Our world faces a true planetary emergency. I know the phrase sounds shrill, and I know it's a challenge to the moral imagination - Al Gore


image by: Jason Bain

The earthquake in Japan moved the axis of the earth some 6.5 inches. In our sleep, maybe, we could feel it tearing, rending us beyond measure. "Enough," we want to shout, wanted to shout after September 11, Katrina, Indonesia, Haiti, Iceland, Chile and New Zealand. Earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes and now nuclear meltdowns. We are raw and hurting.

Despite what it looks like and what we've been told, we are not really separate and apart from each other. Einstein called that mistaken belief an "optical delusion," adding, "Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."

That child in the iconic picture with hands up and beautiful, frightened face being checked for radiation could be anyone's child, a child we love. In the book I co-authored, "Verbal First Aid: Help Your Kids Heal From Fear and Pain and Come Out Strong," we devote a chapter to preparing children for the unexpected. How can we talk to them about being ready for the worst without scaring or scarring them?

Studies show that in an emergency only 15 percent of us may remain clear-headed. That means 85 percent either panic or wander around, dazed and confused. Experts on fear and survival point out the two skills we need in an emergency:

  • The practical skill acquired by mental rehearsal
  • A solid and confident sense of intuition

The mental rehearsal part is literal. It is about making a "folder" in your mind about what to do in an emergency so that if fight, flight or freeze puts you on "automatic," you have a program to follow. When you look at the instructions card in an airplane, you are more likely to move to an exit in a crash landing. In "The Unthinkable," Amanda Ripley writes that many of those who survived the September 11 disaster had been given endless fire drills in advance and knew that the Tower roof doors were locked, and knew the best ways out. She says that who survives very often depends on this mental preparedness...

The second skill we need in an emergency, intuition, means tuning inward to connect with your own inner wisdom and the larger whole of which we are a part. Let me add here that what we are feeling and thinking at such times can affect not only our own safety and our memory of the event, but it can affect outcomes beyond our heads and hearts.

Cell biologist Bruce Lipton speaks of actually being able to measure that we are not really separate and apart, that thoughts are things and that what we are thinking can affect the world. "Field influencing electromagnetic broadcasts from our hearts have been shown to entangle with the hearts of others in the field," he writes in "Spontaneous Evolution." He says that using magnetoencephalography, we can read the brain's neural energy patterns outside the body, providing, "physical proof that brain activity is broadcast into the environment."

And there's one more beautiful piece to this puzzle. When Victor Frankl wrote that "self-actualization is possible only as a side-effect of self-transcendence," he was suggesting thinking beyond yourself, which is a call to unconditional love.

So what can we do when the earth and our hearts break open? We can prepare and support our children, we can contribute time and money as we are able, and we can send outpourings from our hearts through the field to Japan and wherever there is hurt and injury, knowing that we are all connected as vessels of love, envisioning blessings and, as a bonus, receiving wisdom, compassion and, who knows, maybe even self-actualization in return.

Source: Judith Simon Prager, PhD, Excerpt from When the Earth and the Heart Break Open, Huff Post, November 17, 2011.

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Last Updated : Wednesday, December 29, 2021