Monday, October 29, 2012

Real Life Tao - The Tempests of Life

Trey Smith

One hundred years ago Hurricane Sandy would have caught those along the Atlantic seaboard off-guard. Yes, some might have had an inkling of the storm's mammoth size and ferocity, but chances are great that most people would have been caught ill-prepared and the loss of life would have been significant.

With our advances in science, the world has been able to watch as Sandy has plotted its course toward the mid-Atlantic states. We now fly planes into hurricanes to record the pressure and wind speeds. We employ a variety of computer models that predict the path of such storms. Both government and the media have focused on the coming tempest in such a way to warn people of the impending dangers.

We are now able to track storms of this nature because of our ever-broadening viewpoint. Satellites and other technological advances allow us to pull away from the earth to see the "big picture." It is because our vision is not as myopic as before that we can prepare and gird ourselves for the coming fury that will envelope us.

There is a lesson here. In our own lives, we often are too close to the matter of our deepest affections -- ourselves! Like Zhuangzi's well-frog (from Chapter 17 or this post by Scott), we imprison ourselves in our own little worlds. We don't allow ourselves to see beyond the confines of the well.

Because our vision is so focused on that which is close up, we often don't notice the tempests swirling around us. When they methodically slam into us, we are caught completely off-guard and we flail about as we try to find higher ground.

If only we would learn to take a broader view of life -- to see beyond the constrictions of ego -- we could see the tempests of life approaching and take the necessary actions to calm the clouds before they can blow up into storms.

This post is part of a series. For an introduction, go here.

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