Saturday, March 19, 2011

Wakeup! Why I Don't Worry and You Shouldn't Either

One of my best friends recommended a great book to me a long time ago. The book is very famous and it was written by Anthony De Mello and it is entitled, Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of RealityIt came in quite handy this last week.
The Beatles - Let it Be
The book is about waking up to reality. It is a book about our spirituality. I think it is a great comfort to those who read it. It has been a great comfort to me.

The publisher describes the book as: 

Using humor, compassion, and insight, the beloved and best-selling Anthony De Mello teaches us to welcome the challenge of knowing ourselves and living the "aware" life.

Mr. De Mello said;

"They (most people) never understand the loveliness and the beauty of this thing we call the human existence. You know, all the mystics - Catholic, Christian, non-Christian, no matter what their theology, no matter what their religion - are unanimous on one thing: that all is well, all is well. Though everything is a mess, all is well. Strange paradox to be sure. But, tragically, most people never get to see that all is well because they are asleep. They are having a nightmare."

The book goes on to discuss the feelings of fear, hate, distrust, anger, love and addiction. It goes on to ask that the reader, whenever they are feeling these emotions, do an exercise and try to view themselves - and their life - from outside of their own bodies as if they were watching a movie.

When you watch a movie and see two people fighting and getting angry or emotional, you do not get so riled up and involved. It is, after all, just a movie. As a movie, then, you can observe with a detachment that is very beneficial to your spirit. But, when you do not detach, when you are one of the people who is doing the fighting, then you become attached and engulfed and emotions such as anger, hate and fear cloud your thinking.

During this crisis in Japan, I made the attempt, on more than several occasions, to separate me - who I really am - from my physical self. Whenever I felt worried, I would try to view myself and my life and these occurrences from outside of my body. 

It was a great help to me to stay calm and make decisions. You can bet that decisions made while fear or panic engulf your emotions are probably not good decisions at all. In fact, they, most likely, wind up being extremely counter-productive.   

Some will criticize this sort of thinking. I don't care. I know that nothing bad is going to happen to me. 

Oddly, many of those who do criticize me for this kind of thinking are also those who will believe and claim that, "Everything happens for a reason." If so, then, that means that everything in life is predetermined. I won't deny or agree with this statement. I think it doesn't matter. 

Of course we must make calm and logical decisions on how to protect ourselves and make sure our loved ones are safe, right? Exactly! And that is the point of this essay. How can one make calm and level-headed decisions while being swallowed up by unfounded fears and panic?

The best decisions are the ones made in a cool and collected frame of mind; not when your animal and primitive fears kick in for a fight or flight response. I've always admired people who are wise, silent and calm. Think about that again, when do people make rash decisions? When they are emotional. Being in a state of agitated emotions is not conducive to making logical - nor wise - decisions.

Is there anyone who can argue this point?

I've always hoped that I could climb that mountain and be like one of those wise, patient and kind few someday.

I know in my heart that this terrible tragedy will pass. I feel so sorry for those who have suffered. Now, we must try to help alleviate this suffering - especially for the children - by helping out in any way we can. 

Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality is a great book that can help you to become the person that you've always wanted to be. It can help you to become what you should be. It can help you soar to the heights that you never imagined. 

The foreword to the book has a parable that applies to everyone. It goes like this:

A man found an eagle's egg and put it in a nest of a barnyard hen. The eaglet hatched with a brood of chicks and grew up with them.

All his life the eagle did just what the barnyard chicks did, thinking he was a barnyard chicken.  He scratched the earth for worms and insects. He clucked and cackled. And he would thrash his wings and fly a few feet into the air.

Years passed and the eagle grew very old. one day he saw a magnificent bird above him in the cloudless sky. It glided in graceful majesty among the powerful wind currents, with scarcely a beat of its strong wings.

The old eagle looked up in awe. "Who's that?" he asked.

"That's the eagle, the king of birds," said his neighbor. "He belongs to the sky. We belong to the earth - we're chickens." So the eagle lived and died a chicken, for that's what he thought he was."

I whole-heartedly recommend Awareness to everyone who has been touched by recent events in Japan - even if they are thousands of miles away.


Finally, besides helping ourselves, many thousands of men, women and children who desperately need assistance after the big earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Won't you help out?

Thanks to my dear friend, Ira Hata


JT said...

Fight or flight are instinct, rather than emotion, its embedded in your DNA. I would say it is more like fight, flight or surrender.

Some in Japan will leave (flight), some will stock food, water, etc (fight) and others will continue life like nothing happened (surrender).

What makes us Human is the ability to imagine and rationalize. These traits can enable us to do great things and at the same time can have the opposite effect.

John said...


Your assertion elsewhere about the trust of governments is well taken. The numbers were lies at Chernobyl, as well as Three Mile Island.

And I also remember fighting for eighteen years to close a faulty-by-design facility in California---Rancho Seco. It would have killed millions in the Sacramento area if not for the actions of local citizens.

Are you considering---even for a moment---that you and your family should move far away? Possible return to the US? My friends at the Union of Concerned Scientists are fearful for the long term and cumulative effects of the poison.