Sunday, January 10, 2010

6.5 Earthquake Shakes the Roots

Yesterday around 4:27p pacha mama let out a big belly roar that shook Humboldt county. It was a magnitude 6.5 that set off in the ocean near the coast of Ferndale, about 20 miles south of Arcata. So far there are no injuries reported, just snapped power lines, property damage, and missing pets.

A friend of mine was on a cliff gazing out at the ocean when it happened. She said she saw the edge of the earth shake! I was working at the store on the plaza all day and stepped outside to grab a burrito with a friend. As I was walking back to work, I reached into my pocket and my stomach sunk as I realized I left my keys in the store and I was locked out! At that very moment, the glass windows of Mazzoti's began shaking and whoooshing beside me. I thought someone got slammed into it. There was a pause. Then the earth below me began rolling. Earthquake! Glass windows! I ran into the street as everyone began pouring out of the stores and restaurants. Two girls let out screeching cries. All of the cars parked on the street began swooshing side to side like jello as the road rocked like the ocean. I could feel the earth deep within my belly. Then all the bars let out and people came running out with beers yelling and howling like the world was coming to an end! It was all very surreal, and all very much Arcata.

The power went out for most of the town. I could not believe that the one time I lock myself out of the store, there's an earthquake! It was almost comical. Luckily the owner came by shortly after and opened the door. We fumbled around in the dark to try and assess the damage and couldn't believe that there appeared to be none. Only a few little things had fallen over at All Under Heaven. Give thanks to the store's protector Buddha's.

My cell phone was down for about an hour, and the electricity was shut off at home til about 8:30p. I was planning on going out that night to do some kirtan chanting with friends, but took the opportunity to retreat and go inside. I burned some incense, did some yoga, and read ancient scripture by candlelight. I was almost disappointed when the lights came back on...

The Katha Upanishad

"Hidden in the heart of every creature
Exists the Self, subtler than the subtlest,
Greater than the greatest. They go beyond
All sorrow who extinguish their self-will
And behold the glory of the Self
Through the grace of the Lord of Love." (20)

This quake served as a beautiful reminder of the fragility of all of this. Our whole world and life as we know it is not as stable as our comfort and routine has us to believe. At any moment it can be "shaken" up. Everything is constantly changing, flowing, dying and being reborn. You can never step in the same river twice. You can never breathe the same breath again. In sanskrit this is known as anitya or impermanence. However the ancient texts continually teach us that there is something that lasts, forever pure and eternal in nature. Something that no earthquake can shake.

"When the wise realize the Self,
Formless in the midst of forms, changeless
In the midst of change, omnipresent
And supreme, they go beyond sorrow." (22)

This was a beautiful moment to recognize and reconnect to Spirit.
To offer great gratitude and love for family and friends,
strangers, plants, animals, and rocks.
And to deeply appreciate the life we got.

100 years from now, all of these humans will be gone.
This is a very significant statement to ponder.
Let us remember we are all just visitors passing through.

So much love.


Tyler Anneliese said...

beautiful, i might have to quote you in my research paper!!

Mindful Roots said...

thanks! what are you researching tyler?