Yesterday was a day of two ‘episodes in the time of coronavirus’.
Episode One – 12 noon: my Government permitted daily walk
A beautiful walk in the sunny woods, working that idea of ‘seeing the solution on the horizon’, playing the actor who knows the Good iOS is downloading, relishing the perfect beauty of the sun bouncing through the leaf-budding branches. I listened to a superb talk by Abraham-Hicks on seeing yourself through the eyes of your inner being. (“Your Inner Being says ‘I like to love.’) It made me want to ask my Inner Being, holder of all my inmost desires, what it knew about my true wishes. Oh wow, when the voice started to come through (“You wish …xyz, abc, rst…”) it so made me laugh – talk about having your secret hopes brought forth to the glaring light of day. So revealing. And clearly, some of the things I’m currently diligently ‘working on’ are not even actually what I really want…!
I won’t share those telling Inmost Desires here – except to add how very much I clearly cherish this space, and how important the theme of dialogue is to me. And a little about how I’d love to travel. But, I do want to note that dialoguing with the part of you that knows your Inmost Desires is an excellent exercise in self-knowing! Once you get your Inmost Desires out on the table, you can start to chew them over, play with them, dance with them, be tickled by them. There’s no need for resistance, or… duty. It’s about trusting that our happiest Inmost Desires are expressions of our soul’s mission, and therefore not to be bottled up or denied or repressed. This is information I would really, really like to absorb.
Episode Two – 4pm: Sobbing in the supermarket.
We were getting low on some food items. I hadn’t been to the shops since way before lockdown and all the accompanying televised scenes of supermarket panic-buying of loo rolls and hand sanitiser. A couple of weeks at least. G suggested maybe I’d like to get out, and maybe go to the bigger supermarket to get a few things we all like. We had actually, between the three of us at home, compiled quite a list of things we’d like from the next shopping trip.
Inside, I was saying “NO! We don’t need these things. Let’s do without and run down our supplies further. It’s risky out there! Or at least, let’s do a dash in to a small shop for a couple of essentials, but otherwise use up stuff in the freezer for meals. And also, why don’t you want to go? Is it dangerous, and you’re sending my into the lion’s den for your own protection?! I don’t want to go out there. I’ve diligently kept myself free of this virus thing – I don’t want to put myself at risk now. I don’t want to die of this thing…!” As you can see, there was a lot arising in me. So much for seeing the Good iOS on the horizon! Anyway, I didn’t say this out loud. G sensed my trepidation and offered to drive us and wait for me in the carpark.
Again, part of me was wondering, how could he just drop me off in the infection zone and stay safely in the car?! But then, maybe it was my turn to run the gauntlet, I acknowledged solemnly to myself. In the car, to try and clear myself of this fear, I turned off the radio programme (on the dangers of not social distancing), and I asked G why he didn’t want to come in with me. He explained it was simply because he understood we needed to limit the number of people in the supermarket – that’s why he wasn’t suggesting we went in together. Ah, ok, that figures.
We arrived at Sainsbury’s car park. There were barriers to channel what must have been queues earlier in the day. Posters plastered on the windows insisted ‘only 1 adult per shopping trip’. Ah, ok, I admitted to myself, they really do want to limit people in there. And it’s my turn. I gathered the shopping bags and some clinical wipes for the trolley handle and headed in, leaving G in the car.
I can’t describe how weird and dystopian it was in Sainsbury’s. On the one hand, there was the familiarity of being greeted by the voguing mannequins and ‘seasonal gifts’. On the other hand, a warmly-voiced announcement echoed overhead, soothly requesting that customers “stay 2 metres apart from each other, for the safety of everyone”. We customers all wove about the aisles to avoid each other, like polite, trolley-wielding dancers at a Regency ball. Except of course, the large man who breathily leant across my face to pick himself something from the shelf I was looking at. I recoiled and held my breath. Maybe it was just better not to breathe deeply until I got out, but I had this huge shopping list, and G and A were anticipating all this good stuff… It was going to take a while. I clutched the damp hand sanitiser cloth harder and rubbed it into my palms.
