The Bright Side to a Power Outage
Earlier today when most of the Bay Area got an email from PG&E stating that the power would be out starting tonight for possibly multiple days, hundreds of thousands of people suddenly realized that whatever they thought would be happening in the near future, would likely not be happening. I don’t know if you went anywhere near a grocery store or gas station, but clearly, more than a few people are freaking out about this. But alarm is not the only way to respond to this situation, and with the right perspective, this could actually be an exciting experience. Stress = A Change of Expectations If you’re wondering why your neighbor is frantically filling every empty container she has with hose water or why your friend just overnighted a $700 generator, it’s because we were all simultaneously hit with a sizeable change of expectations and therefore, to put it in meditation-y terms, a wave of stress went through the collective consciousness of the area. You may have felt it, I know I did. I tried to write earlier and couldn’t begin to concentrate. When I was in India, the power went out all the time, but no one freaked out because we all expected it. Here this never happens. But the stress is not in the situation, it's in us. The stress (or the flight/fight mode) we experience when confronted with a change of expectations only occurs to the extent we do not have sufficient energy to adapt the unexpected situation. One of the many reasons people meditate is to bank up on this “adaptation energy” so that when a change of expectation comes, rather than their body being flooded with stress chemistry like cortisol and adrenaline, they have the energy to be creative and interact with the demand. They see opportunities even where others in their stress see only negative aspects. For example, tomorrow, I’m excited that I may get to spend the day with my older daughter if her school cancels and maybe go to the beach, which is much more fun than how I thought tomorrow would go. Or we get to enjoy filling the house with candles and not having everyone on screens for once. Fearlessly Experiencing the Unknown When there’s a big change of expectations it also means that there is a break in the ever-repeating known, and we get to experience the unknown. This is fearful for some who believe that the unknown is unsafe and what is safe is eating the same sandwich, watching the same shows, and diving into their newsfeed before going to bed at the same time. This repetition, however, is anti-evolutionary, it’s stagnant. Since all nature is doing is evolving and the only constant is change, then stagnation is beckoning destruction making it in fact, the unsafe place. The cusp of the unknown, where creation lies, is the safest place. Being in the unknown doesn’t have to be fearful, it can be exciting. Shared Experience We are always looking to experience unity. In today’s culture, most people are so stressed that many of our day-to-day interactions hover between neutral and unpleasant. And we often will see others as being very different if they dress a certain way or have a different lifestyle. But something like this, we’re all experiencing it together. There’s a certain camaraderie as you’re standing in the line at Safeway with everyone else scrambling to get five days worth of non-perishable food, or in the texts you’re sharing between other parents as to who is going to help watch who’s kid. In moments when we all experience the same challenge at once, we have a glimmer of the truth that we are all One.
There's a bright side even to darkness.