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Meditation and The Lesson of Avatar:The Last Airbender
Many of you may have heard of or seen the Nickelodeon series “Avatar: the Last Airbender.” Although this show is presumably for children, “Avatar” is truly a masterpiece of television that addresses adult issues such as racism, oppression, and justice. The show highlights four distinct cultures that can each manipulate or “bend” one of the four ancient elements: earth, air, fire, and water. What makes this show so clever is that each bending style is based off a different form of martial art and represents a different way to solve problems. For example, the Airbenders face issues by trying to redirect them, much like the wind flows around the obstacles it encounters. Firebenders, on the other hand, attack problems head-on and without mercy, just as fire burns through a forest. Throughout the show, the masters teach their students to center themselves through meditation and to find their way by connecting with their element. The Last Airbender in particular enters a spirit world during meditation in which he always learns something knew.
Although these examples do come from a fantasy world, there is something to be learned from the power of focus, or meditation, that the show presents. In a way we all reach our inner worlds through meditation. During meditation the mind is more focused and the judgment is suspended. Our thoughts are our thoughts. We are able to connect to our true selves, our own elements so to speak . We are reminded of what motivates us and how we respond to the world around us in a thoughtful, healthy way.
The beauty of human thought is that we can choose how we faces issues. We control our own thoughts and even more importantly we control our own actions. When we are faced with a particularly challenging opponent in a game, we can choose to either allow our emotions to rage inside of us like an out of control fire or to redirect our emotions into strategic, power, possibly maneuvering ourselves like the power of wind around obstacle. Through daily meditation, we can connect to our own powerful elements and with time learn to how to best manage the different aspects of emotion and the mind. Like the Last Airbender, we can learn new things about ourselves and about the great potential of meditation, but we need to practice in order to harness the power.