Challenging Times and the Seeker

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It’s really interesting to see how spiritual seekers react in challenging times.  When everything is going well, it’s easy to claim to be spiritual.  But when things are tough – that’s when the true seekers emerge from the masses whose spirituality was yet another exercise in egoic identification.  Difficult times are when the true colors come out.  Under stress, the facades break down.  For those on a genuine spiritual path, challenging times are when the spiritual milestones can more readily be counted.  These are the times when we can honestly look at ourselves and see whether we have been on a spiritual ego trip or is this the real thing.

These days something invisible is providing humanity with an existential challenge.  There is some irony in how humanity’s arrogance can so easily be swatted down by the tiniest organism but in any case, the fact is we face a potentially life-threatening virus.  The challenging times are planet-wide, and in the face of that, let’s take a moment of introspection and just examine our mental and emotional state.  Are we pre-occupied with anxiety, fearfulness, depression, or do we have the spiritual wherewithal to realize that there is a larger karmic current at play here?  That nature is pure power and we are a small part of her.  This is no time to panic, this is the time to exhibit our most spiritually mature and loving self and handle this as gracefully as possible.

What this means has many levels.  On the practical side, we must first and foremost ensure that we will not be an agent of transmission of the virus.  So, we must practice hygiene and social distancing of course.  But on the spiritual side, it is also an opportunity to take stock.  On a personal level, are we able to stay in stillness?  On the community level, are we able to assist and be part of the solution, or do we energize the problem by how we behave?

Even more fundamental than that, let’s not forget that mental health is directly linked to the potency of the immune system.  Spiritual practices have always been linked to an elevated outlook on life, and better psychological states.  Not only that, yogic and ayurvedic practices directly contribute to a strong mind/body complex, including a robust immune system.

With the stay-at-home guidelines in place in many parts of the world, is this not the ideal time to become more introspective?  With businesses closed, and the modern busy-ness on hiatus, is this not the perfect time to cultivate inner spirituality?  So many people complain of being bored, the internet is full of remedies to keep people entertained from so called cabin-fever.  Just think about what this says about us as a population – we are so addicted to constant stimulus that we can not sit still for even a day!  We are afraid of contracting the virus, and yet we suffer from this chronic mental affliction of noise that we simply take for granted.  Let’s take this home-time to reflect on this and move inward.

We are not separate entities after-all.  We are linked in innumerable ways to this planet, to each other, to nature, to all of creation.  We are collectively going through something right now, and what we know about karma tells us that this wave is a result of a previous inducement.  Let us listen to our spiritual masters who tell us that all is perfect always and is as it should be.  Our limited understanding is not a cause to become flustered and confused.  Our limited understanding is simply just that, we may make conjectures but at the end of the day, let’s admit to not knowing why, and open ourselves to the possibilities beyond.  If this is to be the end of anything, let it be the end of our ignorance.

As the American writer Richard Bach has said, “What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.”

 

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