by Celia Coates
A friend who had a house in the hills outside of Los Angeles kept a “grab and go kit” stashed near the front door in case an earthquake or wildfire forced her to leave in a hurry. It held the usual essentials for a few days away from a home, a home that might not be there when she returned. She included some legal papers, cell phone and charger, a change of clothes, prescription medicine, matches, a flashlight, and food for her cat. (The cat carrier was in the hall closet.) I live in an area without those dangers but I have a portable quick-leave pack, one that also holds a photo album since I’d regret losing memories that disasters can quickly sweep away.
But what kind of grab and go kit do we need for the dangers we are facing now? I have a few ideas, but no single answer. This post includes a cluster of quotes and reflections that are helping me prepare for what’s going on.
The Dalai Lama wrote this,
“Since periods of great change such as the present one come so rarely in human history, it is up to each of us to make the best use of our time to help create a happier world.”
Great change is certainly part of this time, but what could the best use be?
No source of wisdom has been too humble for me to ignore – so here’s advice painted on a coffee mug I saw in a discount store,
“Own less, Be more.”
Disasters can show us what really matters.
Then, this week, The Association for Research and Enlightenment (The A.R.E.) sent a thought for the day,
“For, know that each soul constantly meets its own self. No problem may be run away from. Meet it now!” (Cayce Reading 1204-3)
Before thinking further about the Dalai Lama’s advice that we create a happier world, I found I had to meet the fear I’m feeling. Last week’s NEW SCIENTIST magazine published some research findings about people who go missing in the wilderness and the terrible decisions they make that often result in their never being found:
“…there is plenty of evidence that high levels of stress affect the cognitive functions needed for wayfinding.” And, “The extreme stress of being lost makes it impossible to reason.”
Before I gear up, I need to calm down. That’s hard when the fear is strong and panic is contagious. So, first I’m trying to find stillness, to focus, to assess what the real danger is, and then to make some choices of my own about what’s facing all of us now. It’s only been weeks since we learned of the most recent danger – the new corona virus – that has been added to the standing problems of climate change, political uproar, and wars around the world. What we have to face now is not local or time-limited in the way earthquakes or wildfires are.
I found the next piece of wisdom in a quote of dancer, Martha Graham,
“The body is a sacred garment. It’s your first and last garment; it is what you enter life in and what you depart life with, and it should be treated with honor.”
In emergencies we have to begin with ensuring our own physical survival. To help us with the threat of Covid19, we need to collect informed good sense (knowledge about how the virus spreads) and some new habits (wearing masks). Earthquakes and wildfires make us flee our homes. This new virus could lead to quarantines that would confine us inside them – a whole new problem!
This may be a time when knowing about non-physical reality is what is needed for true security. Here’s wisdom from Carl Jung,
“For the unconscious always tries to produce an impossible situation in order to force the individual to bring out his very best. Otherwise one stops short of one’s best, one is not complete, one does not realize oneself. What is needed is an impossible situation where one has to renounce one’s own will and one’s own wit and do nothing but wait and trust to the impersonal power of growth and development.
We can begin with interest in our own survival and then the ongoing impossible situation might drive us to grow and develop further. It’s a measure of psychological maturity when we become involved with helping others: we could become involved in the physical survival of other people. Here’s a story that creates, for me, a good image of what is needed,
“Dozens of beachgoers in Panama City, Fla., saved a family of six and four others from drowning by forming a human chain from sea to shore. The stranded swimmers had been swept from the shore by strong rip currents.” (TIME, July 24, 2017 p. 8)
We could join together to form human chains – communities – to meet our needs.
Then there’s wisdom from pioneering psychologist William James,
“Our normal waking consciousness is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different.”
In the New Testament it’s said this way,
“There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” (1 Corinthians 15:35-52)
We need a spiritual grab and go kit as well as a physical one. I asked a friend, Trudy, what she would put in a spiritual kit and she said right away – “meditation.” Yes, and thank goodness there are so many available resources for learning and using meditation. I would also pack in a couple of my favorite prayers. We can each gather what would go into our own kit.
Finally, there are words by Ramakrishna Paramahansa that are good to remember,
“The winds of grace are always blowing, but you have to raise the sail.”
* * * * *
For information about Edgar Cayce and the Association for Research and Enlightenment go to: A.R.E.: EdgarCayce.org.
NEW SCIENTIST, “How to be Found”, by Michael Bond, February29 – March 6, 2020, page 41.
The image that accompanies this post is from Creative Commons Zero.