Will lasting change happen as a result of this pandemic?
Several people have asked me this question over the last few weeks.
Everyone at every stage in life is effected and everyone is experiencing some degree of loss and sufferring. It is this kind of challenge that spurs the deepest spiritual growth. It is not something that we would willingly choose because we are pushed outside of our comfort zone.
We can’t wiggle out of this one. In other words, there is no way we can change it. It is out of our control. The situation has to run its course and until it does we will have to find inner resources so that we can get through this.
If you are in a lot of fear I recommend taking all the practical steps that you can to help yourself. Use all the tools at your disposal like unemployment, mortgage assistance and any other program that might be available to you now. Make sure you have food in your house and other essential supplies and don’t go out if you are vulnerable or dealing with health challenges. Most importantly ask for help if you need it. We are all going through this and we are in this together.
After you have done these things the best thing you can do is take it step by step and day by day. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Your mind will always conjure up the worst case scenario. The hard part about this is that there is no way to fight a projection of your mind. It isn’t happening now so there is no way to effectively deal with it. When you are faced with a situation in the moment you will know how to act. Think about it for a minute. Have you ever faced an emergency like someone you love getting hurt or a having an accident? In the moment you jumped into action and many people report that they didn’t think it through they just intuitively knew what to do.
Eckhart Tolle’ talks a lot about this in his work. Stay in the now because there is no way to deal with a thought about a possible future problem. You can only deal with it now. Then he recommends once you become aware that your thoughts are causing you suffering come into your body and sense your inner energy field. This brings you quickly and easily into the present moment. First close your eyes and feel the energy in your hands it might be subtle but with practice you will be able to feel it. When your eyes are closed you know that you still have hands and you know that you still have a body. I know it sounds simple but it is an excellent way to take your mind out of troubled thinking and into the present. It is also a very healing and restorative practice because you powerfully interrupt a negative and draining habit.
Closing your eyes and feel the energy inside your body. Practice makes it easy, enjoyable and restorative.
The other thing I want to mention is a concept Pema Chodron talks about a lot in her work called Maitri. It is a Buddhist term that that means unconditional friendliness towards yourself. If for some reason you can’t focus on your inner body or it just doesn’t resonate for you try meeting your feelings differently. We don’t know why you are having theses strong fearful or anxiety provoking thoughts and feelings but meet them with love as if it were a young child coming to you for comfort. It’s amazing how quickly this can quiet the internal storm. No matter what you are thinking or feeling imagine you are hearing this story from someone that you dearly love and show that same love, understanding and acceptance to yourself. This is a practice that reaps immediate rewards because you let go of the internal fight. You can’t have a tug of war if no one is on the other side tugging back.
I love the idea of unconditional friendliness towards ourselves. We rarely treat ourselves with such compassion and yet we require ourselves to meet others this way. This becomes truly possible and less effortful when we practice Maitri. When we can bear our own suffering we are more able to bear the suffering of others and the world and this is how change takes root.
The Rise of the Feminine (and she’s pissed!!!)
Just kidding, kind of…
Seriously we are being thrust into a new way of being and change is happening all over the world whether we like it or not. This is generally how major transformation must take place because few if any would willingly enter into a process of total change.
Humanity and the earth has been out of balance for a long time and masculine energy has been dominant. This is an opportunity for feminine energy to rise up and as you can see and feel it is very different. It is powerful and transformational and all of humanity is slowing down and unplugging from our usual activities. This is a call to go inward and experience life differently.
Please watch this short video below to hear a little more about the rise of the feminine.
I’ve always felt when things become overly complex that something is amiss. It’s no different when thinking about topics such as spirituality, healing work, mediation and anything you are learning. I’m going to bring up the obvious because it can be easily overlooked partly because it is so simple.
During meditation you are aware of your thoughts, right? I’m sure the moment you sit down the thinking becomes loud and even very distracting for a majority of meditators. I’m venturing a guess here that most, if not all, have to contend with thoughts when they sit to meditate. This is one of the things that makes meditation so difficult and unappealing. When you think about it it’s almost absurd that your success as a meditator is governed by your ability to stop thoughts!! I’m going to propose a slight change in focus instead of trying to stop the thoughts.
Thoughts arise and YOU see them.
Some come up and easily pass and others come up and can cause you great disturbance. Either way, instead of just watching thoughts come and go begin to notice who can see the coming and going? It’s so obvious but it is so easily overlooked. If thoughts come and go WHO is watching them?
If possible I’m going to ask you to turn your attention toward what or who is watching. Don’t have an expectation about what you will find just sense into it. I don’t want to say too much about this because it is an important experience and I don’t want you to have any preconceived ideas about it. You have to experience it for yourself.
To whom or to what are the thoughts arising? Who is seeing the thoughts?
You don’t need to have an answer to these questions. My suggestion is to contemplate this for yourself. Take your time and notice how this is as you turn your attention to what is watching.
Once you become aware of this it is possible you will begin to notice this when you are not meditating but at first it may be helpful to try this in a relatively quiet and focused way.
You are now focused on the source rather than on what comes and goes.
For some this will be very powerful and you will know who you are. Looking this way repeatedly will have an incremental effect because you empower the source in your life through your continued attention.
If you don’t have a powerful experience don’t worry there is nothing wrong. It’s good to know you are the one watching and you never know when it could resonate more strongly. Life has a way of bringing you what you need when you need it. Be on the look out.
To be continued…
I was standing on line for coffee in a bakery in New Paltz NY and the young barista behind the counter clearly wasn’t feeling well. A male customer on line in front of me must have been a regular and knew the young server. He asked him if he was doing ok that he didn’t look well. The young man behind the counter replied, “I’m not feeling well today.” To which the man on line replied compassionately, “that’s ok” and preceded to place his order. I was so touched by the man in front of me. It really struck me how real this exchange was. The young man was lovingly seen by this customer who had no judgement or attitude. It was as if we were living in a different time, a kinder gentler time.
Then the woman on line behind me struck up a conversation. She wanted me to know about a daily local mediation group that that was happening right around the corner. When I told her that I was not from the area and I was here visiting a friend she wanted to know where I was from. When I told her Westchester she proceeded to tell me about some groups that meet in my town that I hadn’t known anything about.
As I got my coffee and walked upstairs I felt a spontaneous smile come over my face. Somehow the beautiful simplicity of these interactions and just feeling the kindness from both the man in front of me online and the woman behind me. Looking outside from my seat and watching the street below starting to wake up and some how everything felt right.
We are all the same underneath it all and we can feel the goodness when it emanates from others. Not everyone can emanate goodness and kindness into the world and if they can’t or don’t then maybe it isn’t our place to judge them or make an assumption about why. Maybe recognizing with gratitude that we can shine our light amidst those who can’t for whatever reason.
Shine your light because you never know the full effect or who will be touched by it. It may just ignite the flame in another and wouldn’t that be fun!! Like the flame of a candle being passed around a circle lighting all the other candles. The original flame is not weakened by this and the light that is cast is so much brighter having been shared.
These can feel like dark and lonely times and it’s important to remember that you are not in this alone. Other light workers (as we have been appropriately called) are here shining our light and when you are shining too, it’s easier to find each other.