My new blog post includes info about next free meditation and healing session on Sunday, I share an illustration that made even me giggle while drawing it, and a few more things…
I hope you and your loved ones are doing ok and are adjusting to our new normal.
It is amazing how our focus has shifted so completely in a short time. Suddenly I rearrange my day to fit in the daily press conference held by The National Board of Health and Welfare and others. I waltz around my home with the vacuum cleaner several times a week without complaining, I wipe door handles and changes tea towels like never before and many more things. All of this just happened, almost without any conscious decisions involved.
Nowhere to go, nowhere to hide
Life has transformed into what resembles a mindfulness retreat. We are, by necessity, getting a very practical, and at times also very sad, experience of being present in the now. On the other hand, we also get to experience in small and large ways Oneness. These are concepts central to many of the eastern spiritual traditions, which in later years have travelled to the west to become almost mainstream. We use these words in different situations, almost as a matter of routine.
The mindfulness training has also become a popular tool to handle the lack of focus and the overwhelming stress so many people struggle with. Both mindfulness and Oneness are concepts sages throughout history have tried to explain and teach us. In literature and in the wealth of stories told about these wise women and men, we can read about how they found and followed a way to live peacefully within and how to better meet life’s challenges. Their recipe to create these states of mind often seem to require many years of solitude (often in a mountain cave – but I might have watched Kung Fu Panda too many times 😉). These sages and mystics turned their back to Society and lived as ascetics and then one day the sudden epiphany of “we are all one” struck them. They ran down the hill to tell the rest of us how to accomplish the same thing, because it felt so nice. However, they were not always well received.
So, what did they do, before that sudden insight filled them? They spent time in seclusion and did not run away from that which happened on the inside. Alone and eliminating as many distractions as possible, they created an environment where they could really listen within. Even the daily chores became a form of meditation (chop wood and carry water – enlightenment – then more chopping and carrying, you know…) Slowly coming to terms with the overwhelming stream of memories, thoughts and emotions. Beginning by observing them, then understanding them, processing them, to finally releasing them in peace. Through that process they were able to harvest the wisdom from their internal work. Eventually this work leads to a state of mind, where it is possible to hear the Self clearly and to reach to the core of one’s being (a place much larger than we might think). If we are to believe their stories, that core consists only of love and there is no separation of any kind – it is a state of Oneness.
Before this pandemic got hold of our world, I had a more abstract and theoretical relationship to these concepts. I do meditate regularly and even thought I have felt whiffs of that wonderful inner peace, it has also been power struggles between me and the ever-flowing river of memories, thoughts and emotions. To practice mindfulness for me, usually has required effort and the use of willpower, to call the mind back into the present.
Perfect conditions to get the work done
As of now, I am extremely aware of how I move, what I touch, who I meet. A part of me is monitoring every interaction between my body and the surrounding world. The contagious COVID-19 has pushed me back into myself and made me very present in the moment. That part of my mind does not allow me to become mindlessly distracted by what happens outside of me, or even sneak off to distractions, to avoid what feels unpleasant on the inside.
Our self-preservation creates in most of us a feeling of vigilance, whether we like it or not, and our communication with our senses sharpens. We become more aware of the emotions that flow through us, the thoughts that passes through our mind, the messages sent from different parts of our body, that seeks our attention. If we would like to avoid feeling, thinking and sensing, it is trickier these days than usually. So, why not use this time as an opportunity to do the work properly? Go “all in”, and find out what you feel, think and sense about your life. It is an excellent opportunity to get to know yourself better!
There is an interesting connection or symbolism to recognize in this. We are more present in our bodies and many of us are also spending more time at home than before, either because of restrictions to go outside or by our own decision. We could say it is a “double whammy” of presence in the now, or a mindfulness boot camp… What we notice on the inner and in our homes often stands in connection to each other. The same theme, but expressed on different levels. To find the common denominator can start many interesting processes, simultaneously. Perhaps you also have noticed how much tidying and cleaning that is going on, in social media? Many have already begun…
If we then move over to that elusive feeling of Oneness. Is this spiritual state accessible only for Tibetan monks and other mystics? A gift given only to those who choose to spend years alone waiting for a flash of enlightenment from the gods? To reach the destination of Oneness on the map, you only have to walk along the roads named Love and Care, and observe yourself while doing that. This is exactly what the majority of us do right now. Our hearts are touched by what we see and hear others, so we reach out, we connect, we assist with what we can – because that is who we are in our core. Or maybe we don’t, and might need to do some cleaning to reach that sense of oneness. But beneath the fear, the abandonment issues, the unworthiness we all will find that solid state of love – if we dare to do the work.
What about my friend in ICU?
If you have read my posts the last few weeks, you might remember my best friend. The nurse who was about to begin to work with COVID-19 patients at the intensive care unit in Stockholm. I had a long conversation with her the other day. She shared her experiences: It is stressful; it is difficult with all the protective measures; the work in itself is medically very complex; it is heartbreakingly sad when things do not go in the right direction and there is euphoria and gratitude when someone gets better.
Her voice grew soft and almost a bit unsteady, when she told me about donations that have been done to the staff at the hospital. Companies have sent chocolate (she did not tell me the names of these companies – otherwise I would have shared it). One of the big mineral water companies, LOKA, have delivered bottled water. One of Sweden big dairy companies, ARLA, has send small bottles of milk chocolate with a note on – TO OUR HEALTH CARE HEROES. After spending many hours wearing the protective gear trying to save the patients’ lives without as much as a sip of water, it is heartwarming to put a piece of chocolate in the mouth and read a message from someone who is aware of what you do – that is a feeling that is hard to describe in words, she told me. These small joys in life, to be able to pour bubbly water into a paper dry mouth, to feel the taste of something sweet when you are exhausted from both stress and worry, and to have someone cheering you on, caring for you while you care for the life of others – that makes such a difference.
For your info, this has nothing to do with marketing the companies that I mentioned, I am only grateful to them. They make more difference than they probably are aware of. They care for my friend and her colleagues, who work so hard, and who will continue to do that for a long time.
Meditation and Healing Sunday, April 19, 9-9.30 UTC+1
I cannot donate chocolate, but I do what I can from where I am. Therefore so I continue to offer my Sunday meditations 9-9.30 pm, UTC+1. I will keep doing this as long as it feels meaningful. This link will take you to my website www.magicmittens.wordpress.com and the next one will take you to a place wher you can read more about how to join Group Sessions
I hope this post will help you look at your thoughts and emotions in a little different way. Thank you for reading, I am grateful that you took the time to do that.