Sanity Amid the Storms

Facing uncertainty is guaranteed to come up abundantly in our lives.

The practice of meditation prepares us for the unlikely breezes, as well as the times that are superstorms  of uncertainty; times like now, with Sandy behind us, another storm ahead of us, the election today, and then all the personal times in each of our lives that have the potential to knock us over, and do knock us down.

How we weather the storm is up to us as individuals. As part of a community we can help others weather the storm with kindness and, most importantly, sanity.

What we learn in meditation is that we can sit with our own mental storms. And if we are patient, we can experience space. When the storm has died down, we see the wreckage and decide what is what and where do we go from here. The first instinct may be to run, and we need to assess whether that is knee-jerk reaction or based on facts.

One member of the Shambhala community whose home is in Rockaway got the evacuation notice prior to Sandy and was part of the 25 percent who picked up and left. She moved to the Lower East Side, and when that area lost power, she moved into her workplace, a gallery and apartment on the Upper East Side. She has has been there since, safe and warm, and has yet to be able to get back to her home in Rockaway.

When we spoke the other night, her clear hello was as expected. She had met the storm with intelligence and openness. I knew she would be OK, as she had prepared her mind, long before the losses and uncertainty about her home and her stuff.

This is not to say things are hunky dory, but she is such a fine example of maintaining sanity, and she has been through a lot in the last week.

There are many that are still without homes or power and whose conditions are very painful. Please assess your own situation and then consider what you can do. The paramita of generosity can be financial, it can be made with a physical offering of a helping hand, or you might simply be there as a listener, to hear the troubles of another, to bring some sanity and kindness into the lives of those struggling. If someone is in pain, ask how you might help. So often, people don’t know how to ask, or what to ask for.

These times are opportunities to test what we have learned by sitting on cushions. Take care of yourself and bring some simple sanity to whatever situation you’re in. Goodness can be infectious.

As the titles of books say, Smile at Fear, Rest in Uncertainty. The time is now.