Spiritual Implications of Hurricane Katrina

This event has been rather different from other individuals I have penned about and has definitely strike household — virtually.

As some of you may well know, I am a native of New Orleans, born and raised, until I still left for higher education (to Duke in North Carolina). I invested two a lot more a long time in New Orleans involving higher education and grad school and visited my family there every year until they moved to Memphis a couple a long time in the past. This week has been challenging for me, even with my standard religious reserves.

I have invested the week striving to get in speak to with mates, although also striving to keep abreast of information and (continually hopeful of) development and improvements in rescue. I have also invested the week ruminating and trying to get a sense of what this big, unparalleled national tragedy was about on a higher amount. And that is what I would like to share with you.

As usually, it is my sense that a big event like this catastrophe has to do with shifts and lessons and I’ll share my sense of what those may well be.


A person big lesson that I come to feel is implicit in this catastrophe is that we are all related, irrespective of our geographical locale, not to mention our age, race, gender, nationality, religious persuasion, and many others. So several times in the earlier, we may well have been able to seem at a all-natural catastrophe and, although sensation compassion for those instantly influenced by loss of family, mates, household, livelihood, and many others., we may well have also felt unimpacted instantly by the activities.

This catastrophe, being of these kinds of a big magnitude, reminds us that we are all related due to the fact we will in all likelihood unavoidably be impacted. Currently being able to check out coverage of disasters on television, I come to feel, can lead us to come to feel like spectators, viewing other individuals without collaborating ourselves. If we have felt individual before, even in the wake of preceding hurricanes, we will rather most likely be impacted this time — by an inflow of evacuees into our spots needing housing, meals, careers, and methods and also economically by the seemingly unavoidable rise in gasoline, gas, and heating prices. This time we may well be continually reminded of our interconnectedness for months. This may well be a distressing hammering household of the lesson of interconnectedness: if we haven’t been able to come to feel it in our hearts, we may well most likely be reminded in other strategies.

This is the one finest lesson from this terrible event, I come to feel: that we ought to try to remember that we are all related, in spite of how busy or stressed our life, in spite of any perceived dissimilarities amongst us, in spite of everything that may well have served to blind us from our sense of connectedness. And this remembrance of our connectedness ought to be through the heart, through sensation it, and not just thinking it.

Some other ideas on connectedness: At our finest, in these kinds of a horrific event like this, we will come to feel compassion — heart-opening — for those displaced who have misplaced households, family, livelihood, and many others. (This is, just after all, rather only a large heart-opening working experience.)

And still we may well also come across those who come to feel less of a link. I have been stunned to hear those expressing the sensation that this catastrophe represents a clearing of “detrimental vitality” some have even produced references to “Sodom and Gomorrah.” (I listened to comparable ideas expressed in the wake of the terrible tsunami: that due to the fact so several of those influenced “weren’t Christians” they had been being “punished” — of program by a supposedly strictly Christian God.) You might guess that I do not subscribe to these views that, rather frankly, I regard as coming from a less than healthier mentality. (And, curiously, in New Orleans the “Sodom and Gomorrah” that persons refer to – the French Quarter – was untouched by the destructive flooding, although so several household spots, wherever the citizens lived, had been devastated. So substantially for the theory that the destruction was to “punish wicked persons!”)

What is it that can drive us to come to feel these kinds of items? The fascinating factor about earning detrimental judgments these kinds of as these is that accomplishing so lets us to individual ourselves from those about whom we are earning the detrimental judgments. They become “other” and less than. Judging negatively in this way lets us to shut our hearts and compassion off. For those who may well be sensitive, it may well also be a way to come to feel less soreness. So, earning these pronouncements about why other individuals are being “punished” or ought to suffer can signify a way of distancing ourselves from their plight.

In no way do I come to feel that Katrina transpired to very clear the Gulf Coastline and New Orleans of “detrimental vitality.” In no way do I come to feel that the Gulf Coastline and New Orleans are being punished for their “Sodom and Gemorrah”-like strategies.

I do come to feel that those in the Gulf Coastline and New Orleans have participated in a fantastic drama unfolding for the gain of us all — most likely even for the clearing of “detrimental vitality” in us that sales opportunities us to want to blame victims for what transpires to them. Pontificating about others’ participation in their very own disasters is an exceptional way of intellectualizing and removing ourselves from sensation emotion. It is a seemingly snug mindset that cocoons us from sensation, enduring, and being related, although it lets us to sit unscathed in our ivory towers and solid aspersions. Mindsets and beliefs are mindsets and beliefs, irrespective of whether they’re conservative in character or appear from supposedly religious teachings – and they tend to serve as a buffer to our very own openness to sensation and enduring.

The working day may well appear when we not only come to feel compassion for what the victims of Katrina have misplaced and experienced, but also gratitude for the lesson their participation in this tragedy has presented us all.

