Run Towards The Roar

The world, despite its disasters, tragedies and villainies, can’t end unless it runs out of stories. For this world is made of stories, each tale a part of an eternal drama being told from beginning to end and over again. As long as all the stories don’t come to an end the world will continue.

That’s what I tell young people when they ask if this world will end soon. And increasingly, young people ask about the end of the world. Whether it be educated youth considering the dangers of global warming and climate change, less privileged ones who feel the bite of poverty and the growing disparity between rich and poor, or those exposed to the increased threats of violence and extremism – modern youth grow up amidst threats of natural disaster and nightmares of terrorism and can’t help but doubt the future of the world. Youth, who are expected to question their own future, come to question whether there will be any future at all.

Typically youth carry the unfolding dream of life; so it’s startling to hear young people wondering whether the world will wait for them to find their way into it. When the end seems near everyone can feel old; even the young become older than they should be. What story are we in when those carrying the dream of life increasingly find themselves near the doors of death?

In this world, life and death both roar at the frailty of the individual soul and it’s easy to become prey to fear of either one or the other. As fears about the world accumulate and terrors abound, I often recall an old African teaching about fear. On the ancient savannas life pours forth in the form of teeming, feeding herds. Nearby, lions wait in anticipation of the hunt. They send the oldest and weakest member of the pride away from the hunting pack. Having lost most of its teeth, its roar is far greater than its ability to bite. The old one goes off and settles in the grass across from where the hungry lions wait.

As the herds enter the area between the hunting pack and the old lion begins to roar mightily. Upon hearing the fearful roar most of the herd turn and flee from the source of the fear. They run wildly in the opposite direction. Of course, they run right to where the strongest lions of the group wait in the tall grass for dinner to arrive. “Run towards the roar,” the old people used to tell the young ones. When faced with great danger run towards the roaring, for there you will find some safety and a way through.

Sometimes the greatest safety comes from going to where the fear seems to originate. Amidst the roaring of the threatened and troubled world, surprising ways to begin it all again may wait to be found. As a poet once said, “A false sense of security is the only kind there is.” Those who seek security in a rapidly changing world run right into the teeth of one dilemma or another. It might be better to run towards the roar and learn what it means to live in a time of many endings. In the end the only genuine security can be found in taking the risks that the soul would take. For the old soul in the human psyche knows that the whole thing has hung by a thread all along.

Michael Meade Excerpted from The World Behind the World

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Posted by | Paul Reynolds
Paul has been a yoga teacher on the Island of Kauai for many years and is the facilitator of the weekly Living the Question Blog - a repository of wisdom and inspiration. Paul also produces and hosts Le Guru is You Radio Show, showcasing everyday gurus.

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