Last Saturday, we were hit by a fierce cyclone.
It happened in the early morning at around 6:30AM. I heard rattling all around the house and the sound of the wind roaring, battering the roof. The electricity went down for about 40 minutes and so I had to do my morning Yoga by candlelight.
The whole thing was a short-lived affair of about half an hour at most. Yet, when I opened the blinds on one of my windows, the view looked strangely different.
I could see more of the landscape than I was used to.
“No, it can’t be,” I said to myself, and then rapidly slipped my shoes on and headed downstairs for a closer check.
Two adjacent trees at the border of my garden, fully 11 meters tall or more, had been knocked over and were lying in the roadway, completely blocking it. Moreover I later discovered that another tree of similar size, further up the line had started to move, and was now leaning perilously against the tree next to it.
The road is a private one connecting the five houses on this hillside. Still, it was not long before the first car came down from the house above to find out that this was the end of the journey.
So now, I had an unexpected major project on my hands. The morning was spent phoning around to see who could do the job of moving the trees and cutting down the leaning one before it collapsed of its own accord. I had no idea how much this would cost and had to therefore be careful who I chose.
It soon transpired that mine were not the only trees in the area to be affected. My neighbor lost three trees. In a nearby cemetery, only 20% of the trees in a row remained. Two fallen trees were blocking the road to the local town. And the local elementary school had lost 30 square meters of tiles from the roof.
Happily, I was able to find a company to clear the trees. They were dragged away by a large tractor with a heavy steel cord to the junction of the road at around 9:15AM. However, then came the bigger job and the tougher decisions…
Several other trees surrounding their fallen comrades showed signs that the earth around their roots had moved. This meant that they too, given their great height, were also at risk of gradually collapsing. If it snowed or rained, that would only accelerate the process.
Hence, two days later and at considerable cost, the same team arrived to cut all of my trees in the front half of the row, i.e. those most affected, to a mere half their former size.
It was a sad day for me because I liked the trees just as they were. I have more of a panoramic view now but it is not a great consolation for the fact that my trees look headless. Plus, there is a huge gap in their ranks where the pair fell. From the road, it looks like a terrorist explosion.
Ironically and very synchronistically, I had been outside the house mere minutes before the trees collapsed, and had suffered a very nasty fall myself. In fact, I slipped and fell sideways onto my right thigh and rib-cage without the support of my arm. In other words, I collapsed just like a tree. It really hurt and knocked the wind out of me. My arm still aches four days later.
I was later taken by this strange synchronicity; namely, that I would symbolically be toppled and fall in the exact same manner as would my two trees just minutes later. In reality, it is not coincidence at all.
Anyway, I think all this serves to teach a spiritual lesson, as indeed all events in our lives do if we would but look for the teaching…
Nothing lasts. Nothing is permanent. Everything is subject to the flux of change. That is what the Buddha taught us.
We cannot hold onto anything, or expect anything to endure. We must expect all things to eventually change, even if the probability of that seems extremely low.
The other thing that I liked was how my house was hidden from view from the road. Nobody could see it, so it was nice and private. Not any longer. Now you can see the house peeping out from over a kilometer away.
Again, we cannot hold onto our preferences. What happens happens and we must take it with calm acceptance. We must take the new circumstance just as they are.
We should also realize that crises are not an unusual visitation, but a normal part of life. Rather than ask, “Why did this happen to me?”, we do better to simply accept that it has happened, that crises happen to everyone and just get on with learning to deal with it and move on.
In any life, we can expect a smooth period where all goes well, followed by an unexpected crisis. You get over the crisis, and recover that smooth road… and then you get hit by another crisis. Sometimes, you get more than one at the same time.
This is normal. It is nothing to write home about. It’s that thing we call “being alive”.
There is yet another lesson here, and it gives you a much broader perspective. While I’ve been fretting about my trees and whether or not I like the new view, as I write this it is believed that 50,000 may have perished in the earthquake in Haiti in the last 24 hours. So you see, if you think you have problems, you really don’t when you get things in perspective. Your worst nightmare would be someone else’s dream life. Think about that the next time you want to complain about something!
Having a spiritual perspective helps in life. And it also enables you to start seeing the connections, such as the strange “coincidence” of my falling down like a tree mere minutes before my trees collapsed.
I teach many spiritual secrets of life in my course, The 7 Golden Secrets To Knowing Your Higher Self. Most importantly in this instance, I discuss the symbolic aspect of everything that happens in life. For the truth is, if you have eyes to see it, all that happens to you happens for a reason. The question to ask is always, “What is the lesson here?”