11/06/2012 03:34 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

How to Handle Your Feelings About Hurricane Sandy

Last Thursday was my 33rd birthday. I spent the day navigating the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, feeling extremely overwhelmed, sad and frightened for our future. I was concerned for our climate, our people and our capacity to traverse the energy of these stormy times.

Rather than let the negativity take over, I chose to surrender my discomfort to spirit. I said a prayer: Spirit, thank you for guiding me through this discomfort. Then I sat down to meditate. In my meditation I heard the voice of spirit speak through me. I heard the call from the Kundalini master, Yogi Bhajan. His message was clear: "It's time to get to work in a whole new way. You must deepen your spiritual connection so you can navigate the energy of these times."

I heard Yogi Bhajan reinforce his "Five Sutras for the Aquarian Age":

1. Recognize that the other person is you.
To me this means that we must find oneness in all. At this time there's no room for separation. We are all in it together.

2. There is a way through every block.
I believe that a miracle mindset is required now. We must commit to our faith in love in order to find a way through every block.

3. When the time is on you, start, and the pressure will be off.
This is not a time for playing small. My experience has been that when I say yes to my inner calling, all anxiety melts away. We must get in the habit of saying yes.

4. Understand through compassion or you will misunderstand the times.
Everyone is experiencing discomfort in some way or another. Through compassion we can experience more oneness and accept that we all suffer. Having compassion for others offers compassion back to us.

5. Vibrate the Cosmos. The Cosmos shall clear the path.
I believe this Sutra reinforces the importance of a daily Sadhana (spiritual practice). Through meditation, yoga and prayer we can access the deepest part of our truth. That truth will be our greatest guide.

I came out of my meditation prepared to use the Five Sutras as my roadmap. Heightening my spiritual practice was my birthday gift to myself: Rather than practice these principles when they felt convenient or top-of-mind, I made the commitment to practice all the time.

Later that day I received more guidance through a "happy birthday" email from my mentor, Marianne Williamson. She asked how I was doing with the storm. I responded that I felt very overwhelmed. She replied, "My advice to you would be to get your hands dirty." I heard her loud and clear. Marianne was right: the best way to work through my discomfort was to be of service to those in need. I got to work.

I merged my spiritual practice with hands-on service and began to feel much better.

If you feel overwhelmed by the energy of this disaster, take these tools into your own life:

Pray for guidance and pay attention to the messages you receive. Make a daily commitment to practice the 5 Sutras by choosing to see oneness in all, let all blocks be cleared, get to work, be compassionate and deepen your meditation practice. Then get your hands dirty.

Practice these principles and you'll intuitively know how to handle the discomfort of tragedy. The way you handle it might be different from the way I have. Perhaps you've been seriously affected by the storm; perhaps you're miles away, but keep thinking about it. It doesn't matter: These steps are necessary for finding our power in powerless situations. Our inner power is essential at this time.

For more by Gabrielle Bernstein, click here.

For more on the spirit, click here.

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