Vector8 Journals

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Are Natural Disasters Acts of God?

"Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling." (Psalm 91: 9-10)
Given the recent floods and earthquake in Asia, I know the question must be on many people's lips: why do disasters happen? If there is a God, why does He let these disasters take place. Would a God of Love allow these tragedies? I want to give my perspective on what is going on behind the scenes, but before I do, a little shaggy dog story, which is very relevant I assure you. (smile)

It's Christmas Eve and I'm walking home. It's started to rain. In the last six months I've only had my umbrella out four times because I prefer dry weather; I always seem to be indoors, on a bus or somewhere else when it is raining. As I don't wish to get wet I put up my umbrella, grumbling to myself about the weather. There is a sudden gust of wind. I struggle with the wind, trying to point my umbrella in the right direction so my umbrella won't break. What am I doing playing around with the wind? I am Peace! Where there is peace there is only stillness. The rain and wind stop in an instant. There is not a single drizzle or wind for the duration of my ten minute walk home.

Later that night, early Christmas morning, I'm watching the movie, Gone With the Wind. It's the type of movie where you can fall asleep, wake up and you will be able to catch up on the story. Besides, I've seen it enough times already. I am only interested in the final scene when Rhett Butler says the famous line: "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn." So I fall asleep. I wake up to a scene in the middle of the civil war. I think to myself that the war represents mortal mind. If you think about people and events as thoughts and ideas emanating from mind, then mind must be very chaotic to manifest as the many wars in human history. I watch part of the movie and fall asleep again. When I wake up the movie is almost over. Damn! I've missed Rhett Butler's line, but I manage to catch Scarlett say "Tomorrow is another day."

It's the next day, Boxing Day. I have a thought that I should watch the news as they often try to have "good" news around Christmas. There's news about the Tsunami in Asia. As events unfold I can see that is mortal mind that is unfolding not Radiant/Christ Mind. I can see that it is the fear and disharmony in mind that has been manifested as this disaster. You can never tell how or when disharmony will manifest. Only last week, a man in the neighbouring town from where I live went about stabbing people at random. It turned out the man lives on the same road I lived, when I first came to London. And then there was the flash floods in Boscastle, Cornwall, earlier this year. There weren't any fatalities but there was lots of chaos. You never know how these things are going to manifest, but they do eventually.

Incidentally, on the same night as the news of the Tsunami, there was a movie I watched called The Man Who Sued God starring Billy Connolly. Connolly's character, Steve Myers, has a boat that is struck by lightning. The insurance company refuses to pay out claiming they do not cover Acts of God. Myers, who is also a lawyer, takes God's representatives i.e. the religious establishments to court. The irony is that God's representatives are caught in an impasse; for them to win, they will have to prove God does not exist. Myers is supported by many others whose insurance claims had been rejected because of "Acts of God." During the trial, Myers falls in love with a fellow plaintiff. There is a scene when they are about to make love. The next scene shows bubbling waves symbolic of the couple's ecstatic union, no doubt. Interesting how water can represent so many things: flash floods, tsunami are symbolic of disharmony in mind; fountains and bubbling water signify a couple making love, etc.

Myers decides he's going to give up on the fight. He says he doesn't think God, who is everywhere, destroyed his boat. He said that in any case, something good has come out of the disaster, he's fallen in love. The next thing you know a white bird that resembles a dove flies through the court windows and stands on a table in front of the judge. It is actually a cockatoo. The bird says "hello" and flies out again. Was this God confirming He was pleased Myers had given up the case?

Back to the matter in hand about the recent disaster. Would a God of Love create such suffering? If God is everywhere, why would such a disaster take place? I see things on two levels.

On one level, I see freewill at work. Love doesn't judge. We are allowed to think "fearful" thoughts and under cause and effect, what you have in thought is made manifest in unpredictable ways. Love cannot take away that Freedom of thought from man. Man has to realise through repeated experiences that there is another way. If he wishes a peaceful life, he has to choose a peaceful state of mind.

On another level, there is the Radiant/Perfect/Christ Mind that I experience as inner silence and peace. When you are operating from that Consciousness, harmony is what is experienced. This harmony doesn't fight against itself. This harmony inspires beauty and order in society, even in nature.

"...when the self is in communion with a higher power, nature automatically obeys, without stress or strain, the will of man. This effortless command over nature is called 'miraculous' by the uncomprehending materialist." Autobiography of a Yogi
My point here is that disasters are a manifestation of disharmony in mind. No one is to blame, it is just the nature of mortal mind which is filled with contradictory beliefs of good versus evil; right versus wrong etc; it is a mind that is self-destructive. Unless man realises his nature as Peace, unless man comes to know his innate self as stillness, man will continue to experience life as up and down, gain and losses, pain and pleasure, good and evil, which are unpredictable. Only those who are aware of a power, the only real power, will be protected from disasters and the like.

I saw a man being interviewed on the news who was caught in the Tsunami in Phuket. He said the water had reached his neck and he thought he was going to drown, but he prayed. He said luckily for him the water moved away from him leaving him dry. He was then able to escape. The man realised at that moment that there was a Power greater than what was going on around him and he was saved. He calls it luck, but I call it Mind expressing harmony when called upon.

"A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked." (Psalm 91: 7-8)
I expect there are going to be different reasons people will come up with for these disasters. The scientists are going to blame these disasters on global warming or El Nino. The religionists are going to say calamities signify the second coming of Christ. Others will claim disasters occur to teach us how to love one another and that "good" will always come out of "evil," just like in the above movie, Myers found love. Be that as it may. I see the disasters as manifestations of the fear within mortal mind.

In truth none of these disasters are happening within the Perfect Mind. Can Perfection manifest that which it is not? I believe Harmony is All There Is. Whatever is projected from Harmony has to be like Harmony, and disasters don't fit the bill.

Like everything, it's a matter of choice. Do you choose to let your life be a demonstration of Perfect Mind or is it from the dual mind where anything can happen.

While my thoughts and love go out to people affected by the disaster or those who see the disaster as real, I know that the best I can do is to be still and know who I am.

I am Stillness,

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