So, what is genuine safety and what threatens it? We define safety as a condition where our minds, bodies, loved ones and surroundings are protected from injury or loss. We feel safe when we believe our lives are intact and whole and nothing will violate that completeness. To establish safety, we build lives that have a footing of certainty with a few delightful surprises on the side. We look for predictable patterns of nourishment, detect enemies and create sheltering structures. We eat safe food, associate with safe people and go to safe places. We believe we can achieve lasting safety by solidifying structures and patterns of healthy support.
The problem is, life doesn't cooperate. The concrete footings, brick walls, and slate roofs of our life-sheltering structures are shaken by earthquakes of change. Working harder, acting smarter, or loving more, will not hold off the tides of transformation. Building green cities, eating organic food, meditating and doing yoga all day make make living smoother and more comfortable. It will not halt aging and eventual death. Investing with the smartest money manager does not prevent the market from rising and falling. Arming ourselves with nuclear weapons and tanks, doesn't prevent wounds to our armor. As long as we pursue the strategy of safety through solidity we will feel threatened because life is not a solid object.
To feel safe, requires that we acknowledge and accept life as an ongoing process of birth and death, gain and loss, balance and imbalance. Instead of believing we can force life into being solid ground, we must engage life as a fluid ocean. Not because I say so, but because it is the nature of life. To engage life as a fluid process requires us to abandon the old tricks we used to inhabit our illusions of solid ground. Trying to always stand at the head of the food line and keeping the burglar alarm on high alert doesn't work in in a watery world with no center and no circumference. Feeling safe in an ever-shifting world requires that we allow ourselves to be as fluid as that world. We leave off looking for the fixed pattern and enter the moving patterns. We leave off waving our feet toward rock bottom and circle our arms with the curl of the waves. We leave off seeing cycles of beginning and endings as enemies and invite them in as friends bringing unexpected renewal.
Essential to feeling truly safe in to be aware that the only thing that doesn't change is not an object we can hold onto. It's also not an object we can push away. Yet, the safe place we seek is already and always here, now. It is the silence permeating our words and the stillness surrounding our actions. To paraphrase and ancient scripture: Earthquakes cannot shake it. Tsunami's cannot wet it. Wildfires cannot burn it. H1N1 cannot kill it. Famine cannot starve it. Terrorists cannot explode it.
Containing and permeating constant change, is the non-changing spacious silence of awareness. It's been there from the moment we were born and there through every transformation we have passed. The safety of this ungraspable, unavoidable spacious awareness is the real you. It's the you that is unaffected by the whirlpool of constant change. We know this deeper than in our bones, yet we forget. In our forgetting, the safety that is already and always here is obscured.
Yet, for as long as we have been forgetting the real safety within the whirlpool of change there have been wise, loving people to help us remember. Buddha, Christ, Mohammed, Lao-Tsu are some of the many celebrities gently and not so gently tapping us on the shoulder, reminding us that things aren't as they appear, that we are living the human journey of discovering the mysteries of being within becoming. They aren't the only ones to help us remember. Most often, it's the person beside you. In some unexpected way, they poke a hole in your fear and reveal the safe spacious awareness you are.