By Angela Fischer
Every morning, these days, we wake up to an unfolding spring, even more birds singing, new buds in the trees, more flowers blooming. And every morning we wake up to the news about the current pandemic in the world. Infection rates rising, death toll rising. More countries closing their borders, more individual restrictions in order to slow the infection rate.How do we respond? How do we respond to the birdsong, the gifts from the Earth, the beauty of life? And how do we respond to the news about the pandemic crisis? Is there something that connects both? How does this crisis affect our attitude and our spiritual practice, as it certainly affects our lives? I recently noticed that over the last few weeks I had changed my personal view every single day and realized there is and maybe must be a process, for each of us. A little ashamed about my different reactions – rather than responses, like counter-reaction to collective panic – a certain attitude emerged from a growing awareness that stayed with me: Listening, listening deeper. What are the “signs on the horizon”? What is asked from us, from me individually? Is there a deeper meaning, deeper than fear and anxiety and the attitude of “war against the virus” that we hear and sense in the world? I tried to listen to something deeper, an inner light – which is always there, whether we are aware of it or not. And others are listening too, of course, and we find out that there is a chance for us, an opportunity.
Oneness and Interconnectedness
We know, when the astronauts were seeing the planet from space for the first time, this was a shift in consciousness. There is one Earth, one planet, utterly precious. We are all interconnected on this beautiful blue marble. One destiny, one soul.But decades later we as humanity find ourselves being caught even more in a mindset of separation and domination toward the Earth, all species and each other. We would not have thought that it is, of all things, a contagious virus that becomes the space shuttle for all of us. From which we watch the planet as one organism. That teaches us that we are interconnected in ways we do not realize and have completely forgotten. Interconnected, of course, over the whole planet. Not as consumers or as global corporations, but as vulnerable human beings on a vulnerable Earth. There are two different ways to respond: We have the opportunity to decide, if we respond with love and compassion or with desires of the ego and instinctual drives, that is, with separation and division. The virus brings sickness and even death, and suffering. If we allow for the pain reaching us, instead of anxiety and despair, we will feel it in our hearts. And we are asked to respond with compassion and love. To respond with love and care requires us to witness what is happening, to face it consciously and not to ignore it. We are asked to grow up which means to be able to witness suffering and darkness without falling in collective despair and anxiety.
Awareness of the Inner World. Intuition and Inner relationship
The physical retreat and isolation which is, from a medical point of view, required from us and necessary, does not mean we are really separated.One reason of our present state of the world is that we have focused on the material world in a way that we have forgotten the immaterial, the inner worlds, and how they both, matter and spirit, belong together In other words: We as humanity have forgotten the sacred within life, within creation, within our bodies, within the body of the Earth. The light, the soul.Materialism and consumerism have eaten up and choked the sense of a nourishment for our souls and the soul of the world. It is no more part of humanities’s consciousness that we have the power and capacity to relate to the inner, invisible world and to each other, invisibly and beyond the physical plane and physical connection. As mystics we know and do experience that we can “meet in the night”. Which means, not in our physical bodies. We are not separated through space, nor through time.This inner knowing, and to live this knowing, can be awakened and affirmed in these times of quarantine. When outer borders are being closed we can begin again to open up our inner borders. And the borders we have built between the inner and outer world. We can devote ourselves again to the feminine wisdom inside of all of us that shows us how to communicate, to be in relationship to each other and to the inner worlds. Yes, we have internet (and hope it remains like this), so we luckily have non-physical possibilities to connect. So it is easy to believe that we do not need to activate intuition and our relationship to the inner worlds. Yet this does not nourish our souls in the long run, as it cannot replace meaning and light that is shared in a personal touch or smile. Also, of course, an inner connection does not “replace” a physical hug, but like a physical touch it carries love and light and gives us meaning and nourishes the soul.
For the Earth, With the Earth
You might have seen the satellite views, the before and after pictures. Clear skies over China after weeks of dealing with the Corona crisis. We have been choking the Earth with our CO2 emissions as a result of our way of life, our consumerism and materialism. The greater awareness of a “climate crisis” (which is an understatement, because it is more than a crisis) did not lead to the acceptance of the need to fundamentally change our way of life. To step back from our consumerism and ever growing economy, the so-called “freedom” to take an airplane whenever we want, and to live more simply. Green economy yes, green technology, yes, but please no change of life, no renunciation. No politician dares to speak about this, even a green one, it is just completely unpopular. But suddenly, humans are prepared to renounce this life- style. We can witness, it is possible! Even if the main cause of our willingness to step back from superficial pleasures that distract us, as bars and clubs in cities close down, and to refrain from holidays flying all over the planet, even if the cause might be fear of being contaminated and getting sick, we see and watch, for the first time, it is possible. The chance is: If we are able to transform that fear into a deeper feeling of care and love for the Earth and each other, we could be able to transition to another way of life.We have the chance to listen to the birds again, to be thankful for what the Earth is giving us. There is more space in our lives to do so, as the usual noise slows down. And if more of us can return to experiences like this, pathways could open to relate to the inner light, to the soul. We can again listen to the Earth herself.If at this moment we do not cover the Earth with a dense veil of collective fear and despair and even more growing egoism (nationalism), we can be able to listen to her voice, the voice of the Earth that at the moment is being carried by some air to breathe. It is only a very small gap, a small opportunity, a door that is open for a very short moment.
Solitude as a Vast Space for Light
For centuries solitude was reserved for monks and hermits, and a few people in contemporary spiritual environments. Solitude does not have a place in modern life,except for her shadow brother called loneliness. But solitude is different from loneliness. In a noisy and too busy world, we have unlearned to be in solitude, we are even afraid of it and tend to run away from it. Now countless people in the world, on the entire planet, are forced to retreat to their homes and to stay there in more or less solitude. After the first shock in the wake of something completely unusual, we can realize there is a space that opens up. There is air to breathe. Whereas the outer space is constricted, the inner space expands and widens. The heart has a chance to be listened to. The body has a chance to be listened to. So do our dreams in the night, our reflections on our lives.And if we have children and they need to stay at home, due to shut downs of schools, they too have the chance that we really listen to them. Yes, it is not easy to change our daily routine, and it is a big challenge for families, single parents especially, for people who still need to work in service to public health and services of general interest, and also a challenge for many people who are artists or self-employed to maintain their living. Those difficulties cannot just be removed. Nor can we avoid the worries about loved ones who might be sick or the grief of losing those who might die. And yet we can live our daily life now from another place inside, from that vast, spacious place that offers a certain light, a meaning of life. In solitude we have space to pray, to meditate, to sing and play, to cook our meals with love. To care for others. We can get a taste of a new (and ancient) way of life, sustainable inwardly and outwardly. We can breathe as well as the Earth can breathe. From this space that is given to us at the moment, from love and care, healing can be born. There is always an individual choice.