As I write this post it appears that the western world is heading for yet another financial meltdown. The US at the last minute saved itself from defaulting on its debt, but may still have its credit rating downgraded. Italy may well be the next Eurozone country to need a financial bailout, potentially followed by Spain or Belgium. International markets have reacted to the uncertainty and dropped sharply. And in every western country people are struggling to cope with cuts in spending, less money and job insecurity.
The financial problems that the west are experiencing are not the only problems facing the world at the moment. Large parts of Africa are once more in the grip of a major famine, the conflicts and power struggles in the Middle East are covering more countries than ever before, the ice caps of the Arctic and Antarctic are melting meaning that Polar Bears in hungry desperation are attacking humans for food and Japan and New Zealand are still trying to deal with the aftermath of the huge earthquakes that struck their countries earlier this year.
None of this is particularly new. The world has always had to deal with disasters. But in talking to people there is a sense that these disasters are now occuring with more frequency and with more force. And we dont seem to be able to overcome one before another one hits.
Living in the countryside of South West France it is easy to feel immune to the disasters around the world. Even on a local level though we can tell the world is changing. One of the things that we have always loved about France is the feeling of seasons that we get in our part of the world. We have been in France for three years and in that time winters have been cold and crisp, spring warm with regular wet spells and summers have been hot and dry. This year however the natural sense of seasons has changed. Between February and June we had no rainfall. None at all. The field next to our house which should have been been full of sunflowers bringing much needed income to this poor area of France has possibly 100 tough sunflowers growing out the dry, sandy, desert like soil. Farmers in the local bar have called this year a catastrophe.
After agriculture the second income generator in our part of France is tourism. The holiday season starts in earnest at the beginning of July when thousands of people from Northern France, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK descend on our area of France for the scenery, the weather and the markets. On the 4th July this year we finally had rain and it doesnt feel like it has stopped. In one week it rained constantly for seven days. Now the shopowners and gite owners are joining the farmers in calling this year a catastrophe.
The problems in our area of France pale in to insignificance compared to some of the problems around the world but they are painful to those of us who are here. And they are starting to create a lot of unease and uncertainty, there is a real sense in many people that the world is changing, that somehow it is starting to turn out of control.
The universe is made up of two opposing forces of energy, yin and yang. For there to be balance and harmony in the universe these two forces need to work together equally. Yin is dark, quiet, natural, yang is bright, busy, manmade. To live as humans we have been given a great opportunity, but with that opportunity comes responsibililty. We are responsible for our world and maintaining and supporting the forces in this world. That means we need to ensure the balance between yin and yang remains equal. If we look at many of the advancements we have made in the last 100 years they all support yang energy. Concreting over vast tracts of land to build new cities and roads, damming rivers, covering the sky with satellites to bring us ever better and quicker methods of communication all promote yang energy. The further we go with these advancements the further we create a sense of inbalance between yin and yang. If we continue as we are there will come a time when we push the balance past the point of no return.
The universe is sending us a message at the moment and we need to listen. There is an inbalance between yin and yang in our world. We need to try and restore and strengthen yin energy to recover that balance. We need to protect our natural world, build houses that blend with the environment, live simpler lives. If we can spend millions and millions on sending people in to space, building skyscrapers, designing and building ever smaller communication devices then we should be able to discover ways of maintaining that sense of balance and living as one with the world. We can never control the universe, nor does the universe control us. When we fully understand that and take action we will restore balance in our world.