The laws of nature are not ours to control or even fully understand. Earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes and other violent forces of earth do not intend harm. They are simply responses to a delicate and often mysterious order of purpose and design that operates beyond our manipulation.
Sometimes we do effect our environment by the pollutants we pour into it, by the ravaging of our forests, by the construction of nuclear or other huge facilities filled with poison toxins, and by our greedy misconception that we own the earth and can do with it whatever we please.
The world is also dangerous because of disease, famine, and war. War being one of the most destructive and disgraceful acts we humans do to one another. We have not evolved much since the days of Cain and Abel when jealousy murdered innocence and one man's pride destroyed his own brother.
The horror and sorrow in Japan. The brutal mess in the Middle East. The endless dysfunction here in our political system. It can all be discouraging and overwhelming.
Happy words won't fix any of this. Waving a Bible over it all is useless. Hoping it will just go away is delusional. Turning our backs and pretending it doesn't exist is cowardly.
What we can do is this:
1. Try to understand our world and how it works.
2. Believe in the power of science and respect the laws of nature.
3. Accept the differences in people, cultures, religions.
4. Don't expect perfection in anything or anyone.
5. Embrace the mysteries of life.
6. Realize questions are just as valuable as answers.
7. Stop waiting for God or some other force to do what we should be doing for others.
8. Treat our environment with the care it deserves.
9. Pay attention to the hurts of others.
10.Take time to listen more to what people are really saying and feeling.
Andrew Cohen, in his book, Enlightenment Is a Secret, has written, "There is a place in all of us that has remained innocent, uncorrupted and untouched by the world. We have to locate that most delicate place. It is a very sensitive place; it’s where we feel love—where tenderness and compassion arise, free from self-interest."
It is difficult to go there in times like the ones we are living through. But it is essential to our survival. And if we make the effort it will carry us through.
© 2011 Timothy Moody