There are so many ways we could respond to Covid-19. When facing uncertainty, anxiety, fear or a sense of powerlessness, we may choose to respond in some of these ways. Some of us might steadily consume news and information in the hopes of educating and protecting ourselves. Others might avoid the media and place our attention on our daily tasks. A lot of us might find comfort by watching our favorite TV programs, reading books, eating comfort food, going for walks or a run, sleeping more, talking to our therapists, practicing our meditation, yoga and tai chi when we are stressed. We might try to connect with our friends through texting, emailing, and other online face-to-face apps like Zoom, FaceTime and Skype. We seek others to comfort us in our state of fear and anxiety. Perhaps we do a combination of all of these things to try to balance and calm ourselves. Personally I have tried several of these ways during this uncertain time.
How does all of this truly make me feel? Does it bring me a sense of lightness, inner peace and clarity? Is my mind still grasping for safety and security? Am I practicing self-care? Am I even aware of how I am feeling? Is my attention scattered? Am I tense and aching from the stress I hold inside? Is my breathing shallow? Is it time to pay attention to how I truly feel right now? Can I self-check for a moment? These are some of the questions I ask myself.
Once at a spiritual gathering someone said to me, “The internet can be very helpful, but more importantly is our inner net.” What is happening inside our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies? Spiritual teachers share this message of going inward to help us navigate our human lives as we connect with a greater awareness. When we can place our attention inwardly instead of outwardly, we can start to get in touch with our true nature. We can truly listen to how we are feeling when we calm our minds. Our attention can become more focused. We can even separate our attention from our minds; thereby, allowing our souls to speak. My spiritual teacher Ishwar Puri said that our intuition is our soul speaking. We can be guided by our intuition on how to best live our lives, especially during challenging times.
From knowing our true nature and listening to ourselves we can quietly sit in courage. Here is a saying that has brought me comfort: One of Homer’s best lessons for our world is that courage is not just for the battlefield or witch’s cave. Often it appears in our daily lives. During this time of great uncertainty let us try to have compassion for ourselves as well as for others. We all are trying our best to meet this virus challenge. There is no right or wrong way of thinking, being or acting, but if we can go inward to our center, perhaps we will also benefit from this way of responding. Let us practice what the Buddhist practitioner Tara Brach calls “The Sacred Pause” and check in with ourselves, even if it is for a moment. Perhaps we will be able to be compassionate warriors instead of worriers while we sit in courage.
I am filled with wonder, gratitude and awe for the journeys we travel and for the teachers we meet along the way.