Saturday, January 12, 2018 at 8:07 am a statewide warning went out to every citizen of the state of Hawaii–texts, radio and TV were used to spread the word of an incoming ballistic missile. Assuming that said missile came from North Korea 4600 miles away from Hawaii…the residents of Hawaii would have between 12 and 20 minutes before that missile landed.
I have heard some news about this event and for the most part it seems as if the media across the board is missing the main point. In true fashion the powers to be–ie: the media and the government, seem to be pointing fingers, allocating blame, pointing out inefficiencies in the system, and grabbing hold of heart warming stories from the millions of families affected to promote their personal agendas. There are over 1 million residents of Hawaii, this being January, I am assuming that the population has swelled with tourists escaping the harsh winter climate on the mainland, just like it does here on the Cape in the summer.
My thoughts on this whole experience–don’t shift automatically to blame. I am left with imagining myself receiving a text warning like that, and knowing I had 12 minutes–20 on the outside, to live. How would I spend those precious last minutes?
In the case of a nuclear ballistic attack on the east coast, there is no real escape, Boston to the north, New York to the south–we would be screwed. I am not sure I would choose to try to survive. I mean you know you aren’t going to survive a direct impact. And do I really want to be around to experience the effects of the fall out? If for some reason I managed to survive the blast and avoid the fall out, I know I would not do well in following chaos. I am not a violent person by nature, my ability to protect myself from assault has never been tested. However, my reluctance to engage in physical altercations would definitely work against me, in a post nuclear blast Cape Cod.
All that being said, I would in the first 30 seconds rule out any ability to try to flee or survive. So then, what would I do?
I would reach out to my immediate family, hoping that the cell phone satellites would allow me one last conversation with loved ones who were not nearby. If I knew my family was on Cape and close, I may very well try to get to them to say good bye in person. I like to think I would head for the beach to breath in the sea air and the natural beauty of Planet Earth. I could easily go to the mountains, forest, rivers, marsh, I would like to think that no matter where I was on planet earth, when given a text warning that I have 12-20 minutes left to live I am hoping I have enough calm to contact family, say my goodbyes, and then settle into the beauty of nature and wait peacefully for the end.
But in reality…I have no idea how I would respond..I do know I would feel a huge sense of loss…I am not ready to stop living….I have not done everything I want to do yet. The question that begs to be asked at that point, is why not? What has been stopping me?
How would you handle your impending death? and more importantly–have you lived your life to the fullest? Have you lived a life you would do again? Have you lived a life to be proud of? Imagine you just received that text message. Incoming Ballistic Missile, this is not a test.
Now imagine, 38 minutes after you were told you were going to die, you get a second text stating that the first was a mistake. All is good in the world, so move along, nothing to see here. I would imagine the sense of relief would be overwhelming…then the influx of heavy deep emotions ranging from anger to love would sweep through the body system wreaking havoc. Leaving you weak and shaking as you truly comprehend the power and meaning of the end of you.
Ana T Forrest in her book Fierce Medicine discusses the power of the “Death Meditation” in creating deep personal change. The benefit being you don’t actually die in your death meditation practice. The practice is powerful for locating those things that are holding us back from our true authentic selves, and showing us what is truly important in this life. “The Death Meditation gets you focusing on with diamond-sharp clarity on what matters. Because all facades, delusions, rackets, and life-sucking trivia pale when you face your impending death” Facing your own impending death “will bring you face to face with what you need to let go and how you need to move ahead.”..” It’ll be easier to let stuff go; when you know what you are here for, you’re not going to waste your life force on petty things”
In Hawaii last Saturday morning, over 1.3 million people were told by the Government that they were going to die and to seek shelter. That’s one hell of death meditation.
So what comes out of this whole experiment into a massive death meditation? I hope we do make some practical changes to the system so it doesn’t happen again, and maybe come up with some effective means of survival should you choose to go that route. But more importantly, I am hoping that people across the globe realize the seriousness of the state of the world, and start to really pay attention to what’s happening. How close we are to death at any given moment, and start to live our individual lives as if this truly could be our last day on earth…cause really–it could be. I am not saying we need to live in fear of immenent death….but a calm acceptance of the reality, rather than the ostrich head in the sand approach may be a bit more helpful for the consciousness of the planet and ourselves.
I am wondering what the outcome will be long term in Hawaii for the people who went through this experience. Will people all over the state start to become a bit more spiritual? Understanding the impermenance of the material and turning to the spiritual. Will they move forward from this point on, knowing with diamond cut crystal clear clarity what is really important to them, disregarding that which isn’t meaningful and choosing to live authentically?
I am hoping that this scare may have the most positive result of all, and help people all over the globe realize how close we are to death, and to not obsess on the death part–but to recognize the gift of life we all have…and to use the little time we have on this planet to improve upon it.
How would you spend your last 12-20 minutes, days, weeks, months or years…..we each have an endpoint, we don’t know when that end point it coming. but coming it is…how do you choose to spend your remaining time? Are you aware of the small things that don’t matter that suck up your time and energy? Are you aware of what is truly important to you as a human being on this planet? Can you use this “mistake” of the Hawaiian Missile Crisis as a wake up call to your self and change the course of your life, so that when you inevitably get the call from death, you can go peacefully with no regrets?
Can you find what is important to you, and live your life honoring that which is meaningful and letting go of all the stuff that isn’t? Can you spend your time, energy and life force promoting that which is important to you, neglecting all the stuff that doesn’t matter? Imagine coming face to face with death–and then being given a reprieve….can you take advantage of what you learn in the last moments of your life?
All of us, here on Planet Earth right now, are lost in a maze of distraction. We are consumed with the daily challenges of life and rarely stop to think about the deeper meaning to this experience called life. Our attention spans are so short that we, as a whole, can not take the time to seriously consider why we are here, why we were given the opportunity to experience life on this planet. I have no answer to that question, but I do think it goes beyond consuming as much as we can and looking out for number one or working day in and day out just to make ends meet. We have the gift of consciousness, the ability to see beyond ourselves and acknowledge that we are part of a larger whole. Unlike any other creature on earth, we can choose to expand that consciousness and try to live up to our potential as human beings, or we can dumb down our consciousness by choice and live each day without ever questioning why we are here in the first place. We can allow for the continuous distraction provided for us by all our technological advances or we can choose to put our devices down, take a deep breath and choose to ponder what is important to us.
I tried the Death Meditation once….it was back during a very dark time in my life. And I did not go as deeply as I could have into the meditation, frankly it scared me. Looking deep into our inner being can be a frightening place to go, sorting out that which is important, and seeing how we ignore it day after day is depressing. Once you know what is important to you, it is not easy to ignore. Action at some level is required.
I do not envy the poor people of Hawaii who were unknowingly placed in that horrifying position. Rather than blaming the system for screwing up, I think we can try to use this experience to improve the human condition on an individual basis. Do your own little Death Meditation.
Imagine yourself on vacation at one of the most beautiful places on Earth. One of the newest places on earth in geological terms. You have saved and scrimped for years to get there, and while there, you are informed that death is speeding towards you in the form of a ballistic missile…..can you–in the next 38 minutes discover that which is most important to you, delete all the minutae and truly connect with your inner being. What is it that you regret the most? What is the worst part about your impending doom? Then, when you realize death is not actually on the way–you are being given a second chance….How could you use that second chance?