Joy… Amidst Carnage and Mayhem?
Master said time and time again how we must remain calm in times of adversity, amidst ‘the crash of breaking worlds’. Please allow me to set the scene.
It would be better if the beautiful Isle of Man, located in the middle of the Irish Sea, was renowned for its spiritual history; a centre for a civilization that worshiped God as the Mother and drew pilgrims from as far as Norway, The Hebridean Isles, Cornwall, Brittany, Ireland, and Scotland, in the days of the Druids. My own house is built on a sacred and ancient highway, called then ‘The Royal Road’, to a central worshipping ground. Central in more than one sense, as it is at this point, only one mile from my home, that the ley lines and axes from north to south, east to west, of the whole of the British Isles meet. It is a truly auspicious place, but known by so very few. It is little wonder that I received my spiritual awakening after living here for no more than a few months.
But instead, alas, the Isle of Man is renowned for its world famous motorbike racing, the ‘TT Races’. Each year our small island population of 78,000 is inundated for 2 weeks in June for sport that draws racers and fans from all over the world. An increase of approximately 180,000 to this small population, and all centred around our small town of Douglas. Most of these visitors come with motorbikes of their own. You have to see it to believe it, the contrast to the town when this event takes place, to the normally more subdued and sedate flow of island life.
Anyway, it is unfortunate that some are drawn here for the glamour seen in the danger of the sport. The ‘TT’ course runs on our normal roads, and is notoriously the most dangerous course in the world. Deaths, each year, are inevitable when bikes travel at record speeds, and fans attempt to imitate their heroes after the races.
Arriving at the end of the practice week, before race week proper, and 7 fatalities have already been recorded, and the races haven’t even started! Instantaneous death usually occurs at the scene as bike and rider career into stone walls, other cars etc. It is not unknown to have the race marshalls killed as bikes mow them down, not seeing them at the speeds travelled.
My place of work, Intensive Care, is full of the ones fortunate, or not so fortunate as fate would have it, that manage to survive, often with horrific crush injuries, loss of limbs, and severed spinal cords. The orthopoedic wards are full to bursting point with fracture casualties. Helicopters can be ferrying in casualties every 15 minutes, as indeed they were yesterday. In fact I can hear the bikes roaring round the race cirucuit as I write, along with the helicopters hovering overhead; the 3 landing pads being situated just behind my house near the hospital grounds.
Yesterday started off very strangely. My alarm sounded at 2 am, for some obscure reason. I reset the clock for 3.45 am, my usual time, only to find that it had not sounded when I awoke at 6. 25 am of my own accord. I had to leave for work in 30 minutes; hardly any time for sadhana, although I did what I could, I forwent breakfast and arrived on time for my 14 hour shift, calm and centred!
And what a shift! Utter carnage, are the two words that spring to mind as best to describe the scenes of the day.
One patient arrives, bleeding badly, excrutiating pain, unstable vital signs, dropping conscious level. Needs urgent surgery. All hands required to stabilize and ship this patient to the operating theatre, meanwhile there are other patients from previous admissions, and just as sick, if not more so. Another one arrives. No bed available. We have to ship out the least sick of the bunch. Time spent in arranging transfer, cleaning up and restocking the bed space to accommodate the new arrival, equally as sick as the last. Another arrives, a head injury, needs urgent attention from a specialist neurological centre, which we do not have on the Island. We have to air lift across, at the earliest convenience as a bed becomes available on the mainland. All this has to be arranged and is very time consuming. We lose a much needed nurse and a doctor to flying this patient off island.
Meanwhile we are trying to stem bleeding points and administer to the many and demanding needs of the other patients. A distraught mother looks straight into my eyes and asks me if her son is going to make it….
Are you getting the picture?
To top it all I hurt my back somehow. I was in agony for about 12 hours of the shift. Unable to sit down because of work pressure, I had no choice other than to get on with it and do my best to ignore it.
Throughout this day, my role was to be in charge of filtering the blood of a critical patient, whose serum potassium was running at dangerously high levels as a result of his crush injury. It wasn’t working and it was necessary to administer counter active, and potentially dangerous, intra-venous drugs every half hour or so. He was at risk of going into cardiac arrest at any time. He could also have been put into an arrest situation by administering the very drugs that were attempting to stabilize him, if given too quickly. I, too, was invloved in supporting my colleages as best I could, in any way that was required.
I was very aware, despite the way my day started, despite the circumstances and events that befell each of us on this nightmare shift, that there was a definite calm underlying the mayhem that appeared, on the surface, to be occuring. God was with us, and in my awareness, when I had time to feel Him there.
I have long since learned not to let work ruffle my feathers. But what I have found lately is that this calm is actually pervading the consciousness of my colleagues. I take absolutely no credit for this. I can see exactly what is happening here. My inner peace keeps me centred for the most part. I am not saying I have perfected this yet, by any means. Environment is stronger than will, as Master says. As my own inner peace grows, so too does my calming magnetism, or my environment. People will imitate, or are magentically bound to imitate, without often realizing that they are, and despite all, people were staying calm. Where does my magnetism come from? My attunement in God, so if credit is due then it is to Him that I direct it.
Tasks were carried out efficiently, difficulties surmounted, fears overcome, and tragedy was averted, by souls so concentrating on the tasks in hand, that there was no room to allow fears, selfish pettinesses and desires to cloud our judgement. We removed our petty selves out of the equation. We worked as a unified team and it truly was a joy to behold. True, selfless natures could be seen through the usual facade of personal agendas. We did our poor best, but, by the grace of God, it was enough to keep our patients alive and their stricken relatives thankful.
I saw Him shining through all, this shift; the casualties, the relatives, and my colleagues. I am sure no one else saw what I saw, but the fact remains that my colleauges were closer to their own souls than they knew.
Master said that objective conditions are always neutral. It is how we react to them that makes them appear happy or sad.
I arrived home late, covered in blood, exhausted, hurting, but content and blissful. After washing away the grime and events of the day I made sure that all time was given to my sadhana, especially as I was such a poor player earlier in the day. Offering all back to Guru, I completed my full compliment of Kriya and remembered my injured back…
…What injured back?
Joy to you