In times of strife and hardship where do we turn?
There is a pandemic going on. Times are changing. Uncertainty, anxiety, fear, worry - all these are ripe in our world at the moment. We live in stressful times. We are socially isolated from the family and friends that we love and we are being forced to connect in ways that seem unnatural to us. In a nutshell life is not as it used to be. And we are feeling it. It is hitting us hard.
How are we coping? How are we living? To what do we turn for strength, comfort, solace, hope?
It is interesting to see that when adversity strikes humanity turns quite naturally to the basic, elementary things of life. Guided by our elementary nature, our own innate natural self we begin to make a sort of pilgrimage back to basics, back to our fundamental selves. Here is what I have noticed.
We return to sharing/giving.
Perhaps we send out cards/letters to people we care about, seeking out inspiring words that might offer comfort, humour and support. We try to find words that show we care. Perhaps we share posts on social media that make us laugh or cry, or that uplift and inspire us.
Many of us find ourselves giving more readily to others whether this is in the form of food, money, gifts, cards or time.
We return to creativity.
I have noticed an upsurge of interest in baking, sewing, painting, gardening, cooking, crafting, singing and writing as we seek to fill our time with activities that feed us in an holistic sense.
We return to caring/kindness.
Many of us are shopping for family, friends and neighbours. We are phoning relatives, sending out letters, donating money to charities, supporting small businesses, listening to others. Small, random acts of kindness are on the increase. We are taking care of our homes and gardens by engaging in simple acts of maintenance - cleaning, sorting, tidying, tending to plants , mowing lawns and caring for wildlife.
We return to gratitude.
We are showing our appreciation, respect, gratitude and love for each other and for the key workers who are helping us to survive these challenging times. We are gathering on our doorsteps to clap for the NHS, to show our appreciation. We are appreciating the natural world more. Many of us are more mindful of saying thank you - to the postman, our friends, the refuge collectors, bus drivers, post office staff and supermarket staff.
We return to enjoyment.
We are seeking out and sharing jokes, brightening our days and the days of others with humour, fun and laughter. We are playing more games and seeking out pastimes that bring us pleasure and are enjoyable.
We return to beauty.
We naturally seek out the beauty in music, art and poetry - beauty that uplifts, inspires, soothes, comforts, calms and supports us.
We return to connection.
At a time when we are disconnected physically we are finding new ways to stay connected to each other. We use technology to see each other virtually on the screen, we write letters, make phone calls. We pray for each other.
We return to nature .
Those of us that can spend some time outdoors are reporting on how we are hearing the birds sing almost as if for the first time. We are stopping and admiring the trees and flowers, appreciating the beauty of the natural world and finding peace and rest in the quiet stillness and relative solitude of our daily walks. We are feeling more and more connected to the natural world.
When everything changes we turn to that which doesn’t change. That is we instinctively turn (return) to the ground of our being - our basic, fundamental, elementary Nature which is loving, giving, supportive, creative, expressive, kind, caring, loving, thankful, appreciative, joyful, playful, beautiful, supportive, connecting, inspiring,beauty, spacious, uncomplicated and simple.
We know deep within us that is the characteristics of our natural self that will best support us through these challenging times.
Returning to our fundamental nature is good for us. It is good for our health and good for the health of the planet.
Returning to our own basic, fundamental nature and making efforts to stay connected to the flow of our own innate goodness is something that is needed at all times - not just in the times we currently find ourselves in.
While we long for the ending of the lockdown may it not be the ending of all that we are learning.
May the great returning never end.
The opinions I express here are my own. However I offer them with the word 'syat' next to them. 'Syat' is a word used by the Jain Tribe in India which means 'To the best of my knowledge SO FAR.' In the spirit of openness I invite comments from anyone whether you agree with my point of view or not. In this way we can all learn and grow together. Thank you.