Phoenix Rising: Lessons From the Chilean Miners
“I think I had extraordinary luck. I was with God and with the devil. And I reached out for God.” Mario Sepulveda, one of the 33 Chilean miners pulled to safety this week, gave us a poignant example of the duality of life with these moving words.
How many times do we hear people say “it’s not black and white.” They may be talking about a particular situation in their lives, or an opinion on something important to them. They tell us that the truth is more complicated, and lies somewhere in between the black and white — in the gray zone. This gray zone is a blending of belief systems and circumstances supposedly beyond our control.: Le
Let’s look at the beauty of a tuxedo cat. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of living with a tuxedo, they are black cats with white paws and bellies, and they often have white on their faces. The stark contrast between the shiny black fur and the glistening white patches creates a strikingly handsome animal. I don’t want to imply that black is negative and white is positive — they are both beautiful, but opposite. No gray exists anywhere on their bodies. Tuxedos are black and white — no in-between. The colors blend together to make an individual full of character. Tuxedos teach us about loving and learning from both aspects of life. Every situation has the potential for a positive and negative outcome — it is we who determine what that outcome will be.
Tuxedos show us not to resist duality, but to embrace it. There is nothing in life that is free of a positive and a negative dual nature. The good news is that despite being in the midst of negativity, there is a positive solution. In every cloud, there is a silver lining waiting to be discovered. And within that same cloud is the potential for a rain storm.
The gray zone of life is an illusion; it is a place of our own making. When situations become uncomfortable, our human nature requires that we find an underlying reason for our circumstances. We often blame someone else for creating our drama. We don’t want to look at both aspects — the black and the white, the good and the bad, the positive and the negative.
Many dualities are apparent in the mining disaster. The rescue was a source of national pride, yet the corruption and safety issues that created the accident are a national disgrace. The miners have become heroes for the entire world, and have showed us how a positive attitude literally brought them from the dark to the light. Some, however, had both a wife and a girlfriend waiting for them, and had to face the consequences of their actions. And even with the gratitude and relief they feel, all the miners will have to deal with the physical and psychological ramifications of 79 days underground.
If we walk head first into the dualities of our lives, and take responsibility for creating all of them, we gain power over what’s happening to us. We must have the courage to look at the painful aspects of our circumstances. In doing so, we can choose to learn from what’s happening, and knowledge is always a powerful healer. Once we have examined all aspects of the situation, we must stay positive in order to find our way home.
The miners lived this philosophy. They listened to the voice of a wise member of their group who suggested rationing food. They took it upon themselves to monitor and care for the health of the older miners. They helped each other through injuries and fear, and made the most of the good moments from above.
May the joy we feel for the miners, their families, and all who worked tirelessly to rescue them ease their remaining transition from darkness to the healing light.