An Unnatural Disaster

Every now and then there occurs what we call a ‘natural disaster.’ An earthquake, a tsunami, a drought or a flood maybe. Often many people lose their lives and numerous others are touched by these losses. It is a time when difference is set aside and people pull together as one to do whatever is needed to help their fellow man. It seems this ‘natural’ disaster evokes a ‘natural response’ from humanity, arising perhaps from our innate sense of connection with each other or our understanding of each other.

This natural response is to set aside our ‘keep ourselves to ourselves/mind your own business’ mentality and work together with our neighbours to “pick up the pieces.” We see or feel the suffering of our fellow man and our innate sense is to help and support them. Perhaps there is purpose in these ‘natural disasters’ that recognises the need for such an ‘opportunity’ in order to remind us of our innate unity with each other.

Is it possible though, that the greatest ‘disaster’ of all has slipped under the radar of our awareness and its impact lives unfettered in our lives every day? Are we living the after effects of a ‘tsunami of separation’ from each other that we can all feel but rarely acknowledge? Take a trip on the London Underground and observe hundreds of human beings at close quarters – often sandwiched into carriages like sardines in a can. How hard we all try to avoid the gaze of another. How hard we try to not connect with our fellow human beings.

Living in separation from each other is hardly natural. Innately we are gregarious and loving beings whose joy is in connecting with another of our kin.

Why then is it so evident that we avoid doing so? Where does this desire to remain separate come from? If it is not our nature, how is it we have made it our ‘reality’? Perhaps we have been hurt and now live in self-protection, treading cautiously around our fellow man. Maybe we have been ‘bitten’ by another, having opened up to them and now we live “once bitten, twice shy.” Could it be that we have lost trust in each other, having witnessed cruel and selfish acts? But what is the after effect of living in this contracted way? Is it not that we live in fear of our fellow man? This is a high price to pay.

This ‘tsunami’ is anything but natural for it surely goes completely against the grain of our innate love for ourselves and for each other. We live in the after effects of a very ‘unnatural disaster.’

One of the significant threats of our time is the potential for nuclear war. Growing up in the 1970’s and 1980’s was a time of fear that someone might just ‘push that button’ and those few who might survive such a war would end up living in an horrific ‘post nuclear society.’ The images were not pretty. Perhaps we should appreciate at this point that we have not taken that path – at least not on a global scale. That said, what if such an eventuality is in truth a reflection to us of the state of humanity? Is it possible that we can learn from the possibility, rather than the eventuality itself?

Could it be that we are in fact already living in a post-apocalyptic society, the apocalypse not being the nuclear war we have all feared, but the more subtle separation from ourselves and from each other that has led to a loveless state of being amongst human brothers? We may fear the physical destruction of our race, but are we looking in the right direction for the source of the destruction itself? Does the real disintegration of true society come from within us all in the shape of separation – firstly from our true essence, and then from each other?

Children are not born ignorant and unaware – in fact, they are acutely sensitive, tender and vulnerable beings. They feel when something is not loving and will clearly express the fact. This is perhaps because their true essence is love and they feel the stark contrast between who they are and what they feel.

But what happens as we/they grow? Do we nurture this sensitive and loving nature, or do we teach them ‘skills’ to protect and defend themselves from the harsh realities of the world? If so, do we bury our essence behind a suit of armour when it could in truth be the very thing we need to bring about a more loving way of being in life? Furthermore, is this insensitivity the very thing that makes the potential of nuclear war possible? Insensitivity that negates our feelings of connection with our fellow man supports our objectification of groups of people, leaving us able to contemplate this most horrific of paths.

Yet something that has been buried is not permanently lost. Perhaps a little digging is required. Perhaps some willingness to allow vulnerability is necessary. Maybe we need to be very self-loving and open our arms to our neighbours, even when there is no ‘natural disaster’ at hand.

This beautiful essence that each and every baby is born with is still alive within each and every man and can be reconnected to if we are willing to take what seems to be a risk and shed our armour. Doing so may in truth be the only truly ‘protective’ way there is.

We fear the worst but perhaps we should consider that “the worst has already happened” – and we are living in its wake.

By Richard Mills, Learning and Development Manager, Surrey, UK

Further Reading:
A feeling of connection
Connecting to People: No Such Thing as ‘Strangers’
What is Connection?

536 thoughts on “An Unnatural Disaster

  1. If we agree that children are more open in expressing the honesty and the naturalness within themselves, it seems that having this openness and wonder has not left me even though my body has grown up. The reaction around is usually that I have not grown up but that means, why are you not protecting yourself like we all do? Protection is what keeps us separated, we have learned to accept that this is the normality of the world, but this only feels cold and very unnatural to me. When we are open to life, life may want to remain protective, and when this is felt, I would remember the wisdom of children, just express what is felt and move on to the next moment, keep playing again with everyone.

