* Be well and enjoy your journey inwards *
It's time to go within.
It's been many weeks since we decided to press pause as a globe. Much of the world continues to remain at home, practicing physical distancing. Before restrictions to keep us safe were put in place, life had been quite busy: we were moving fast, living our lives to the max, a Yang way of being. Modern routines didn't often leave much time for our Yin nature, and our inner life may frequently have fallen to the background: we were challenged to find time for meditation or reflection. When we're in the rhythm of projecting ourselves outwards, exploring, socializing, working, we might take a few minutes to check in with ourselves here and there, before we're pulled into another activity. It was common for us to wait until our inner imbalance triggered a circumstance that would require us to take time out to restore ourselves. Being externally focused as a society can only last so long until we need to find our way back to harmony, and in this case, the measures we've been asked to follow around COVID-19 resulted in this collective land-lock. We are being given the chance to take some time for ourselves: this is a massive call to go inwards. Of course, we can go within anytime, but it's easier to shift our focus to the inner realm now that we're no longer as distracted by the wonders of the world. While taking this break from incessant activity, now is a time of retreat, quiet, and stillness, to journey within in order to nourish ourselves from the inside out, by cultivating the Yin aspects of our being.
When you don't go within, you go without.
- Harbhajan Singh Yogi
Image: it's me, in a still from feature film 'Waiting for Summer' by Senthil Vinu
It's time for seclusion.
A mass vision quest is going on and right now, we're in the cave. Globally, we are going through an unprecedented experience in the most familiar place. Away from normal life, this is a time of seclusion in our homes, and here, our ability to turn inward and tune into ourselves is stronger than ever. In our aloneness, our meditations become deeper, our prayers more clear, uninterrupted. Seekers throughout history have cultivated spirituality in relative aloneness: monks, shamans, warriors all have their version of a solo quest to refine their consciousness. Buddha meditated for seven weeks under the Bodhi tree, Jesus spent forty days in the desert. We are able to refresh ourselves by connecting with our spirit and the universe in a different way when we are alone. People often find they are able to think more clearly when they are have space to be alone, having taken a step back, they are better able to assess their circumstance from the wider perspective of distance. We process our experience differently, so throughout history, people were sent out to the wilderness on their own to come back to self and source, and find their power. Now, we will be doing this from the sanctuary of our homes. This is an opportunity to take a breather and reflect, and enjoy a spiritual quarantine from the comfort of home, where we will more easily be able to integrate the shifts we are all going through. You will feel more clear and in tune with your truth after spending this time with yourself.
Seclusion is the price of greatness.
- Paramahansa Yogananda
It's time to retreat.
If you think about it, people usually have to pay for a retreat experience. Due to the overwhelming speed and sound that was most people's lives before social distancing, we go on retreats to get away from it all, in order to reset the decks and reconnect with ourselves. In fact there are countless dedicated centres all over the world where people go to disconnect from their normal lives, to come back to centre and alignment, recalibrate for higher overall quality of life upon emergence. This pause pressed the reset button for all of us - we now find ourselves with this collective time of retreat. When we interrupt the daily rhythms of reality, we also help the mind cease its looping thoughts, allowing our psyche to rest and refresh itself. This gives us the chance to change our patterns: the 'busy' mind has a chance to relax, so the deeper aspects of our wisdom can take over. A sabbatical from life's routines lets us gather our thoughts and make sense of them, purify and elevate our consciousness, and find new solutions. We can feel more deeply into ourselves, and let our emotions flow, reign in our projections on the world, and shed the layers that no longer serve us. We create inner order, and feel recharged and rejuvenated from the flow of renewed harmony. The more we clear our surface of debris, and empty our residue, we let go of the past and future and come into presence in our centre. We integrate lessons and clear the air around us, to start fresh and new. Disconnect so you can fully connect to what matters most.
When your inner world comes into order,
your outer world will come into order.
- I Ching
It's time for your self.
We are being invited to come back to ourselves. When you can't go outside, turn your attention inwards and you will find the uniquely beautiful universe of the final frontier, your consciousness. This is a time for self exploration and development: as we take time to explore our relationship with ourselves, our inner growth deepens our capacity to feel and experience meaning in our lives. Self isolation is a summoning within: away from our routines, in our relative seclusion and silence, we become inspired to get back in touch with our private realms. We find a whole new world when we go inside: discover your inner landscape with all its dimensionality, full of treasure to excavate and light to shine. We all have our own unique universe to enjoy, and that is the gift of self. Everything in life starts within you, and internal revitalization begins when we care for ourselves and nurture our spirit. Everything in our lives comes into harmony when we move from our inner world, when we take our inner life into account. This time out has shifted our focus from having to keep up with the world back to our own true needs and desires: we connect more easily with ourselves now that the world's rhythms are on pause. Now we have the chance to explore our deeper layers, connect with our nature, and to recognize our inner being again. The gift of this crisis is that it gives us time to get back in tune with ourselves, with our truth. Enjoy this time for self-discovery and remembrance, with the busyness of the world at bay.
Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.
- Carl Jung
Read more pandemic reflections here.