Caught in a Rip Tide


Nothing in the world
is as soft and yielding as water.
Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible,
nothing can surpass it.

The soft overcomes the hard;
the gentle overcomes the rigid.
Everyone knows this is true,
but few can put it into practice.

Therefore the Master remains
serene in the midst of sorrow.
Evil cannot enter his heart.
Because he has given up helping,
he is people’s greatest help.

True words seem paradoxical.

This verse from The Tao Te Ching seems to have an eerie relevance for these days, when we are witnessing an unfolding global crisis, that is currently wrecking havoc in Japan.

…for dissolving the hard and inflexible, nothing can surpass it.

The Earth moved and the solid faltered. Then the tsunami hit and the unmovable collapsed. It was the softest and most yielding substance that brought the walls down, that protected the fueling rods and set the events in motion, that are forever changing the face of the earth.

It is a metaphor for us too, as we are watching an unheard of series of revolutionary and catastrophic events, that seems to draw the whole world into an forever faster spinning vortex. It means to remain as much in presence as possible. It feels like being in a rip current, and there are certain rules to deal with them:

  • Don’t Fight The Rip Current – Conserve energy, keep calm, float, breathe, don’t panic, and wave for help
  • Go With The Flow – You can easily float in the current, there is no undertow. Allow the current to take you away from the beach. In weaker rips, swim parallel to the shore until the current has completely relaxed. Otherwise, the current will eventually release you offshore. Once this happens swim perpendicular and towards the beach
  • Wait For Help – If there is large surf or shoreline hazards, wave your hands for help and wait for assistance

This sounds to me like an universally good advise right now. Don’t fight anything, stay present, alert, aware. Don’t panic and wave for help, if you need it.  Be conscious about the fact that everything serves a purpose and the worst that can happen is to lose this form. Stay calm, present and open to guidance. Be conscious of the movement of the ego wanting to rush into activity. To do “something”, when all that is required to do is to stay open, receptive and ready to act, when the time and circumstances are right.

Do nothing in the face of an enormous global crisis. True words seem paradoxical, but soon we will be called to truly  live them, and guide others to presence and prayer too.

We are witnessing a New Earth rising.

About Michaela

I am a wanderer and a wonderer, like you are. I love our journey and to walk in the company of friends – to learn, experience, share, laugh, cry and above all I simply love this marvelous, magical, mysterious life. I have no plan (cannot believe I am saying this) and my only intention is to be truthful to myself and others.
This entry was posted in Doing not-doing, The Window Seat, The world we live in Now and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Caught in a Rip Tide

  1. aralannow says:

    I am reminded of a story that Thich Nhat Hanh tells about the “boat people” crossing the waters during violent storms. If they fought the storm, they would capsize the boat. The calm and serenity of just one – presence itself – flowing with the ocean was often enough to save the boat. And how true that as you say the worst that can happen is that you lose this form. How incredibly true.

    It was really funny, “my” six year old last night asked about death. We were talking about black holes which have always fascinated me and he asked about why bad things happen and about death. We had a lovely conversation. I asked him why he thought “death” was so bad. We talked about death, birth and about change. It did not feel awkward, scary or pressured. And I don’t beliveb he felt that way either. I wonder if one reason why we fear death so much is because we are so uncomfortable with the unknown, with uncertainty.

    Then he just as seamlessly he asked me to read him his bedtime story.

    • Michaela says:

      Thank you for sharing your experience. Yes, the fear of death is central to our human experience – and yet, there is nothing to fear. To realize this is a great relief.
      You may be interested in reading ” the Question of Death”.

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