Seeing great suffering makes me question how I can create the world I envision—one based on love and truth. Does my meditating help? Can I do anything to help the world move toward peace?
Trying to fall asleep one night, I unloaded this heartbreak during a meditation. I felt myself drift into a vivid dream so realistic that it felt like more of a memory.
In the dream, my boyfriend and I stepped onto a public bus at the top of a hill. We sat down in the first row, across the aisle from the driver. Looking out the window, we saw a tsunami headed our way. More than any other natural disaster, tsunamis terrify me because there’s nowhere to hide. I love the ocean, and the idea of it surging up against me feels like the ultimate betrayal.
Despite seeing the wave, it didn’t feel like a threat. Even when it came closer, I worried for the people walking on the street—not thinking about its potential to hit me. Before I knew it, the tsunami hit the broad side of the bus with full force. It knocked the bus onto its rear, with the vehicle (almost) completely submerged in water. Every row on the bus was underwater except for the one I sat on in the front. We were completely dry and facing upward.
For a few seconds, we laid with our backs against the seats, looking at the blue sky through the windshield in shock. What could we do? We were stuck in our seatbelts, and everyone was drowning. My boyfriend suggested we lean forward to shift the weight of the bus forward. We pulled ourselves up a few inches. Despite the laws of physics, our small movement had an exponential impact, causing the entire bus to come back upright, almost like a Disney ride. The water drained from the bus, and it floated on top of the water effortlessly.
Our fellow bus riders were only submerged for a few seconds, so instead of drowning, they were just “dunked.” Soaking wet and shocked, but okay. Another wave came, and the same thing happened. The other riders were underwater for a little longer, but my boyfriend and I pulled ourselves up an extra inch or two. The bus righted itself again.
After a few minutes, the water completely cleared from the hill and everyone got out safely onto the road. It felt like a dream within a dream—people shook off their wet clothes and went along their day as if nothing had happened.
Leaning forward was such a simple act, and it barely took any time or exertion. But in a key moment, it defied the laws of physics.
When I feel helpless or overwhelmed, I bring myself back to this metaphor. I remember that I don’t have to feel daunted by whatever I am up against because even the tiniest shifts can defy understanding. Through the smallest contributions—a minute of meditation, a moment of compassion, or one conscious action—I align myself with a power greater than myself.
This dream helped me to recognize that by leaning forward into love (even slightly), we can make an exponential impact on the lives of people who are more vulnerable than us. By honoring our power as individuals, we can tip the scales, undoing the effects of a disaster, even when it is already underway.
In that sense, our biggest challenge is not any action itself, it’s choosing not to underestimate our power to affect our communities by being the change we want to see in the world. In the smallest ways, we can move mountains—and tsunamis, too.
God is My Sherpa by Kimberly Allis 11/1/16
Today I received a text from my friend:
Good morning! I will be handling all your problems today so have fun and enjoy. I love you.
If only it were true. Sometimes it feels like we are climbing Mount Everest without a Sherpa or an oxygen tank—bills, kids, disagreements with friends, problems at work, your name spelled wrong on your Starbucks coffee—we have all been there. Many times I have wished I could clone myself and get everything done—only I know if I were able to do that the problems would double (plus, I would have to feed and house my clone—and let’s not even talk about her sharing my wardrobe—she’s already annoying me). We are always running, distracted—our only free time is in bed at night the moment before we pass out. It is hard to squeeze in “mindfulness.”
Yet I know that without taking the time to meditate and connect to our higher power (and by that I mean the Big Guy), we become depleted and ungrounded and then everything goes sideways. And by “we” I mean me.
Meditation is that “little” thing I’m supposed to fit in, yet I always find a way to put it off, rationalizing that I’ll find time “later.” It’s easy to make excuses—and I do—only to my detriment. This past summer I felt that little voice nagging me to take five minutes to meditate every day. My distracted mind chose not to take notice, pushing the many messages into my mindfulness spam folder. God is patient with all of His children, but as I have learned too many times, when I ignore the messages, the messages get louder. This summer I felt myself becoming increasingly ungrounded and detached from my power source. Inevitably, God sent me a message I could not ignore.
On a rainy night in August I was barbequing with a few friends and I slipped on my wet flip flop, rolled my ankle and broke my left foot in three places. Unlike most sensible people, I figured a day or two of bed rest would fix it, and then I would run back to my busy life. I limped on my broken foot for 3 weeks before opting for an x-ray, and then ran out of the office before the doctor had time to tell me just how bad the break was and that I needed to be on crutches, immediately! God provided me with a medical excuse to slow down—maybe even to fit in a meditation, but it took me three weeks of resistance before I surrendered.
Instead of taking the easy way out and letting God be my sherpa, I decided the drunken, groggy guy at the base of the mountain (my ego) would be a better bet. I have this image of God putting his head in his hands and thinking, “This one has always been trouble.” Still, like the mother who loves you even after you track mud through her house, God is always patiently waiting for me to walk through His doors.
Recently I heard Spirit say:
God is the beautiful white light streaming through a stained glass window, filling the room with gorgeous color. You are that stained glass window; all you need to do is allow God’s light to shine through you.
God is handling all of our problems. If we remember to allow His Love to be our light, He will gently lead the way. And if you run into that drunken, groggy guy on the dirt road, meditate on it before agreeing to let him guide you up the mountain. God just might have a better solution.