Understanding “Tragedy”

“It is time to stop talking and start walking; stop crying and start sweating.  Working together with a common faith we cannot fail.”  ~Jimmy Carter, U.S. Presidential Speech 1979

In the movie What the Bleep Do We Know, Dr. Hagelin describes a rather unconventional social experiment conducted in Washington D.C.  Over a two month period of time, 4,000 individuals came together to meditate daily with the intention of lowering the crime rate.  Normally during the summer in Washington D.C. the crime rate sharply increases due to the warmer weather.  From June 7th through July 30th 1993, the time-frame of the meditation experiment, crime in Washington D.C. was reduced by 23.6%.  The likelihood that this was merely a “coincidence” was calculated at two parts per billion, also noting that Dr. Hagelin’s experiment was repeated 48 times with similar results in prisons, inner-city schools, war-torn areas like Nicaragua, Iran, Israel and Lebanon.

Recently, the United States has encountered a natural “tragedy,” referred to as Hurricane Sandy.  She left her mark on New York, New Jersey and several other locations for quite some time to come.  Whenever any challenging or tragic event occurs, there are always two by-products; gratitude and an opening of the heart.  These types of events leave you feeling very thankful for what you have, the people in your lives and sometimes plain thankful for being alive.  This gratitude leads to an opening of the heart and our altruism kicks into full gear.  We immediately want to help in some way…our “hearts go out” to the people who were affected by the tragedy.

Studies have shown that altruism is hard-wired in our brains.  When hooked up to brain scanning machines, people who were asked to think about giving money to someone had the same exact parts of their brain light up as when they thought about selfish pleasures such as eating and sex.  (It brings a whole new meaning to the term “this is better than sex!”)

What came up for you during Hurricane Sandy?  Were you grateful?  Did you wonder in what way you could help?  Did you feel empowered or like a victim who has no control over what happens?  Everything happens for a reason…even natural events.  They are meant to wake us up; to force us to think and do things in a different way when no other way has worked.  They are there to teach us something about ourselves and how we relate to each other.  What does it really mean to you to be “alive?”  Is it all about you or is it about us?

When I hike the Inca Trail in Peru, the shamans teach you to always give back to the Earth that which you took.  If you pick up a rock, give back to the Earth something in your possession – a piece of hair or a sacred article of your own.  Everything is about balance.  When Mother Earth creates a hurricane, she is balancing her energy.  What happens is as much about us as it is about her.

Instead of reflecting upon why this happened, turn the mirror inward.  Where does your life need balancing?  What is some personal “tragedy” in your life trying to teach you?  Is there anything in your life that needs to be “washed away” so something new can have room to enter?

Think about it…not everything is how it seems.

The best medicine of all is the simplest medicine.  Let us all learn self-love, self-forgiveness, compassion and understanding.  Then we will be able to give those gifts to others.  By healing the person, we can heal Mother Earth.
~Elizabeth Kubler Ross

Praying we all finally step into who we are,


Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and .

Announcing the publication of “Choosing the Life You Were Born to Live:  How Changing Your Thoughts Will Change Your Life” by Chris Sopa published by Balboa Press.

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