By Deb Avery
The truth can be found in the middle.
In the middle of drama, politics, religion and all of life’s intense moments, we tend to want to distance ourselves or maybe even hide completely in a safe shelter. Some of us stay out in the elements, allowing the turbulent winds, rain and lightning play havoc with us.
But suppose there is a better way? What if we journeyed inward instead? What if, like the USAF’s mighty WC-130J (the Hurricane Hunter), we journeyed straight into the eye of the storm instead?
It is there, right in the heart of chaos, that you will find truth, clarity, wisdom and peace. Just as a hurricane swirls and radiates outward from a calm stable center, we too can find stability and a sense of peace in the center of every problem we may encounter.
In this age of technology, with media coming at us from all directions, it is sometimes difficult to discern the truth from the emotional charged images and opinionated views coming our way from all directions. Just as inside a hurricane, there are distinct and opposing forces involved.
With a hurricane in nature, there are certain criteria that must be present before formation can occur. Some of those ingredients are warm sea temps, plenty of moisture at low atmospheric levels, light winds throughout the troposphere, and a trigger—such as a weak frontal boundary or easterly wave.
With a political, philosophical or media induced hurricane, we find very similar criteria.
It usually begins with an event that has political, economical or moral repercussions. The waters are warm and ready to incubate, stirring up emotional energy. The resulting energy stirs up strong opinions and views on the subject. There is plenty of moisture to create a soupy mix of discontent.
The media churns up the controversy by picking up these events and broadcasting their distinct view/slant/opinion on the matter. The winds are now blowing in the troposphere.
The trigger can be many things but is usually when one political or religious group begins to blame the other for the issues leading up to event. Finger pointing and blame ensue. Emotions run high. A storm is triggered and forming.
Just as in a natural hurricane, a man-made storm can either develop into a powerful, destructive force that do much damage and even cause death. Or, it can dissipate altogether from a lack of emotional energy or from changing the environment surrounding it.
The natural formation of storms is beyond our control. The most we can do is observe, plan and prepare by mitigating the damage as much as possible. With a man made storm we have more choices—different choices. There are ways of keeping the storm contained and from escalating to dangerous levels. One will only need courage, patience and desire.
This is not an easy task, but it is an effective one which can be learned. With the help of these attributes we can learn to navigate the dangerous storms with love, compassion and clear thinking.
But how do we find that middle way of seeing things? How do we put aside our emotions and see things from different perspectives?
I can only share what has worked for me in my own life.
First of all, do not take events, the words or actions of others, others views or lack of empathy, personal. It is rarely ever personal.
Everyone perceives events from their level of understanding, upbringing, education and many other circumstances in life. No two people see the world exactly the same. Our emotional disposition, genetic make-up and our sense of well being also come into play.
Someone who is comfortable with themselves and their life, is much less defensive than someone who is at odds with themselves and feels insecure, causing them to think that they must prove a point. The more comfortable and secure we are within ourselves, our hearts and minds, the less we will let external events or the opinions of others affect our equilibrium.
We all have triggers.
We have all suffered and experienced emotional issues that cause our windows of perception to fog over at times. But with patience, self-love and love of others, we can learn to step back, clean off our windows and free ourselves from distorted views.
To me, the middle way is an important part of discovering that place of peace that resides even in the most chaotic storms. That center of calm is reachable, but usually, as with the storms themselves, we must first face the destructive forces before we reach this place of calm.
For me, learning self-love, acceptance, a strong sense of gratitude and the desire for the well being of all, has helped me to find my center of calm.
Meditation, education through reading, experiencing different cultures and religions, along with time spent alone in quiet reflection and meditation, have done wonders to help me navigate life’s storms (natural and man-made).
Spending time alone, either in nature, or at least in a quiet space in one’s home, helps to focus on what is here and now. It helps us to recognize the heavy baggage we’ve been carrying around so long. The old, heavy, falling apart bags that are stuffed full of old habits and self-doubt that clouds our vision and cause us to react before we’ve really had a chance to look at a problem from other’s perspectives.
It doesn’t happen overnight. It requires time and patience. It also requires a commitment to ourselves. Neither of which comes easily. There will be times when we hurt deeply from realizations we have attained. There will be times when we really don’t want to return to that place of destructiveness that we must journey through before reaching the calm center.
Usually, just when we think we cannot take any more of the turbulence, the clouds begin to dissipate and the sun comes out. And hopefully will begin seeing clearly—perhaps the first time.
There is a song written by the one and only Jimmy Buffet, as only he can write: I Feel Like Goin’ Surfing in a Hurricane. I think many of you will understand the lyrics on many levels.
I made the first drop and my cojones were in my throat
The second wave hit me
Brother, that’s all she wrote
Upside down, water on the brain
Into the bottom, but feelin’ no pain
Screaming like a seaman, but paddlin’ out again.
I believe, with a lot of practice, we can all learn to surf the hurricanes in life. And I think eventually, we will be able to hang ten and have a little fun while doing so.
Editor: Dana Gornall