Maybe some 5 minutes in, I reached out for some coriander – coriander for heavens’ sake – and felt my head start to spin. It was clearly too much. The weirdness, the alienation from fellow humans, the shrinking from each other, the sense of the invisible threat, the complete normality melded with futuresque sci-fi horror film. The tears started to well up. ‘Let them through’, I thought. I’ve plenty of practice crying my way through sensory overload in public places. I think it was spotting the young shop worker, quietly restocking the salad shelf, that finished me. Here I was, reeling with the imagined risk of being in this strange public space for half an hour, and there was this young man just immersed in it all day long, taking the risk for his own economic security and for our collective ability to feed ourselves. Tears poured down my face and I felt close to fainting.
I pulled my trolley to one side and slumped over it. I hoped this would all pass. But it didn’t. It dawned on me that, while I might not mind people seeing me in an emotional meltdown, people might think I was rapidly coming down with ‘something’, and that wasn’t fair on them. Reluctantly, I called G and asked him to accompany me. Bless him, he whizzed right in, took the trolley and gave me the keys to go and sit in the car. Which I did. And where I wailed. And wailed.
I think I had become protected from the reality of it all by staying at home so diligently, and this was my first venture out. The strangeness of the outside world was shocking – the roads so empty too, and driving passed the shops and restaurants all dark and shut up like a Sunday in the eighties. It is not the world we lived in two weeks ago – and why? Because of a pandemic. It’s mind-boggling. A dam of concern, grief, shock and bewilderment burst in my venturing out. I am in awe of our key workers. I am humbled to the ground by our hospital workers saving the lives of people with the disease – working 12 hour shifts with inadequate PPE (personal protective clothing).
Help me sit with this today, please. Help me make meaning of this, please. What am I to learn, to do, to absorb? How can I make my participation in this historic event more than just diligently ‘staying inside’?
There was a word which spoke deeply to you in a tweet you read the other day. What was it?
Hang on. Let me find it.
Hm… the word ‘dedication’ is not written here, but exemplified…
Hats of to iranian doctor
"Shirin Rohani" who passed away due to #CoronavirusPandemic due to lack of medical staff she keep treating coronavirus patients till her last breath. Look closely she herself is on the IV while treating patients.
She would be remembered. #Covid_19 pic.twitter.com/NJPk8FthuV
— Nayyar_Abbass💚 (@AbMeriSun0) March 23, 2020
Or possible, it was this one <3:
This man's dedication to his patients & country is just one of the stories of this pandemic's warriors. May his sacrifice never be forgotten. Praying for blessings of comfort & peace to his family & friends! #COVID19Heroes https://t.co/Eacg6LN9u0
— HMartin (@Moku_O_Keawe) March 23, 2020
Heck, man. It just drains you of life force to contemplate the nobility of what these doctors and nurses are doing. Handing over their lives for the sake of others. For the sake of strangers.
Yesterday, I started reading a book (yes, reading an actual book! Poetry speed is coming back,..) I’ve had on the shelf for over a year:
What is it about the startling dedication of these doctors?
The Inner Being says, “I like to love. I love to feel love flowing through me. That’s what I do best. That’s what I enjoy more than anything.” There is no greater act of love than to relieve suffering. Do you see?
Yes. I believe I do. And that explains why I enjoy training less than I do mediating!! Because my training is ‘in-theory’ learning for participants so that they might relieve the hypothetical suffering of hypothetical others, maybe, in the hypothetical future. In mediating, you are actively relieving suffering on the spot from the moment you say ‘tell me about what’s happened so far’ – which, I now gather, is what the Inner Being loves to do.
And the word ‘dedication’?
dedication noun (TIME/ENERGY)
- He has always shown great dedication to the cause.
- She thanked the staff for their dedication and enthusiasm
Willingness to give time and energy…
Interesting. Like, if the Inner Being loves to relieve suffering, why wouldn’t you be willing to give time and energy? It feels good to flow with your IB, right?
