with any other catastrophe, it’s about the change that it will bring.”
“What change?” asked Nathan, now with curiosity.
“Whenever there are disasters, people have the possibility to develop qualities like courage, compassion, and their capacity to put things into perspective.”
The taxi started moving again. Nathan had difficulty seeing things the way Simon did.
“Can’t we do anything to help them?” he asked.
“Not for the moment, no.” replied Simon.
“Isn’t it precisely now that they need our help?  Nathan insisted.
“It is in the calm and in the silence that follows a disaster that each person can then account and focus on what they need to learn.”
 

I see nature as a living entity, responding to the stimuli around it. It’s also an ever-changing entity, evolving just as we  are…  There are reasons and purposes for everything, and there’s also likely a bigger “plan” in this seemingly chaotic world. What can’t be learned the easy way, is taught the hard way. How true it is that it’s in moments of great disasters that people are reminded of the human basic qualities of the heart: love, togetherness, assistance, compassion, courage, respect, etc…

 

Nature’s Harmony

“How did you learn all this?” He asked Songo.
“Partly by old traditions and partly by experience,” He answered, “I believe in the power of nature and I always try to ensure its harmony.”
“What do you mean by that?” Nathan enquired.
“You will learn by observing me. You only have to see how I treat people to understand how conscious I am of nature.” Songo said.
“What do you mean by being conscious of nature?” Nathan continued.
Songo perceived Nathan’s great interest in the subject. He sat down in the same position as Nathan and mimicked the same hand gestures as the latter while he answered:
“I understand that there exists an infinitely greater power than appears possible to many of us. For that reason, we sometimes call it supernatural. But I, on the other hand, consider it a natural harmony which is accessible to each individual.”
“Many people with a modern concept of life are skeptical about what you call natural harmony, “ Nathan said, “and they see the world more in terms of great chaos.”
“Those people often have a less conscious relationship with nature and they distance themselves from its perfect harmony. They develop a blind faith in technology and have the tendency to believe that in this way they have better control of the future.” Songo answered.
 

All answers lie in nature… Our ancestor’s knew this. Much have we lost with time and with what we believe to be “advances” in science and technology. If you want to use common sense, then sensibly speaking, wouldn’t we be put here with all the resources necessary to sustain us? Sure, there is much learning to do as to what is useful and for what reasons, but then isn’t that the point of life here? To learn? All  answers really DO lie in nature, with its perfect harmony… If only we would stop destroying what is natural and start listening and finding the answers there…

Communion With Nature…

The sky was turning more and more crimson, as the sun began to descend. Nathan went back to the high dune to watch the sunset. Once there, he had an open mind to the power of the images. He remarked that he had overcome hunger and that he was in a state of higher awareness. He could now concentrate with ease, and felt at peace with what was waiting for him. Daylight was coming to an end, and the dunes were taking on the color of dusk. Nathan associated this phenomenon of nature with all his feelings. He not only felt in perfect communion with the sun, but equally with the whole universe.  He perceived intensely the connection between all the elements of the universe, and of all as a whole. Feeling blissful, he lay down on the sand.
 

We are connected with everything and everyone, but there are moments where this connection is so clear! Where we can actually feel ourselves blend in to all that’s around. It is not necessarily a “feeling”, but more a state of Being, where we feel like we are the sun, the mountains, the ocean, the trees, everything, and the “feeling”  is an immensely blissful one. These are the moments where we are truly in reality, and where we’re truly ourselves, our essence, …where we’re truly “aware”.

Controlling the Environment

It seems that mankind has developed an ever increasing desire to control their environment. What is your opinion?

The desire for control is cultivated within us from an early age, and further encouraged by our socialization process. In the competitive society that we live in, we‘ve been taught that controlling our environment is the key to success. Although it’s obvious that we need to maintain a certain level of control in some elementary aspects of our life, many of us feel that control is the ultimate tool for success in any area of life. Clearly, control cannot have a satisfying conclusiveness since we’re constantly competing with an opponent, Nature, who also seeks control. And so the desire for control leads to endless competition and maintains the illusion that there must be winners and losers. This illusion is the source of the preconceptions that engender competitive thoughts and actions. By being aware of this, we can surrender our desire to control, and therefore find mental clarity.

Nature being Threatened

Your novel is, amongst other things, a human adventure experienced through natural elements. However, today, nature and its very existence are being threatened. What do you see as a solution to this problem?

The answer to your question can be summarized briefly: we need to reassess human greed. Looking back in history, man lived in harmony with nature for many years, but then a sense of ownership developed, and this resulted in exploitation of all our natural resources. In order to increase our prosperity we’ve abused these natural resources, and the consequences are being seen and felt today, and will be for generations to come. Given the limitless greed of humans, the earth has begun to respond, because just like human bodies, the earth is a biological organism with an intricate level of balance, and so when its balance is disrupted, it reacts. The only solution is a better relationship with nature, and a change in our behavior, so that balance can be restored. We need to review and change those aspects of human behavior that seek to satisfy unlimited desires- all which stem from greed- and to adapt new behaviors that respect the limited resources of our planet.

Environmental Movements

What is your general opinion on environmental movements?

Although I’m glad that these movements exist, I am aware that not all of their members share the same objectives. What mankind needs most in order to learn to respect nature is to be attentive to what nature is experiencing and, in this way, gain an understanding of their own nature. I don’t underestimate the support of well guided initiatives, and the positive impact they can have on both the environment and our behavior, but I feel that having contact that is exclusively intellectual only leads to a rational relationship with nature. A sensory relationship, on the other hand, allows us to contemplate and become aware of the fact that there is indeed no separation between humans and nature. This form of contemplative awareness has the benefit of providing us with a universal insight, one that, by far, transcends all rational value systems. I hope that a day will come where no legislation is needed to protect the balance of ecology, and that future generations grow to have an innate respect for nature.