Lessons from the deluge

As lives are rebuilt, there are many stories of survival, community spirit, heroism

Every natural catastrophe, no matter how devastating, is not without its lessons. The recent deluge in Chennai following the heaviest rain in a century has been a great teacher. For those who were taken by surprise in the stealth of the night when the water entered their homes and the levels rose steadily, there was no time to think. For others who came within touching distance of such a calamity and had a crisis looming large, it was certainly not easy preparing for the eventuality to leave at short notice. There were many questions to grapple with.

What was one to take and safeguard from out of one’s belongings — papers/documents, books, clothes, jewellery...or other priceless things that one couldn’t put a price tag on? That was the moment of awakening, so to speak, for it drove home the importance of leading a simple life and not hoarding and developing attachments towards our material possessions.

Yet another important concern was that of safeguarding lives over materials. Which is why, for families with infants, young children and elders, it was a question of putting themselves last and ensuring the safety of others before everything else.

Beyond this, the fear of being uprooted from one’s home was so real. Of all the displacements in life, this is the one that hits hardest. For the home is the sanctuary we all retire to day after day and the space we call our own. Looked at in a spiritual sense, it opened one’s eyes to the fact that nothing is permanent and everything is transient. The world belongs to everyone and yet no one. Whatever sense of ownership we think we have is only illusory and can be over and done with in seconds. We are all only temporary custodians and it is our prime duty to safeguard whatever we can.

For many who have lost their homes and everything in it, life has been turned upside down, in the flash of a second. Huddling in a relief centre with hundreds of others, being dependent for their every need on strangers can crush the spirit.

Faced with uncertainty, it is a question of starting life all over again from scratch and rebuilding it brick by brick, reclaiming livelihoods and picking up the pieces wherever possible. This is a very painful experience but has its learning as well. Of hanging in there, not giving up, staying resilient and keeping one’s faith and hope strong.

The writer is a Reiki channel, yoga practitioner and a spiritual seeker

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( Source : deccan chronicle )
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