The world is in a fragile state and humanity seems to be hanging on by a thread. While individually we’ve all gone through difficult times before, this one feels foreign. It’s magnitude is difficult to grasp and its ending is hard to imagine. Most generations have never dealt with such a dismaying phenomenon in their lifetime. But until this is over, individually, we must work on transforming fragility into fortitude.
Here are some practices I have adopted in the last few days (or days that have turned into weeks) that have helped me reach deeper inward and build mental health strength:
Listening to guided meditations
I’ve had an on and off relationship with meditation. Focusing on the breath for more than 5 minutes can feel like an eternity. From time to time, however, I have pushed myself to get back into it, with the intention of making it a habit. During this self-isolation period, Oprah and Deekpak Chropra have been my two companions in the morning. I listen to their 21-Day Meditation Experience on their app, as they recently launched one focused on hope during uncertain times.
On day 2, Oprah encourages us to train our choice muscle, reminding us that we have the choice to look at turbulent times through the lens of hope or despair. “Anything can be a miracle, a blessing, an opportunity, if you choose to see it that way. When you see something through the lens of hope, anything can change.” Hope offers us possibilities. New tomorrows. A time sans corona.
Deepak goes further into how hope can help us: “Hope is a quality that exists in consciousness like love or joy. When a situation looks hopeless, we are not seeing clearly. On its own, consciousness is always life supporting… If we make choices that are self-defeating or that deny reality, the mind can lose hope. The way to heal any situation is to activate hope.”
The encouragement from Oprah and the soothing sageness of Deepak have emboldened me to expand my consciousness into knowing that I am capable of eradicating fear, finding equanimity amidst the noise, and identifying opportunities for growth. There are plenty of resources out there, like this one, that can guide you into working on adopting a tranquil hopeful state of mind. Find one that works for you. Do this for yourself.
Watching the news of rising cases or hearing stories about family members who are unable to say goodbye to their loved ones from their hospital beds, can trigger feelings of despair and loss. Finding silver linings is possibly one of the most difficult things to do right now, but we must adopt it, in order to overcome what can feel like a very lonely, gloomy time for a lot of us. A couple of steps I’ve taken to see the rainbow in the rain are:
- Selectively choosing/promoting who am I following on social media (i.e. following accounts that post positive messages and videos like @TheImpactGuide; advocating support towards small businesses that support their employees like Bottoms-Up Coffee or freelance artists through an art-subscription service like Curina; etc.)
- Counting my blessings through prayer and journaling (i.e. thinking out loud or jotting down the following – I am healthy; my family is remaining indoors; I have a roof over my head; this pause is helping me rest my mind and body; this pause is allowing me to re-shift my priorities; my long-distance partner is fortuitously quarantining with me; and I am being true to myself by doing things that bring me joy with the resources I have, given the circumstances)
- Calling loved ones to express how much you appreciate and love them
Making time for silence and contemplation
I recently came across a quote that could not be better suited for a time like this. From the very master of stillness and mindfulness himself, Eckhart Tolle once said:
“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness.”
So I ask myself, what can this unprecedented experience teach me about myself? What can I do for others and for the world? What leap do I need to make?
Allotting space for silence during this chaotic and uncertain time period has allowed me to ask the hard questions, and in the process attain personal revelations.
I encourage you to take moments to listen to your inner voice. Where is most of your headspace leaning towards? Is there something tugging at your heart? Outside of this pandemic, what aspect of your life is making you feel uneasy? Are there any unresolved tensions to attend to? A relationship you feel certain or uncertain about?
Do you need to make a change about your career choice? Or finally make the decision to launch the business you’ve dreamed about?
Perhaps it is the moment to get more in touch with your spiritual self, whether through connecting with God, the universe, or Buddhist practices?
What are you hoping for? What can you strive towards? How can you thrive?