As everybody knows, Japan is in dark times due to the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear problem. I would first of all like to say that Japan and its people have been tremendous throughout this situation. They have been calm, sensible, compassionate and have shown amazing resolve. They have demonstrated to the world how to deal with these kinds of problems. And we can't forget the group of 180 selfless heroes who are trying to overcome the nuclear problem at risk to their own health and lives. They are truly inspirational.
I've been living in Japan for nearly 8 years and, prior to 2:46 on the 11th of March, had experienced many earthquakes. They would usually happen and then in a brief time subside. You always said to yourself that this is going to stop soon and because of being conditioned in this way there would be very little fear experienced.
However, on the day of Japan's biggest ever earthquake, as I was walking along the road outside and feeling as if my body was floating, a fear I had never felt before happened. The strange thing about this earthquake was that it was so subtle and gradual that there wasn’t any chance of surprise. As the road started to move up and down, and my body with it, a thought came into my mind that this was an earthquake. Due to my past experiences of earthquakes, I thought it was going to stop soon. However, when it didn’t and I thought “Is this one going to stop?” that’s when fear set in. But with this realization, and the fear that came from that, my body immediately, and without any conscious effort, started to audibly burst breath. Within what seemed like a short time, but in actuality must’ve been even shorter due the situation, I returned to breathing very deeply. With this, came calmness, a clear mind and increased awareness. This was happening as the earthquake was nearing its peak. Due to these effects, I was able to be more rational and think clearly, which helped me to analyse the situation around me and move to a safe area away from potentially falling objects.
The earthquake itself lasted for about 3 minutes but seemed like a life time. This, as you can gather, was a great lesson for me. It confirmed for me the power of breathing to reduce fear and to allow you to act in the right way. Also, after it happened I felt fine and relaxed. I cannot say the same for other people. Of course, everybody dealt with this situation in their own way and, no doubt, there were people who dealt with it more effectively than I without concentrating on breathing. I just wanted to give a personal account of my experience so it might help someone.
I would like to state that Tokyo wasn’t really affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Trains were affected and that’s about it. It’s the areas in the North that have reaped most of the devastation. What those survivors went through and are going through is un-describable.
Unfortunately the situation is far from over and due to the constant battle to cool down the core of the nuclear reactors’, the chance of radiation poisoning is increasing in the nearby areas. This has created a different kind of fear that is overshadowing everything at this time. The conflicting news reports do not help in reducing fear. They say "knowledge dispels fear", so it’s very important to get factual information rather than gossip. I have found that breathing has helped but due to this problem never ending, I needed to gain calmness from a different source. Prayer, together with breathing, has really helped at this time. Of course, everybody has found security through different means but this has helped me to have more hope and to see the light through the darkness.
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