The world is in “reset” mode. Because of an illness that has spanned the globe, we’re being asked to “shelter in place,” or even to “lock down” – stay in our sanctuaries to protect not only ourselves, but the other people on the planet from a sometimes fatal disease that is sweeping through our communities like wild fire. This self-isolation has an effect, both positive and negative, not only on ourselves, but on those around us – people, plants, animals and the planet itself – and this effect will be long-lasting. Indeed, perhaps even forever in some ways.
Sounds like a sci-fi novel, doesn’t it? One of those cataclysmic events that leads to a horrifying mutation, or a search for a new planet, or a zombie apocalypse. And yet, here we are. In my February 2020 Blog I wrote about how intense weather patterns may be seen as the Mother’s way of cleansing herself from environmental toxins – physical, mental and emotional. I guess she isn’t done quite yet, and more cleansing, this time of Her inhabitants, is necessary. Fortunately, there’s a way to protect ourselves from the current scourge. At this time we’re being asked not to kill zombies, rather just to stay home in a safe environment and wait until the virus plays itself out. It seems, however, that some folks would rather take the zombies than sit home alone!
I’m an introvert. I think that most empaths tend toward introverted, perhaps as a form of self-preservation in an emotionally cacophonous world. It’s no hardship for me to isolate myself – in fact I prefer it most times. I find peace in solitude. I love being around my husband, kids and pets, and I enjoy spending time with a few close friends when I’m able. But I need my alone time, to recharge and renew my Spirit. I need time to think (despite the danger of using that time to worry and let negative thoughts overtake my peace), to rest, to meditate alone. I may even go outside… walking, swimming, or just sitting … but the whole time, I’m “inside.”
As comfortable as I am with what I consider my “privacy,” I think that many more people than not find solitude difficult. Some of my more extroverted friends are having a very hard time sheltering in place during the coronavirus pandemic. Many are alone, either by themselves with their pets, or even with their families (which may be a stressful change in routine), and they’re frightened, unsure of what will happen next. They want to go outside, to be with others – to hug them, shake hands like normal, or even just to get closer than 6 feet from them; to share their worries and process them with people who are going through the same experiences. They need physical connection. For them this is a very challenging and discouraging, maybe even terrifying time. I get that.
Yet for centuries, spiritual leaders from every tradition have taught the benefits of silence and solitude – to empty the self to make room for the divine. With the passage of time, and the prevalence and primacy of technology, communication and connection, we have lost our awareness of the sacredness of silence. We see solitude as a punishment – “Go to your room!”
Our eyes and ears and minds are constantly “plugged in” – sometimes literally – to our world. Social media, talk radio and television, the internet, even music – all are a continual intrusion into the silence of our inner life. Even our books are audible now! We’ve forgotten what it’s like to just… sit. In meditation, solitude and silence, or even a place that’s a bit more quiet. The world is intrusive and loud and relentless. We have let ourselves be caught up in the whirlwind of noise and movement. Our Spirits suffer because of it.
Believe it or not, the BEST thing we can do in times such as these is to be quiet, be introspective, be One with ourselves and the movement of the Universe. Solitude is cherished by many spiritual communities – some who have chosen a religious and/or spiritual life can live days, weeks, months, even years in silent contemplation, filling their spirits with the Universe rather than the material world. Those of us who live in the hustle and bustle slowly shake our heads in amazement and think “I could never do that.” But now some of us are being forced to do just that and slow things down – HARD. To stay at home, to spend time with our families and/or pets (or alone), to turn inward for our strength and our peace. Times of crisis are the Universe’s way of saying – time for a change – time to take stock, appreciate what you have, see the direction of the world and decide whether it would be better… different. And if we decide incorrectly, if we make a decision that we think would be best for us, but is unhealthy for our species (and others) and the planet, the Universe will make the decision for us. She will force us to change, to be more healthy, to wake up.
And wonderful things are happening around us while we take care of ourselves and one another in our sanctuaries. The skies and waterways are clearing themselves of pollution in this pause in our constant global activity. Animals are roaming in places where they were crowded out by droves of human beings. Even some endangered species are beginning to slowly repopulate. Universe strives for balance – always. If you pull WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY back and look at things from a Spirit’s Eye view, you will notice that things happen in cycles – they undulate like a pulse, meander like a river, ebb and flow like the oceans, rise up and down like our chests with every breath. After a period of relative ease (yes, it’s been getting increasingly difficult for much of the world, and other places seem to be perennially in turmoil, but I mean in general), we are seeing one of those “rollercoaster drops” during which all we can do is hold on (or put up our arms to “grab moonbeams”) and scream.
Stay safe, stay healthy, stay home… and stay “inside.” Namaste.