Informative, and General Reading
Why is Nature Angry? And Other Unanswerable Questions
by Laura Turner
First hurricanes, then the tsunami. The swell of emotion is
insurmountable. Thoughts of tragedy and images of loss in
everyone’s minds and on their lips. Moreover, these feelings
and phases of denial-anger-regret have been, as of late, far
So what of these acts of nature? How do we define them? And
whether or not we’ve lost someone to them, none are exempt
from tremors of sadness about them. Yet if indeed there are
these natural laws of cause and effect, as a scientist, I
have some burning questions!
Of course, I couldn’t begin to answer these universal questions
alone. No one could. Therefore, as my normal practice, I query
my bookshelf for answers – this time in hopes of finding a source
of comfort or perhaps some modicum of understanding.
Q1: Why Do Bad Things Happen?
For the answer to this question, there is only one author I
would consider: Rabbi Harold Kushner. Rabbi Kushner tells us
in “When Bad Things Happen To Good People,” often things in
our lives just “happen.” It is we who give these happenings
On page 136 Rabbi tells us it is we who give tragedy meaning:
“not by asking, why did this happen to me?” For as he puts it:
“the better question would be: Now that this has happened to me,
what am I going to do about it?”
My translation? If we can let go of the past and focus on the
moment and what it holds – we can go forth into the future
with anticipation. We do this by searching for ways to make
a positive impact. Then, through our relationship to the
tragedy (and controlling what we can) there is promise of
invoking positive change. When we embrace the present, we may
then as Rabbi puts it, “affirm life.”
Q2: Does Every Problem Have a Solution?
I’d like a concrete answer to this one, please. And so I chose
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer’s “There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every
Problem.” I randomly open the book to page 118 to see what he has
to tell. Here is the passage I’m drawn to: “Mortal sense needs
to yield to make room for spiritual awareness.”
Okay, so what does this mean? Here's my guess (oops, sorry,
scientists call this "speculation"): in this passage Dr. Dyer
explains that we all must remind ourselves of our “source.” And
in trusting our source's power we “yield” our troubles over to
I do find deep comfort in this. Take home message: If we stop
in the midst of a tragedy, reminding ourselves of the illusion
of the mortal world, we can turn our problems over by way of
positive thoughts and Prayer.
Q3: Can I Help Heal The Wounds of Nature?
Yes. How? In a word: compassion. But, how do we define compassion
and why is this helpful? True compassion involves empathy –
requiring both inner and outer work. It involves your
relationship with yourself and through this relationship,
your way of viewing the world.
Why is this important? I believe, when we are gentle with
ourselves and have compassion for our own personal plight - we
can truly come from within and relate to one another.
How do I know this?
At first this concept of compassion was difficult to
conceptualize. Again I consulted with my bookshelf. This time
I’m lead to Pema Chodron, Buddhist nun. She defines compassion
as: “being fully present with the feeling (good or bad).” She
also tells us in her book: “When Things Fall Apart,” we must
allow ourselves to “feel what we feel” and not suppress, hide
or “push it away.”
Compassion brings up many problems for me, however. For to truly
be compassionate - Pema explains - one must let go of judgments
and versions of our own reality. Then we take a look at what is
truly happening. This is a challenge. For, in order to be
compassionate, we must embrace our own imperfections. Ouch!
How to do this in a way we all understand? I say: “Do unto others
as you would have them, do unto you.”
Q4: How Can I Find Peace In Times Of Loss?
Judith Viorst author of “Necessary Losses” dedicates a good
amount of discussion to the topic of “Reconnection.” And a whole
chapter (pg. 211) to Faith. How do we reconnect to peace and
faith during times of loss?
We must first understand and find peace with the idea that loss
is part of life. The good news is (if there is any), loss is
indeed a "necessary" thread woven within the the braid of loss
and gain. The truth is, loss is inevitable. Yet, it is a
functional part of life which leads to growth.
The question Viorst tells us to ask ourselves during these times
of loss: “What beauty and gifts do these occasions hold for me?”
(ed. note: Hopefully, with some meditation, I can come to
understand and fully embrace this concept.)
Q5: But, Why is Nature Angry?
This is the most difficult of the unanswerable questions and one
of which (as a scientist) I could only speculate. (For as I
continue to peruse my bookshelf, I find myself continually
confused by the information it gives).
And so I give you my closest findings (scientists sometimes do
this): Carl Jung, psychoanalyst, and a trusted source of truth,
speaks of the “collective unconscious” in all his books (far too
many to mention here).
Agreed, this begs the question "What does this have to do with
anything?" I say: If the collective unconscious is the connected
place inside all of our minds and hearts, it could have
everything to do with everything.
Here I will have to go out on a limb (scientists sometimes do
this, too) and speculate that most will give testament to the
existence of the collective unconscious - as well as the power
of prayer and energy of thought. With these hypotheses, then:
I leave you with this:
Could we imagine:
The deep unrest of our unconscious could "collectively" cause
natural disaster of such proportion?
Could the state of the world as it is and our collective
discontent be a powerful enough force to literally move the
earth from its axis?
And thus this scientist signs off, closing her study and handing
the baton off to you (yes, we do this very often). Yet, before
you decide your own answer to the unanswerable, pause for just
one last moment to ponder:
If this hypothesis is true -- imagine what loving each other
***This Article is dedicated to all who have been affected in
hearts and lives by the tsunami.
Living Life to the Fullest?
Many people are worried about dying. Their worry can keep them from
fully enjoying life in the present. But for other people, the
knowledge that they will die someday actually motivates them to live
Dealing with Trials & Tribulations
Look on your life as a lesson that your soul is learning, a spiritual lesson that transcends the intellect.
Moments In Life
There are moments in life when you miss someone so much that you just want to pick them from your dreams and hug them for real!
Suffering - A Christian Perspective
From the most ancient days, man has asked again and again why there is suffering in life. If God is loving and compassionate why is there so much suffering in this world?
A Prayer Service for Victims of the Asian Tsunami
A Tsunami Blessing
Copyright © 2005 Laura Turner
Laura Turner is a writer and author. She publishes the
bi-weekly New Body News and Wellness Letter, The Online
Magazine Healthy People Read. ( http://www.new-body-news.com
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