Exactly a year today, we are again reminded of the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 on the very same date last year. Many “bad” things happened last year. While the world still debates upon the countless possibilities behind it, it somehow dawned upon me that the tragedies had reminded us of much more than fear and condemnation.
Right now we seemed completely safe at home reading a piece of article written by some stranger out there. But we never know what’s gonna happen tomorrow, or even what may happen the next moment. Whether a durian is going to fall and hit someone (touch wood) whether an earthquake is going to erupt any moment or a tiny little ant is to be killed while you were walking along the streets. etc
MH370 reminds us that life is ephemeral.
There’s a Zen saying that a person’s life is upon the tip of his nose. The moment his breath comes to a complete halt, he dies.
However, we can’t live on with that fear of uncertainty.
About a month ago, I was travelling back from Japan to Malaysia. As we were 30,000 feet above the sea, a fearful thought dawned upon me. What if…yeah right and I stopped. What if something happen…
The fact is: I can’t control a single thing when I’m 30,000 feet above the sea. At that point, I felt vulnerable. But what can we do?
Three things popped out of my mind
1. Mindfulness of breath.
It seems that all I can do was returning to my breath. And just be aware of the sensation as the air enters and exits my nostrils. Then, I recalled what a teacher once told me.
He said: “When you pray, you need to have a good intention and believe that you’ll be protected. But if something bad really happen to you or someone, then accept it as karma. Blame no one.”
As a Buddhist, I took some time off to practice “metta meditation” by sending loving-kindness to myself, my family members, friends, strangers, people on the plane, and all sentient beings in every single direction. Seriously, loving-kindness grounds the mind and body.
I began thanking every “safe journey”, in fact every safe “seconds” that has gone by in the plane and utilized those “blessed moment” to do something meaningful.
Maybe like right now.
Tragedies happen every day. It’s good to be aware of our surroundings, but if we let fear conquer us, we can never do anything, let alone achieve something. It reminds me of Hamlet’s most significant quote:
“To be or not to be”.
:to conquer the fear of death, one must make peace with it. We must accept this fact but still move on with life, making use of every moment, every second.
Do you want to start living to the fullest? Or to be continually haunted by fear? To be?!
Just an after-note, I came across a Ted Talk by Ric Elias few years ago titled
“3 things I learned while my plane crashed” and I felt obligated to share it here today.
May suffering ones, be suffering free,
And fear-struck, fearless be,
May the grieving shed all grief
May all beings find relief