Time to read…
BELIEVING IN NOTHING: Usually thinking is rather self-centered. In our everyday life our thinking is ninety-nine percent self-centered: ‘ ‘Why do I have suffering? Why do I have trouble?” This kind of thinking is ninety-nine percent of our thinking. For example, when we start to study science or read a difficult sutra, we very soon become sleepy or drowsy. But we are always wide awake and very much interested in our self-centered thinking ! But if enlightenment comes first, before thinking, before practice, your thinking and your practice will not be self-centered. By enlightenment I mean believing in nothing, believing in something which has no form or no color, which is ready to take form or color. This enlightenment is the immutable truth. It is on this original truth that our activity, our thinking, and our practice should be based. Zen Mind p113.
Ooh. Spot on. Here am I in this historic crisis, thinking About Me. And I have heard clearly today that non-self-centred thinking/action is a blessed relief to the Inner Being, which was designed to LOVE others….
To love others and SEE them as WELL, PERFECT and HEALED.
Ah yes. So, be careful not to drum up ‘suffering’ in others so that you can get the rush of relieving it. Tricky stuff, this.
The point is that when we are free enough to think of others, and can see them as fellow sparks of Source in our psychological solar system, we start to rejoice.
Rejoice. A good word, and much looser for you than the word ‘dedication’ which brings about a touch of inner strain in you, no?
‘Rejoice in the perfect wellbeing of others.’ Now there’s a pass-time to get your head round.
Ok, but isn’t ‘perfect wellbeing’ a bit triggery itself? I see my Dad on a family video call and I’m glad-ragging to myself about his ‘perfect wellbeing’, and then I’m reminded… he can’t see the screen, and he’s afraid in isolation, and he’s stressed about the fact he was due to move house next month, and he’s conscious his income is running out now the interest rates have dropped to 0.1%…
Isn’t that the perfect time to hold your vision of his perfect wellbeing? What’s the worst that can happen to him?
Exactly! And what is croaking..?
Stepping out of physical form.
And who suffers most when someone croaks?
Those left behind.
So can you dedicate your time and energy to seeing the perfection in what is? Can you? Can you put on your rose tinted spectacles and re-view the world?
Your shopping trip yesterday. Let’s reframe it: a bountiful warehouse of nourishment was open, and was well-organised so everyone should have a good experience. Meanwhile, across the planet, people are resting; the planet is replenishing itself; key workers are experiencing the opportunity to overcome their deepest fears and bask in the delight their Inner Being feels in being of selfless service to others; children are released from school and adults from offices, and they can fall into rhythms at home together; some people are walking on out of this physical form in accordance with their original soul’s plan; bereaved loved ones, with hearts burst open, are learning the truest meaning of love.
Seeing the perfection of all things, at all times, especially now, is the gift we can give this planet now. Go back to A Course In Miracles. Can you live by its teaching now? Can you? There is no error. There are no mistakes. There is no wrong. There is no sin. There is only glistening perfection in each moment. Sweet soul, truly, if you can hold that knowledge now, you are offering up a service. Rejoice in the perfection of this day. And, believe in nothing. Bring no story of salvation. If you can watch the ‘apocalypse’ at close range and know simply that it is not as it seems, then you will be gifting good energy to this time. Feel your feelings. Let them flood through. Heal and release old fears and sadnesses. Wail as you did yesterday. All is of value. All of it. Your waking attentions, and your releasing naps. Let it all be as it is, without your making right/wrong or good/bad of any of it. Rejoice in your equanimity, that perfect balance of “maybe – maybe not” which allows you not to flee from: attending (showing up for) reality in a state of perfect calm. Rejoice in your certitude in the perfection of all, which permits you to remain right here right now, moment after moment. Rejoice in your capacity to love – and in the delight of your Inner Being when it feels love flowing through it. Can you just marvel at that? What a system you have in there! Awesome. No wonder the human species has survived. It fuels itself on loving others. Bask is that feeling of loving others. Bask in it today.
Wow, what a rampage of wisdom and wonder. Thank you!
Bask in that feeling of loving others