SIMPLY BEING

Category: Corona Notes (page 1 of 2)

Corona Notes: Meet the Moment

The lockdown is s-l-o-w-l-y lifting, and I have been feeling strangely untethered. I have a tenuous grip on most matters practical/realistic, and Corona has released me (somewhat) from all/any pretenses of being a “responsible adult,” thinking about the future, et al. I wasn’t much of a planner to begin with, and presently I feel absolved of whatever responsibility I may have taken on (out of guilt, or anything else) to make a plan, think ahead, figure out the future, etc.

I dreamed of a slow life where my schedule was entirely my own, and I wouldn’t be answerable to anyone ― not a boss, a manager, or a supervisor. Well, be careful what you wish for because you rarely know what it entails in its entirety. I’d say, don’t wish for a thing, and you will have no one to blame. Or be prepared for a fullness of experience that will include some (or many) uncomfortable, awkward parts. I enjoyed silence and blank spaces, and now I have them aplenty. And some evenings, they turn vaguely terrifying, ungrounding. And I am happy/relieved that there are only a few hours to go before bed.

For some of us, the lockdown has made lives busier, fuller. For some others, it has magnified the emptiness that peeks out amid events and activities. In pre-Corona times, we had figured out ways to deal with these blank spaces, and now we cannot avoid them any more. Some of us love this lockdown life where you can spend the day wearing comfortable clothing, avoid traffic and long commutes, potter around the house. Some of us would love to go back to pre-Corona times, when life was busy and there were things to do, people to meet, hugs and kisses to share.

I wonder if all that we can take from this surreal phase is that we can only meet Life wherever it chooses to meet us, and we can only meet it EXACTLY as we are. There is no real prep, or any level of action readiness to be better at any of this.

“There is no means of testing which decision is better, because there is no basis for comparison. We live everything as it comes, without warning, like an actor going on cold. And what can life be worth if the first rehearsal for life is life itself? That is why life is always like a sketch. No, “sketch” is not quite a word, because a sketch is an outline of something, the groundwork for a picture, whereas the sketch that is our life is a sketch for nothing, an outline with no picture.”

― Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Corona Notes: Gratitude

I see a lot of messages asking us to be grateful in these Corona times. Let’s be grateful that we have a warm home, that our family is with us, that there is food in the fridge, that we are healthy, and so on.

Here is a question.

Are you thinking, “Thank you, God, for my family and health and food!,” or are you going, “Thank you, God, for having spared me the hardship others are going through.”

There is a real difference between the two.

If what we are grateful for is home/health/heating/food/fridge, we would feel the same way, pandemic situation or not. If a crisis (and another’s difficulty) is precipitating the gratefulness, then what we are experiencing is plain relief. Relief that we have been spared the difficult times. For now, at least. Who can say how things will be tomorrow, next week?

I think practising happiness may be a better idea than practising gratitude. I am happy that I have warm water; I am happy that I can breathe easily; I am happy that I can take a walk in the cool Spring air. Being happy is NOT being ungrateful. In fact, it may be a lot closer to what we actually feel than this idea of gratitude.

Corona Notes: Privilege

These are the days when we speak and hear a lot about privilege. How privileged we are that we may work from home, that we can afford to maintain social distancing, perhaps even forego income temporarily, and so on.

I feel rather awkward around these conversations.

For one, I can never presume to know what another is experiencing… Just like no one can truly know or understand what I am experiencing. This is because our experience is wholly internal/invisible; it isn’t something the world can see, let alone comment on.

Does someone feel an acute lack of privilege? Who am I to be a judge of that? Now, I can use my limited experience and unlimited imagination to craft a story of need, privilege, comfort, scarcity. We do this all our lives, and we get really good at it. Sometimes we term it as “empathy.”

All I can do is be present, and trust fully in the action that emerges. Rest is endless conversation and storytelling, either to myself and/or to the world.

(Posted on Instagram, Feb 12: I am now beginning to understand the difference between activity and action. It’s all Osho’s wisdom, really… slowly integrating, assimilating. Activity is relentless, ceaseless, endless… and it results in exactly zero outcomes. In fact, it is its own outcome. Action is something altogether and entirely different. It is quick, swift, decisive. Even if a particular action looks like it may be the outcome of much thinking/weighing/analyzing/measuring, the truth is that it is an independent entity, more governed by the moment, the space of that moment.

In fact, activity builds on itself ad infinitum but action has its own momentum, and it dies instantly… whereas activity endlessly perpetuates itself, generating stories and narratives.)

Corona Notes: Sitting, Listening

Coronavirus has forced people indoors, bringing our lives as we knew it to a grinding halt. However, all that action and busy-ness hasn’t gone anywhere; it has merely shifted location… all of it has moved online.

I am positive that you can find at least one activity to participate in, every waking hour of the day. You can yoga along with fellow yogis, meditate at least 2x/day, chant Om Namah Shivaaya in groups, listen to inspiring sermons, et al. Since the online world has no restriction on movement, we can be here, there, everywhere, all at once.

It is difficult being with silence and looming questions, so we craft one activity after another, all positive and uplifting, “raising the spirit,” so we can avoid the burden of simply being with what is.

(Yoga is awesome! Meditation is lovely. So is art, gardening, singing and dancing… also quietly sitting, listening.)