Lessons in Strength

I have personally acquired some lessons in vitality through this. Commencing previous Sunday I commenced sensation rather sick to my belly. I realized I had no other indications of coming down with some thing — a virus or health issues I just had that sick sensation in the pit of my intestine.

That sick sensation continued through Monday, even just after it had appeared that New Orleans had dodged the bullet (as newscasters set it). I consciously wondered what that sick sensation in my intestine was about, due to the fact it continued to persist. That sick sensation I realized was warning me that some thing definitely negative was coming.

Tuesday morning it grew to become substantially clearer. I abruptly realized that it had to do with the destruction of my hometown.

The purpose I mention this is that, even however I visited New Orleans every year my mother and father nonetheless lived there, I hadn’t felt a link to it for a long time. I even produced detrimental judgments about its traits and vowed that I never required to are living there yet again (just go visit and take in in the amazing places to eat). I located it to be an “ignorant” metropolis. (You can find that judgment yet again.)

I have continued to be sick to my belly. I have been in a state of shock. I have grieved for the metropolis I have identified so nicely, viewing scenes of devastation and recognizing those locations I know so nicely.

The lesson in vitality is this: that it would look that our hometown, wherever we grew up, is entwined by some means deeply in our vitality discipline — even apart from how it can evoke memories in our consciousness. It permeates the vitality in our being, not just in our memories.

In addition, we can have a bodily awareness of some thing at a pretty deep amount without being aware of consciously what it is about (or most likely before we are organized for being aware of it consciously).

Causality & Other Connectedness

Inevitably, when some thing this big and traumatic happens, we question why and how. What contributes to the leads to of activities these kinds of as this? Is it punishment from God or the Universe? Is it manmade due to the fact of human perform? Is it from a mix of variables?

Though I come to feel that all items happen for a purpose, we ought to also try to remember that we people are not invulnerable and that there are forces better than human kinds. As substantially as we might like to feel that we can “manifest” our long run and what we want, there are without a doubt forces better than those on the human amount.

Character without a doubt is a large drive and a person better than gentleman. As substantially as we people may well have the hubris to feel that we can conquer the environment, Character has a way of reminding us that it without a doubt is better than we are and that we people are just a person aspect of the bigger website of life.

And it is generally when gentleman tries to individual him/herself from character and upsets its balance, deliberately or unintentionally, that we can be reminded of our true function in the better buy: we are merely components — and interconnected components — of the better full. And when we check out to artificially maneuver and change the better full — the environment — we may well locate ourselves reminded by impolite wake-up calls that our environment is an interconnected ecosystem that would not usually reply nicely to our monkeying with it.

I personally have a sense that even deforestation in the course of the environment has contributed to a rise in violent storms, apart from the effects of world wide warming. And, moreover, even in spite of human disruption, Earth has usually had intermittent all-natural disruptions, from volcanoes to earthquakes to tornadoes to violent storms. Due to the fact of this, it may well be a lot more handy to regard Character and its implicit complexity of structure, somewhat than check out to harness it, subdue it, or sever its interconnectedness.

Other whys we tend to contemplate include things like what astrological triggers there may well have been. I read through a person astrologer’s attribution of this event to the square involving Mars and Neptune. I myself (undoubtedly no expert astrologer) pondered the encroaching opposition of Saturn and Chiron. I emailed George Ward, a amazing astrologer in Raleigh, whom several of you know. (His site is at http://www.ntastrology.com/george/george.html.)

George in his customary wisdom explained to me about the conjunction involving Mars and Sedna, the new world discovered in 2004. As George wrote, “Sedna is an Inuit/Eskimo sea goddess and she deals with regard for character, storms from the sea, and many others.” Mars, as we know, deals with martial (warlike) and assertive vitality. This conjunction is effective and will be in location until February 2006 (which could portend a lot more disastrous storms, God forbid). George also mentions the significant selection of solar flares impacting Earth.

So it would look that there are without a doubt some potent astrological features at current (not easing up until February). Fascinating that a person of them speaks to our need to have to regard character and storms from the sea.

Further more Lessons in Ecosystem

Queries of environment have now been raised in the wake of Katrina. In the instance of New Orleans, there has been dialogue now about irrespective of whether New Orleans ought to be rebuilt, presented its below-sea amount elevation.

My potent sense is that, insofar as New Orleans and its environs is anxious, this catastrophe may well appear to signify an possibility to rebuild it in a stronger way and a person which resolves extended-standing troubles in the infrastructure — as nicely as an possibility to reverse ecological injury.

A person difficulty highlighted by this tragedy has to do with the erosion and loss of Louisiana’s wetlands and barrier “islands” — which basically serve as a barrier to hurricanes. A amazing gain that could appear from this national tragedy would be the recognition that this extended-standing issue needs to be dealt with. We have sadly in this state had the mindset for many years that we could do whatever we required to the environment and not suffer any implications as a outcome. This hurricane ought to serve to instruct us the converse.

