Planning for Emergencies

Points to Ponder: June 8, 2018
A planned emergency is an oxymoron. How can we plan for the unexpected? Today we will reflect on this unique art of planning for the sudden and unexpected. Let us first explore what an emergency is.
When we hear the term emergency, what pops us in mind is usually situations of big political, economic, social or natural upheavals. We think of wars, earthquakes, droughts, fire and practice drills and discuss about maintain stocks of food grains and water to deal with such situations. However, today we would understand what emergency means for me right now and what stocking up we need to begin with to eventually deal with bigger issues.

An emergency can be simply defined as a situation for which we are unprepared. The lesser the preparedness, the bigger the size of the emergency. Planning for an emergency means understand what an emergency demands and equipping one with it.  Let us reflect on what catches me off guard as I go through my day? Let us take a few examples. Does a power cut of an hour during summer upset me? Does a red traffic signal while I am hurrying to office upset me? Can I work under pressure of meeting a deadline? Does a health issue disturb me? Does my ability to think clearly and respond well stay intact in the above situations or does my state of mind shift from clear to confused and my behaviour from response to reaction? If it does then these are situations where I need to practice drills of maintaining calm and peace. What do I need to keep my calm and poise intact? I need spiritual powers. An example of spiritual power can be physical, emotional and mental resilience and the power of tolerance. What do I need to embody in order to respond and not react? I need the habit of being virtuous. Virtuousness may be defined as the ability to uphold the values of peace and love despite circumstances. However, to uphold spiritual virtues and powers in the face of circumstances requires that I embody them. That they are a part of my personality. My personality is a product of the way I think, speak and act over sustained periods of time. Hence, equipping myself with spiritual powers and virtues so that they safeguard against emergencies actually requires long practice of using these powers and virtues in thought, word and action until they colour my personality.

One needs to understand that any situation is an emergency when I am weak and a child’s play if I am equipped. I am the one who decides the potential of a situation. I have the power to shift the potential of a situation from very powerful to nothing at all depending on my preparedness. However, such a choice requires a decision to equip oneself with spiritual tools and long practice of spiritual powers and virtues.

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