The Duck and Cover
Those of a certain age will recall the grade school drills conducted in preparation for a nuclear blast — duck and cover. I remember doing this a couple of times in 4th grade, at the height of the atomic bomb scare during the early late 50s, early 60s. At the time, I did not understand how ducking and covering — cowering really — under our desks was going to be any sort of protection if a nearby atomic blast was going to instantly wipe away everything. Even if we were to survive the initial blast, there was the deadly fallout to follow, so either way, ducking and covering made no sense to me. I guess the educators responsible for this drill figured it would be better to keep innocent children’s wide eyes shut in the face of total annihilation, than to witness the carnage while it was happening. I dunno.
I woke up the other night with the image of schoolroom duck and cover, and came to the awareness that metaphorically, I did this when my experience either became too intense, or scary scenarios bounced around in my ego monkey mind. Duck and cover! The ostrich sticks its head in the sand, hoping it will all just go away. And sometimes it does, but it’s guaranteed that the underlying causative factors for the duck and cover still remain, unless addressed head on with eyes wide open.
Duck and cover is how we engage in full-blown denial of our fears and circumstances. It gives us a sort of sense of protection, even though it is no protection at all. The soft underbelly reality of denial is the fact that those energies we deny are precisely the ones we must embrace in order to achieve any modicum of self-mastery.
What are we ultimately denying? Well, our own creations, or our responses to our own perceptions. One person can see the charge of a lion as a life-threatening event, or maybe that lion is charging up to give us a big hug. Of course, we’re not going to wait around and find out, either running away or doing the duck and cover.
There are inexorable forces in this universe, and some of them are beyond our puny personal power. They exist in our world because we subconsciously agreed to co-create them in all their wondrous brute force. These great forces of Nature, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes and supernovas, bring perspective in the knowledge that there are greater forces at work in the universe than ourselves, and serve as reminders of the lineage of power from whence we came.
When it comes to our own psychologies, it is important to discern the difference between an existential threat and a purely imaginary duck and cover event. And on the road to spiritual development, there are NOTHING except ephemeral fears masquerading as existential threats. That is to say, whatever we are ducking and covering from will never destroy us — only make us stronger.
Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz story, our seeking to find “home” is often more a matter of recognizing our own ruby slippers and then how to use them, than any type of grand sojourn to an external wizard, who will dramatically reveal to us who and what we truly are, or at the very least pat us on the back with words of encouragement.
Of course, many times on my spiritual journey home, have I accepted a pat on the back as evidence of progress — a surface illusion at best, and it only served to distract me from the reality that the way home is known only to me. My greatest assistance has always been my own burning desire to return home as a fully embodied Self, living a Universal life of beauty, transcendence and power.
So now, my friends, let’s crawl out from our duck and cover poses, and click those ruby slippers together three times!