I received the “10 things to learn from Japan” from a friendly source. The message it conveys is crystal clear, therefore, pondering and meditation on the issues that it arises come easy.
The attitude and behaviour reported on the Japanese people is not necessarily a Japanese way of dealing with difficulties or due to an “eastern frame of mind or culture”. I happen to live through a larger earthquake in the early 1980 in Mexico City where the devastation, destruction and death toll was larger than the one Japan is experiencing now. (No nuclear reactor leaked, even though there was fear and concern for a nuclear reactor located on the eastern coast could present leaks).
The behaviour of the Mexicans was very much the same as the one now said of the Japanese. The generous, selfless spirit to offer aid to the needy, the wounded, to those that had lost everything and many times a loved one under the rubble was exemplary. Official, government, and even international aid institutions trailed behind the actions taken by the Mexicans as they organized and carried on with whatever had to be done, needed to be done, or they could do. Strangers were welcome into houses to be feed, to sleep, to have a drink of water (which was scarce and often contaminated), or to get whatever aid could be provided. Remember, earthquakes don't just happen, they have many follow ups and they might be stronger than the first quake. Fear, concern, and risk are always present and a sensation that all can go to the worst is very real. Yet, people behave very different to the hysteria or other behavioural trait that could of have been assumed. (Nothing like the disaster films we get from Hollywood!)
On reflection on these experiences I find that a sense of self and thus selfishness is lost, at least in a large proportion of the population. A sense of community of fellowship and of service to the collective is rapidly and strongly developed. From the “bad” good may come, and it does. From destruction a new form of life, behaviour, attitude and understanding may arise, and it does. It becomes evident that the energies and capacity to act as we should are there and they just surface when facing limit or critical situations.
If we regard ourselves as intelligent and conscious beings, we should endeavour to use those energies for the collective good and for higher purposes as a way of life. No need to wait for the Universe through its many quakes to come and awaken us in a dramatic fashion.
May we gain awareness of what we are doing to our planet.
Blessings to the Japanese people and to all men /women of good will wherever they are.