In hunting at the leads to of barrier island and wetlands erosion at the mouth of the Mississippi River, there is basically a multiplicity of leads to, from dredging in oil and gasoline areas that interfere with all-natural tidal flows, to deep shipping and delivery channels that change salinity, to nutria imported from South The usa that have been consuming the wetlands — to even the levees constructed for flood management together the Mississippi River that avoid the silt circulation and make up that basically constructs the Delta.

Even fertilizer runoff from farms hundreds of miles from New Orleans has triggered a lifeless zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

That claimed, a person of the premier leads to of the loss of this all-natural hurricane security – the barrier islands and wetlands – is the oil and gasoline field, which has benefited every citizen of the United States. While Texas and Florida have acquired up to fifty% of their oil and gasoline field revenues from the Federal govt, Louisiana has historically only acquired two-three%. So Louisiana, at the fingers of the Federal govt and for the gain of everyone else in the state, has been pressured to sacrifice its all-natural, God-presented hurricane security with no compensation or restitution.

This tragedy ought to emphasize the need to have for the restoration of the wetlands and signify a clarion get in touch with for our regard for this environmental necessity. It ought to also serve to remind us of our location in the environment as components of the full and instruct us to be greater stewards, not dominators, of this beautiful world we have been presented as a habitat.

An Opportunity?

I want to come to feel that down the street this terrible, tragic event will signify an possibility, even in the rebuilding factor. For example, New Orleans’ locale below sea amount of course can make it vulnerable to flooding and inundation from the two Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River. The pumps that pump water out of the metropolis had been engineered and constructed in the 19th Century and had been a marvel of engineering then. I never feel they have undergone substantially change in structure considering that then.

Rather than tolling the dying knell of a metropolis lying below sea amount, this event represents an possibility to rebuild and re-engineer alternatives to below sea-amount elevation. The Netherlands did it in the 50s through an revolutionary tactic that has been rather prosperous and ought to inspire the U. S. to equally be revolutionary. (In fact, a Dutch spokesman, as cited in a CNN article, claimed, “I never want to audio overly vital, but it is challenging to imagine that [the injury triggered by Katrina] could happen in a Western state.”)

In fact this catastrophe can be a get in touch with to re-awaken the dormant “can do” mindset that employed to be so evident in this state and that led us to be so resourceful and revolutionary. It would look that our “can do” mindset has been changed by complacency born of comfortableness and affluent self-indulgence. Awful catastrophes these kinds of as the current a person could serve to re-ignite that resourcefulness, out of sheer necessity.

One more factor of possibility for the rebuilding of New Orleans lies in its strategic locale and importance as a port. I was educated a couple a long time in the past that New Orleans had been getting rid of a significant percentage of its port business enterprise to other ports due to the outmoded character of New Orleans’ port facilities and devices. Definitely the devastation wrought by Katrina represents an possibility to retool and modernize New Orleans’ port abilities and facilities. As we generally locate just after the brain-numbing destruction of disasters, devastated spots can be rebuilt in an even stronger way later on, resulting in a refurbished and enhanced region.

Even the large hard work of rebuilding the metropolis itself and its properties, the two organizations and households, could signify an possibility for the big numbers of inhabitants displaced and out of do the job. Just as the WPA (Is effective Progress Administration) set scores of persons to do the job during the Depression, careers could be produced offered to New Orleans inhabitants for the rebuilding of New Orleans. What greater way to give persons back again an revenue than in the rebuilding of their very own beloved metropolis?

Person Prospects?

Our very own personal responses to this week’s activities will be as personal as we all are. And still I come to feel that there is a clarion get in touch with to try to remember our interconnectedness, to open our hearts to every single other, to seem for opportunities and strategies in which a phoenix can arise from the ashes (and we can re-invent ourselves), to seem for the transmuting light-weight that will inevitably return just after the darkish, and to keep hope although grieving and sharing. Own soreness can absolutely challenge our religious platitudes, as I have learned this week in my very own soreness, and still I continue to come to feel that every thing does happen for a purpose, although I also know that I need to have to permit myself to grieve for my hometown and for the soreness other individuals are likely through.

Some persons have donated cash, some have donated meals or garments, some have opened up their households or volunteered their time. Some have prayed or sent healing vitality.

I also try to remember the animals — all the pets that may well have died or have been still left behind and are panicked, hungry, and hoping for rescue — all the animals in the zoo who have fulfilled whatever fate. And the animal rescue teams have not still been allowed to go in and start out their animal rescue efforts. I also include things like the animals in my consciousness, ideas, prayers, and contributions.

I belief that we will all navigate through these tricky waters and times — and be able to garner the lessons and good that lie in potentiality for us, eclipsed most likely at current by the obscuring darkish. I come to feel, as usually, that there is light-weight at the finish of the tunnel.

Post time: 11-12-2016