Our Collective “Gift of Desperation”

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We seem to have had more than our fair share of natural disasters in these late summer months – more category 4 and 5 hurricanes hitting the Caribbean and East Coast of the United States than have ever been encountered, two powerful earthquakes stunning central and southwestern Mexico, record high temperatures with devastating forest fires in the Pacific Northwest and many other regions of the western US.

As dire as these events are, spawning widespread devastation, killing hundreds, and leaving 10,000s of people homeless and destitute, I have been impressed with the power these catastrophes have had in bringing people together. Heart-warming scenes of strangers risking life and limb to rescue strangers, groups of people uniting in common effort to save others, numerous examples of people rescuing thousands of frightened animals caught up in the mayhem – these disasters have shown how mother nature’s worst destructive chaos often has the effect of demonstrating how we really are all in this together, that our most redeeming qualities as human beings are illuminated by such extreme challenges.

Those involved in treating alcoholism and addiction often refer to the power of the “gift of desperation” – that the illness often drives someone so low that they are forced to deal with it, the alternative being death. In many ways, these natural disasters offer a collective gift of desperation. As my journey since coma in 2008 has revealed to me, the challenges and hurdles in life should be viewed as allies – they often provide the power to provide for our growth and maturation as spiritual, interconnected beings.

My interpretation of so much of the good I have seen in people through these disasters is that such challenges bring us closer together, in ways that support the notion of the Collective Mind, that we are all expressions of a vast intelligence, bound together through love and compassion, and acts of simple kindness.

21 replies
  1. Eli
    Eli says:

    Hi Dr. Eben, I just finished your book ” Proof of Heaven”, but I am left with several questions. The main one, what happens to bad people? To all those people who murder, rape etc.? In your experience was there only heaven or is there some kind of hell as some others have described? Thanks.

    Reply
  2. Norman Kangas
    Norman Kangas says:

    Enjoyed ur story on radio last night. Knowledge and inspiration have been available forever but most aren’t driven to look for it. No doubt ur presentation will inspire souls.

    Reply
  3. Becky Robeson
    Becky Robeson says:

    Eben I have wanted to share my thoughts with you for years and with the new book coming out soon it is time, past time.

    I so want to express my hearts appreciation to share your life’s journey which took you to God’s kingdom. I am truly disheartened by the skepticism and disbelief you have been mirages with ever since. You brought such a distinct joy to my life reading your account of our Heavenly kingdom God is preparing for us. I am so enamored with your life’s choices and sharing with us and eagerly await reading your book October 17. You know the classic question if you could spend the afternoon with one famous person. Well you would be it. Again I thank you and stand behind you.

    Respectfully. Becky Robeson

    Reply
  4. Julene
    Julene says:

    I am so grateful for the beauty of the human Spirit and am helped to see that in the big picture this is a part of the evolution of consciousness of which we are all a part.

    Reply
  5. Tammy Carpenter
    Tammy Carpenter says:

    I can easily see that natural disasters bring people together, but it is the senseless mass shootings like the recent one in Las Vegas that break my heart. How one human being can take that many lives and hurt so many people, hurts my heart and my soul. I try to focus on the good that the heros and helpers did to help others, but I still wonder when we will find a way to help heal the dis-ease of the mind and soul that so many now seem to be afflicted with. I pray that it comes soon.

    Reply
  6. Steve Rekedal
    Steve Rekedal says:

    As a person who is both in Recovery and working closely with many, the “gift of desperation” should appropriately read “Gift of Desperation”. God offers it as part of His Design for those of us who have the need, just as He offers many diverse Gifts to all people. We who have been blessed to experience Recovery by responding positively to desperation have special insight into the love of God–not better off or worse than others–just special. In the book the Shack by Young, the lead figure, interpreted by many as God the Father, talks about having a Special Love for each person–several billion special, unique loves, without limit!! How blessed, if we’re willing to receive His Gifts!

    Reply
  7. Blanc michel
    Blanc michel says:

    S’est dans l’épreuve que l’être humain transcende ces limites.

    It is in the test that the human being transcends these limits.

