"If I am exclusively caught in my identity with daily concerns and passing thoughts and feelings,
I mistake constantly changing circumstances for all there is, and my sense of well-being gets batted about like a ping-pong ball depending upon moment to moment conditions within and around me, conditions
that are largely beyond my control. Without the perspective of knowing my essence I will suffer
and in doing so I cannot help but spread suffering in the world."
~Oriah Mountain Dreamer
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the US national elections approach, and the Climate Crisis continues to threaten our well-being; and in addition to all of this, any personal issues in your life continue and may even have become a greater challenge; I have a question:
How are you doing?
I am sure there is a wide range of answers to that question. We are living in challenging times and our course forward as individuals, nations, and as humanity, is uncertain. At the same time, it seems that we have too many world leaders with low levels of emotional intelligence and/or spiritual awareness, and they are encouraging fear-based behavior from their followers, sometimes in the extreme. We see people acting irresponsibly, even destructively regarding their health and the health of others. It can all be very depressing.
There is a maxim which I believe in and often depend upon in guiding my own life and when teaching others – The quality of my life experiences will equate to the quality of my spiritual practices.
When a crisis occurs, I can only access inner strength and wisdom to the degree that I have prepared in advance. I cannot get creative in the moment of crisis; all I have are the tools I had the moment before the crisis happened. One aspect of the virus pandemic is that it is slow-moving, which can allow one to gain in spiritual poise as the event progresses, but that is unusual. Another feature of the pandemic is being in lockdown of some sort and not having access to our usual support systems. Many are having to go it alone, even being quarantined in the same house with an abuser. What can we do to help? Spiritual practices, done regularly and with deep intention, build up our psychological and spiritual muscles just as regular exercise builds our physical muscles.
“There is a Zen saying that 'enlightenment is a divine accident,
but spiritual practice makes one more accident prone.’”
~ Miranda Macpherson
Our collective human consciousness will determine how humanity responds to the events of the day and the events to come; our individual consciousness will determine how each of us responds to these events. It is increasingly important that we find ways to envision more humane ways of living so we can cocreate a more sustainable and harmonious future, while also developing our personal levels of wellbeing. We cannot do that from a place of significant fear, so an intention of our practices is to rise above the fear response to a more empowered realization of our spiritual natures.
“We’re not on our journey to save the world but to save ourselves. But in doing that you save the world.
The influence of a vital person vitalizes.”
~ Joseph Campbell
What you can do to expand your personal power includes the following:
If you have a daily spiritual practice routine, expand it a bit; if you do not have one, start one – begin with 10 minutes of sitting quietly and 5 affirmations then add to it as it feels right.
Check in with yourself a few times a day – How am I doing? How am I feeling?
Find a way to spend some time in beauty – outdoors if possible, or listening to beautiful music, appreciating art, reading poetry – every day.
Connect with at least one person who inspires you via email, telephone, video call, etc. Also, find a way to be in service to at least one other person.
Change one regular activity per day to something more uplifting – be creative!
Decide to be the bringer of hope and possibility into your current situation. Commit to seek to raise the vibration of your inner circle – maybe that’s the people you are on lockdown with. Expect there to be some initial resistance and work through it. Be persistently positive.
Vision a greater world emerging through you as your life. Feel the reality of this vision. Write about it, draw it, speak about it to a trusted friend.
“This process of the good life is not, I am convinced, a life for the faint-hearted.
It involves the stretching and growing of becoming more and more of one's potentialities.
It involves the courage to be. It means launching oneself fully into the stream of life.”
~ Carl Rogers