If, because of this global madness, you spend weeks (or months) shut up indoors just worrying, winging and binging – on drink, drugs, porn or TV/online drama – you’re likely to emerge dazed into daylight a lot less healthy, mentally and physically, than you are now. Addiction to work online, though lucrative, may give you eyestrain and RSI; addiction to either exercise or sex, gruelling or gratifying, may leave you (and your partner) rather worn out.
There’s more to life than all that, and whereas religious nuts may be prophesying The End of Days (just as the Earth is recovering and small island nations like lovely Barbados may, after all, have a chance to remain above sea-level) not all who are interested in the spiritual side of life are that nutty. Some are even quite fruity. But that’s another discussion.
Anyone who’s spent any time in solitude knows that the primary experience, when you get away from it all, is being alone with yourself. Those who rely on the applause of others to stoke their egos may find that hard, as will those whose one purpose in life is to emote as much as possible and let everyone know every detail of their lives.
Because not a lot happens when you’re shut in. At least, apparently not.
The spiritual dimension is not just some sacred space that you enter, as if you were checking in on TripAdvisor. It’s a perspective on life that is always possible. You just may not have looked that way yet.
Just look. Just be aware.
How? What do I do when I want to get spiritual?
I’d suggest that more is less and that the first thing to do is limit your input.
Switch off the TV, the radio, silence your phone (don’t take your landline off the ringer ‘cos folk will literally call the police if you do). Ask your ever-talking housemate to SHUT UP. Calm the dogs. Get the kids involved in something quiet (good luck!). Close your laptop and your tablet. Fill the kettle with just enough water for one cup (they can get their own later! honestly!) and just listen.
Focus – A watched kettle never boils, they say, impatiently. But attend. Wait. Do nothing more than listen. Hear the beginning of the sound the water makes as it heats up. Listen to the phase changes. After the bubbling, as you pour (yes it can be coffee if you can’t stand chamomile) listen to the encounter of liquid and powder and solid. Alchemy.
Reflect – Let your mind rest on things that change. All things change. Some just do it more slowly.
Breathe – You can become conscious of your breathing if you want (some find that annoying) or watch things move in the wind.
Look – What’s moving? Trees outside. Scarves on the washingline. What’s still?
Feel – Peeling off the layers of the onion: partner, family, kids, parents, social media friends and enemies, colleagues, officialdom, all those groups you’re in…how are you? Who are you?
Let go – Observe how the world keeps turning. You’re not at the centre. It’s not all about you.
Be grateful – don’t count your blessings, just remember them. There are so many!
Hope – Actively, turn your attention to all you know that’s good about humanity. Affirm this. Affirm it in you.
Reach out – Pray if that’s what you do, or just visualise all the little lights of hope in your household, next door, along your street, your neighbourhood, town, city, country, all over the globe. Light. Healing. Be part of it.
Commit – You are a drop in the ocean/ the ocean is made up of drops.
Amen/ so be it/ let it be
(Feeling better? Okay, now you can go and sort out whatever utter mayhem the kids have been up to.)
Photo “Scarves Blowing in the Wind” (C) Alan McManus