    Reply
  8. Margaret Coles
    Margaret Coles says:

    I think, somewhere deep within what is going on in regards to natural disasters, multi murders etc as we heard yesterday in America – there is great turbulence within the human psyche which is reflected in disturbed weather systems. This seems to be a season where the spirit of humans agreeing to be at a certain place at a certain time in order to aid healing. Karmic plans perhaps?People protect each other in various ways, offer blood, serve warm and nourishing supplies and just hold each other. This year in Britain we have seen aggression, disasters where lives and homes are lost. But folk have got together and expressed universal love. Perhaps if we didn’t have “disasters” we would not be so altruistic. Love/ Light to all.

    Reply
    • Bettina Novia
      Bettina Novia says:

      A Course in Miracles: “We say GOD IS, and then we cease to speak”.
      The storms, the earthquakes as well as all suffering can serve to remind us of the world’s impermanence. Nothing, absolutely nothing here lasts.
      Hopefully, as The Prodigal Son awakened, so may we awaken.
      “Be in the world but not OF it”: Jesus.

      Reply
  9. Sharon
    Sharon says:

    There is an interesting movie called Starman. At the end of the movie the “alien” says to the two people helping him, “Shall I tell you something wonderful about humans? When things are at their worst, you are at your best.” Amen! Thank you, Eben, for reminding us!

    Reply
  10. Susan S
    Susan S says:

    Wonderful! Thank you, Eben. I love that when everything falls apart, all we have is each other. The ego experiences desperation where the soul finds the opportunity for love and compassion and unity. How cool is that?

    Reply
  11. Deb Parker
    Deb Parker says:

    As Dr. Eben Alexander stated we are all one. What happens to one happens to us all. Service is of the upmost importance, prayers in unison, monetary gifts to trusted charities etc,. We need to let them know they are not alone and there is always hope. Prayers for Mother Earth are needed as well. Please know, we must have destruction before life can begin again. Think of a flower, it dies and enriches the soil before another can grow. Each time, we are enriched. I pray for the least amount of life’s taken, the rest can go, as ww collectively can rebuild with better buildings ( to aid us in natural disasters), better technology, better emergency plans and faster aid to life. Remember to keep thoughts objective because where your thoughts go is where the energy goes, positive or negative. We need to have higher consciousness and this is why we are going through this. Thank you Dr. Eben Alexander, Karen and staff.

    Reply
  12. JULIE GATZ
    JULIE GATZ says:

    My heart hurts when I hear people attributing these disasters to God’s punishment. It really hurts my heart! I have responded to some of these people, some in my own family, that God is love, and he certainly does not need to burn people’s houses down and destroy lives to make a point. Why would he beat his own children? Does anyone have a good response to this type of reasoning that says God is trying to “get our attention” by bringing on natural disasters? I am grateful for you, Eben.

    Reply
    • Rolf E Olson
      Rolf E Olson says:

      Julie, thank you for your passionate questioning. As a Christian I see Jesus coming to share in our trauma…as he did especially during Holy Week. Since this horrible stuff happens he came (God came) to dwell with us in its midst. And when it comes we are assured that life, love, hope will win because he did on Easter. God doesn’t send this stuff, but God is in it with us.

      Reply
    • Vito Pizzolato
      Vito Pizzolato says:

      There are two laws in the universe, the laws of nature and the laws of God. God in his infinite wisdom gave the human being an intelligence of infinite potential. This intelligence is the absolute good in the human species. This intelligence serves to make sound judgments and to create a harmonious society. Our understanding of nature is such that we can now dominate or control its course. In understanding its course, we can then better prepare our society from the distructive forces of nature. Any person that truly knows God knows that God is altruistic. Not only God gave of HImself in the creation of the the universe but also God is continuasly giving of Himself in keeping every living entity alive. This can be discussed at a later time. It is this intelligence that allows the being to reflect the image of God. When we see people giving of themselves to help others, in actuality we see intelligence. Or better yet, we see a spiritual being. Best regards Vito your reply will be well received.

      Reply
  13. Lynnie
    Lynnie says:

    I, too, have been appreciating the acts of compassion and kindness that are surrounding the natural disasters we have experienced of late. These acts between strangers are not random; they come from a conscious heart and connected spirit that reminds all us to be of service to others in times of need. May these acts continue – even when a crisis has abated.

    Reply
  14. Sekoiaa
    Sekoiaa says:

    Thank you for providing an alternative and positive perspective on situations and events that, on the surface, seem to be negative and disastrous.

    Reply

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