I am not alone.
The shrimps turned orange in the pan, I took the butter knife and scooped up a generous portion of butter and flicked it into the pan. I love butter. My senses came alive with the aromatic smell and the delightful sizzling sound. “Moderation, Jovinna, moderation,” an inner voice spoke gently. “Yes, yes, yes,” I replied. I must admit I added more butter than I needed. I wonder where else in my life that I consume or spend or do more than I need. I feel the urgency and importance of practicing moderation in my life given what is happening in the world now.
Just like everybody else, my life has drastically altered. All my classes and workshops are canceled till further notice. Is the situation going to get worse? Will I run out of money? My savings are as thin as a pancake. I should be panicking, yet, I feel unusually calm in the midst of this unprecedented time of change. I don’t have any superpower to ease my mind, but I have a powerful feeling that I am connected to something bigger and that I am not alone. For the first time, I feel a palpable pulse that I am standing with the world witnessing a turning point in the history of humanity.
Maybe this is why I am less afraid because I know we are in this together.
My worries and concerns are insignificant compared to what is happening globally. Our way of life is coming to a pause whether we like it or not. The daily news of the world can add fuel to our dismay. California where I live implemented state wide mandatory “shelter in place” till further notice. Traveling has drastically reduced to only what is essential and will continue in this way for a while. Take a moment and ponder on this question: How much carbon footprint is drastically reduced worldwide because of this restriction? Do I dare to rejoice about this in the midst of a pandemic?
Please bear with me as I let my imagination runs free. We have been talking for years about the danger of pollution and climate change. Maybe Nature has come up with a better solution than all the scientists can put together, i.e. “enforced refuge” where we have to pause and stay home for a period of time while the air, the space, the earth, the ocean, and the sky take a respite from us humans, exhale deeply, and mend the damages that they have suffered. Maybe the glaciers and sea ice will stay intact a little longer. Can this be one of the blessings in disguise?
I imagine the Divine desires to reset the pace of the world by having us pause and refrain from the ways we live our lives. Many of us have been living a fast-paced lives for way too long. We are constantly bombarded with noises and many lustrous distractions from the outside world. If we slow down, withdraw our attention from the outside and turn inward, notice the wear and tear in our body, mind and Soul, then perhaps deep healing stands a better chance. What about our homes? What about our relationships? Isn’t this a rare opportunity to extend our noticing to them as well?
Just this past week while staying home, I heard more birds than traffic. Maybe Mother Earth is self regulating on our behalf by making us stop-and-smell the roses, hear the birds, and immerse in direct experiences with her. So we are not just spectators but avid participants in Her mystery, like our ancestors used to be. Maybe this is the time to contemplate the teaching of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, a Sanskrit phrase which means “the world is one family” and that we are global citizens, and our actions have a ripple effect in the world. Could this be the paradigm shift?
My dear friend Devarshi said there are two viruses going on. One is the coronavirus and the other is fear. And fear is spreading faster and all of us got it. I agreed. It is natural to be afraid when our sense of safety, security, comfort, and convenience are turned inside out, and thrown over the cliff. Some are freaking out, some getting angry, some worry, some getting violent, some hoard, some blaming others. There are varied expressions of fear. What’s yours? Mark Twain said, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” How do you muster the courage to ride the waves of fear?
Believe me, I do have my moments of fear. But there’s something stirring in me, bigger than my fear. A sense of trust, an ancient knowing, flowering in my heart, my gut. I believe we are in a time that holds the seeds of a new paradigm shift. We collectively can make drastic, mindful changes in our lifestyle that can steer the world towards self-realization, and benevolence. But we must retreat to our own solitude to hear the guidance from the inner voice that matches the cadence of our Soul. A voice that whispers, “There is some goodness here.”
I remember Pema Chödrön’s words from a few years ago. “We all have the seeds of basic goodness within us — we only have to nourish them.” Perhaps this is the time to attend to this task whole heartedly. Stop the constant doing. Stop the to do list. Now is the time to go back to basic, nourish these seeds and begin again. Perhaps this is how we stop the war inside us and in the world. Perhaps this is the antidote to all the stress, anxiety and depression. Basic goodness is the one precious gift that we must pass down to the next generation for the benefit of mankind.
Spring is here. I saw many first sprouts in the garden. Nature continues to be generous despite my constant neglect of Her. Step outside, take a breath, see the beauty. Be grateful and put your practice into action. There’s bound to be chaos when we transition from what we have been to something new. We naturally want to hold on to what we know. But the more we hold on, the more we suffer. This is the time to call forth the warrior within us, a new kind of warrior, and let courage, patience, compassion, trust, creativity, gratitude, prayers, and most of all love be our weapons of choice.e.