    1. Great call Adele, let’s keep playing as when we were a child. Actually, there is no reason at all why we should stop with that but fact is that society is continuously trying to convince us of the fact that we have to; so the question is what are we collectively avoiding?

  2. Richard, great article, this feels very true; ‘Living in separation from each other is hardly natural. Innately we are gregarious and loving beings whose joy is in connecting with another of our kin.’ I notice that if there are children on the London underground then they do not ignore everyone and avoid stares, they play and chat and are very uniting and seem to give people permission to open up and not be so protected, they are reflecting our natural way.

    1. Children can teach us a lot – instead we teach them what we think they need to know and bury their – and our – innate joy in the process.

  3. Yes the disaster may have already happened but it doesn’t have to stay that way if we all start to take loving care of ourselves, this naturally would extend to each other and begin to rebalance the imbalances we have caused.

  4. Could it be that most natural disasters happen in and around the home? Yes our neighbours play a role, as does the rest of humanity, but the loveless way we connect to others in our homes needs to be examined first. Could it be as a ‘baby’ and in our early years we ‘are acutely sensitive, tender and vulnerable beings’ who loss our way because of what is felt to be natural way to interpret life? So we start out connected and by the time we are going to school we have been slammed by the unnatural disaster we call normal life. These are important social issues you have raised Richard and further investigation is definitely required.

  5. I like the point that you raise Richard that a, ‘ ‘tsunami’ is anything but natural for it surely goes completely against the grain of our innate love for ourselves and for each other.’ Do we listen and learn from the corrections of nature?

  6. Separation is the greatest disaster of all, look at the devastation it has left humanity in……obesity, drugs, cutting, bulimia, illness, disease, crime, murder and much more

  7. What is natural to us is to breathe, live and move with the grace of God. The ‘disaster’ is when we do not. We might like to focus on the particulars of big events but the real science of life lives in keeping our connection to divinity. Without this all else is lost. Let’s stop our ceaseless searching for answers out ‘there’ and return to tenderness and start to honestly see the true effects of how we choose to be on everything. Thank you Richard for this blog.

    1. Good call Joseph. Let’s stop searching for answers and realise that we, in our true essence, are the answer.

  8. “Living in separation from each other is hardly natural. Innately we are gregarious and loving beings whose joy is in connecting with another of our kin.” Not living in the oneness we all are certainly is a Natural disaster allowing all other disasters from this as it is against the harmony and flow of the universe which needs to right itself and it really does start with us.

  9. History is taught predominantly by learning facts, which is essential and much needed. However, what if we were to introduce another element to this, what if we were to bring in the devastating effects of all the wars and the corruption that has taken place and view this from a human level, to really see the suffering and its far reaching affects. Would we then start to really learn from our mistakes, and to stop living in the wake of all our man made disasters, and instead to take deep and true responsibility for what we are collectively creating?

  10. These natural disasters to remind us all how not only possible it is but also how natural it is to drop our protection, our individuality and open our hearts to support each other.

  11. I remember my gran once telling me that although living through the second world war was a difficult and painful experience, she now missed the sense of community that was there through everyone coming together to support each other.

    1. This appreciation of coming together is important. If we appreciate more it will be a great catalyst for change.

  12. What natural disasters show us is no matter how different we are in our life choices, no matter how we have held onto the reality of conflicts, the truth from our heart and body is that we are united fundamentally with everyone. Choosing to live what is fundamental and natural in a non disastrous situation therefore, is wisdom and a simple obedience to the body.

  13. Such a great blog Richard for it is indeed a disaster that we not only live in such separation but that we can treat our fellow brothers the way we do with every thing that goes on in the world with every man, country or nation out for themselves without a common goal in site.

  14. “We fear the worst but perhaps we should consider that “the worst has already happened” – and we are living in its wake.” So true, it is after the separation from ourselves and each other that all the other problems and atrocities occur. The hurt of separation needs to be numb by extreme behaviours but why not come back to ourselves, then all of that is not needed.

    1. Yes, Lieke, what lengths do we go to in order to numb the pain of being in separation from each other, as it goes against our true nature?

  15. It is interesting to look at the ‘once bitten twice shy’ mentality that most of us have had, that if someone hurts us we hold it against the rest of humanity, and feel justified in not letting people in. Thanks, Richard, for pointing out the devastation for all of us when we live in protection and separation.

  16. Only when we are not connected with our inner most, and as a result of this way of being we are not connected with humanity and believe we can rule the world, people are capable of pressing the button to start a nuclear war that would be otherwise impossible to do. So I do not see anything changed from the 1970’s and 1980’s in that respect, so the chance that horrific things can happen by the whim of a single person is still possible and actually is happening daily on macro and micro scale.

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