During these extraordinary times we are facing the unknown. We cannot plan, we have no idea what is around the corner, our egos are grasping at air, we are pouring over the news, social media, gossiping with friends trying to make sense of things and orientate ourselves.
In honesty, life is always like this. We really have very little control over our environment - we could be hit by a bus as we walk out our front door, we could loose a loved one suddenly, we could loose our job or home. The reality is, we are always facing the unknown - just not on such an epic scale.
When we navigate "normal" life we believe it has a certainty, there is a rhythm and predictability that yesterday will be similar to today which will be similar to tomorrow...and we extend that into the future and feel comfortable. But reality is transient, as we are now seeing. Tomorrow may not be like today, which is not like yesterday. Reality when experienced so viscerally is unnerving.
Life has turned up the volume and there is a huge opportunity for spiritual growth amidst all this uncertainty. We can no longer conveniently ignore reality and distract ourselves with illusions of future plans. Yet look at us grasp! I have never before seen the media, social and reported, blow up like this before. Conspiracy theories, fear and panic stories, economic black hole, the second coming, aliens, crystalline grid restructuring, Lemurian uprising, Big Brother, Mother Earth's revenge. LOL! Our poor egos don't know where to put themselves!
But is this helpful?
The world of duality will continue after this pandemic, just as it did after the plague, the world wars, the great depression. Structures will shift, some will crumble, others will rise - you will find your place in it again. You will make new plans, and find your new "business as usual". But right here, in this moment... as the volume goes up, the opportunity is NOW.
Before the hubris of daily life sucks you away again into the world of duality, the challenge is to meditate on the not knowing. As we isolate and have the gift of time, space and silence, we also have the added insecurity of an unknown future. The unknown has never been more prominent as a global energy, and it is in this amplified state of not knowing that our greatest opportunity presents itself.
Find your stance in "I don't know".
Clinging to the belief that "everything will be wonderful" is as unhelpful as "everything will be terrible" - from a spiritual growth viewpoint. This amplified opportunity is not about making your ego feel better about itself. It is about dismantling it to let your true light shine through. That inner part of you that is aware, eternal and unchanged. You can watch things crumble, rebuild, plans disintegrate, new plans emerge, winter turn into spring, autumn into winter. It is all OK, you are OK. If your new plans are better or worse than your old ones, it does not affect your inner peace.
Inner steadiness is not reliant on outer stability.
To see how well anchored you are in your inner truth, just check in with how centred you feel right now. Is there a problem, as you sit here reading this? Your mind's thoughts will bring you lots of problems, if you believe them then you will have them too. But if you don't?
As I walk my dog, I am aware of a deeper silence - less cars on the road, less noise from human activity. In this silence you can really hear nature - the wind, the birds and insects. Nature is blissfully ignorant of our situation, life goes on exactly as it always has for her. This is reality, not what we interpret it to be. This rawness, the actual experience of your walk, or your quiet isolation - not the turmoil in your head - is the truth. Enjoy the quiet pace of your life as it is today, you have been given the gift of time, space and silence. Who knows about tomorrow.
Many of us already have a quiet practice, but it has not been tested like this before. We go on retreat, look inwards for a few days in the secure comfort of knowing our lives are waiting for us when we go home. Now the rubber hits the road, who knows what awaits us as we reemerge from our homes in a month or two (or three of four). Perhaps all goes back to "normal", perhaps life as we know it changes on an epic scale. Looking outside for our peace and happiness has never been a more risky proposition.
We never knew about tomorrow anyway. Life has always been this unpredictable, we have never had control. But now the volume button is turned way up. Use this opportunity to find your peace with not knowing. Find your inner steadiness in the comfort of the unknown.