Tag Archives: Inner Peace

The end of the world from a fiction perspective.

19 Dec

I just finished reading Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver, and the basic focus of the novel, the concept of climate change, connects well with the possible end of the world on Friday, according to the Mayans. Here is the synopsis of the novel, according to GoodReads.com:

“Flight Behavior” transfixes from its opening scene, when a young woman’s narrow experience of life is thrown wide with the force of a raging fire. In the lyrical language of her native Appalachia, Barbara Kingsolver bares the rich, tarnished humanity of her novel’s inhabitants and unearths the modern complexities of rural existence. Characters and reader alike are quickly carried beyond familiar territory here, into the unsettled ground of science, faith, and everyday truces between reason and conviction.

Dellarobia Turnbow is a restless farm wife who gave up her own plans when she accidentally became pregnant at seventeen. Now, after a decade of domestic disharmony on a failing farm, she has settled for permanent disappointment but seeks momentary escape through an obsessive flirtation with a younger man. As she hikes up a mountain road behind her house to a secret tryst, she encounters a shocking sight: a silent, forested valley filled with what looks like a lake of fire. She can only understand it as a cautionary miracle, but it sparks a raft of other explanations from scientists, religious leaders, and the media. The bewildering emergency draws rural farmers into unexpected acquaintance with urbane journalists, opportunists, sightseers, and a striking biologist with his own stake in the outcome. As the community lines up to judge the woman and her miracle, Dellarobia confronts her family, her church, her town, and a larger world, in a flight toward truth that could undo all she has ever believed.

“Flight Behavior” takes on one of the most contentious subjects of our time: climate change. With a deft and versatile empathy Kingsolver dissects the motives that drive denial and belief in a precarious world.

Though Flight Behavior wasn’t one of my favorites by Kingsolver and I often felt like I was trudging through most of the novel, it did provide a fictional account of climate change as well as the possible end of the world. Personally, I do not believe the world is going to end on Friday. I know there are many people who either strongly believe the world will end on Friday, strongly don’t or are simply torn on the subject. In my personal opinion, I just don’t feel there is enough concrete evidence to support the end of the world. Yes, people have tried making connections by stretching the importance of certain events, but in my opinion, all of the sporadic events possibly connected to the prospect of the world ending on Friday just don’t add up to a solid reason.

Despite not believing the world is going to end on Friday, Flight Behavior got me thinking about what I would do if I knew the world was going to end within a matter of days, or even hours. My two necessities would be to tell my friends and family how much I love them, and then I’d spend my last few hours of existence sitting at a scenic overlook along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Though I doubt too many people would be able to fully understand the desire to be alone right before the end of existence, I love the mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway in a way that’s truly hard to describe. I just know that when I am sitting at an overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway, I am the happiest I have ever been. The mountains have always been my favorite kind of landscape, and when I have the chance to simply sit and enjoy their beauty, nothing can beat that feeling of true contentment that I feel. In those moments, it’s as if all the troubles of the world melt away, and the only thing that matters is the natural beauty that is right in front of me. In my restorative yoga class, we talk a lot about striving to reach inner peace, which is also related to the Buddhist philosophy. Through meditation exercises in my restorative yoga class, I’ve gotten glimpses of that “inner peace.” And truthfully, if the world was going to end within a matter of days, I’d be perched at an overlook along the Parkway allowing the natural beauty of the mountains to help me find the pure happiness that I know resides somewhere within each one of us.

The power of awareness.

13 Oct

Yesterday in my restorative yoga class at Asheville Community Yoga, something incredible happened. In restorative yoga, there are a number of supported poses that we do in order to reach a state of deep relaxation. Even though I’ve been going to the class since last year, I’m just starting to get back into going regularly again. In terms of my restorative class though, I often find that once I’m able to make myself go to class I remember why I started going in the first place. As well as being able to deeply relax after a busy week, yoga is another activity that I do completely for myself. It has no other purpose other than helping me to relax and making me happy.

Restorative yoga is made up of a number of supported poses. The final pose is called shavasana, or corpse pose. During shavasana, my yoga teacher leads us through a guided meditation in order to reach yoga nidra. Yoga nidra is a “sleep-like” state in which you reach a state of deep relaxation. During the yoga nidra yesterday, as my yoga teacher was guiding us through a meditation, he reminded us to become aware of what was happening around us. He urged us to become aware of ourselves, our bodies, our breath, and our thoughts. During the awareness exercise, a dog started barking outside. After a while, my yoga teacher instructed us to become aware to the dog barking outside. A few minutes later, the dog stopped barking, and my yoga teacher told us to become aware to the fact that the dog stopped barking as soon as we focused our awareness towards it.

Even though the fact that the dog stopped barking as soon as we were made aware of it doesn’t seem like such a big deal now, it was an incredible experience in the moment. It helped me better understand the power of awareness and why it’s such a key tool in yoga. As I was talking with my yoga teacher after class, we both were still amazed at the experience with the dog. I think it’s one of the coolest moments I’ve experienced since beginning restorative yoga. The awesome thing is that now my yoga teacher and I (and everyone else in the class yesterday) are able to share that moment, and no one is able to take that experience from us. It’s made us more connected, even if we may never see each other again. We have that shared experience, and I bet that for many of us, that moment will stay with us for quite a while.