Every day is a new adventure. We would like to believe that it is possible to live every day as a blank slate, creating a new one every time we open our eyes. Unless you are a Buddhist monk working towards enlightenment, it may not be in the cards for most of us. What is in the card are the memories and reflections that we carry with us from birth. We rely on these memories for comfort, for guidance, and as lessons on which we decide in our present life.
Unfortunately, not every memory has been enjoyable for many. More and more we hear and read stories of violence, hunger, injustice, poverty, and ill-health. We call self-help “gurus” to confront our fears, challenge our beliefs, and eliminate it to make lemons from lemonade. It is overly idealistic and some consider their misfortune to be their fault and it is up to them to turn the tide.
We live in a time of anxiety. We are experiencing political, social, and physical unrest. If you ever watch the film The Ten Commandments, there is a scene where they depict the descent of the last plague, the murder of the first-born. The plague is depicted as a cloud or fog or mist marking descending from the sky. It is an ominous scene and brings out the chill as a frightening turn of events around Egypt.
Rewriting history is not an option, but redefining our history is a possibility. What happens to us at night? What do we have in mind to impact our mental health and color our world in gray?
If you think of stories of haunted houses, the soul often lives in space in an attempt to find something close to it in its physical life. It is their own open, unanswered question that causes their unrest. Our life today is full of unanswered questions. Uncertainty seems more ideal than an exception. This is separating many, increasing their stress and anxiety.
The events of our current world intensify the emotional and spiritual turmoil felt over the years. Events are linked together, wreaking havoc on our ability to withstand the stresses of daily life. Alcohol consumption has been thirty-six percent since the onset of the epidemic. Calls from crisis lines have jumped at an alarming rate. The layoffs and shutdowns have left many people feeling hopeless and in their own minds, leaving them with options but to take their own lives and end the misery.
Finally, what are we looking for? Are we looking for healing or resolution? Are we working on developing our muscles of flexibility to overcome negativity? During turbulent times, it is important to find an anchor. It can be a person, a belief, a practice, or some other activity or belief where you can build roots. We never plant a tree without stabilizing the poles until it is anchored in the ground. The same should happen for our emotional life during intense stress. We need places or people we can return to knowing that solitude / they provide. Such practices will allow us to be more accommodating during these uncertain times.