Since lockdown was announced on the evening of March 17, our daily lives have been disrupted and some of us have been left feeling unsettled and anxious. We may have been thrown off balance, destabilised.
We all know that life is impermanent and that the universe is constantly evolving. We only have to notice how the seasons change, the sun rises and sets and clouds move across the sky to know that change is an inevitable part of life.
Normally change happens slowly and, without us realising, we can drift along in a constant sea of change. Occasionally dramatic change occurs such as a birth, death, a new job, a house move. These changes may take longer to acclimatise to.
With coronavirus we have a situation in which dramatic change has happened to us all at the same time. We are faced with new and different challenges and it is no wonder that we may be seeking a sense of stability.
Last night my mother asked me what kept me earthed. It was a question that made me stop and think: what keeps me grounded?
When we feel anxious, our anxiety can spiral. We may get caught up in worrying about the future or regretting the past. The energy of an anxiety needs the equivalent of a lightning conductor so that we can earth ourselves.
In every mindfulness practice we train ourselves to come back to an anchor when we have got distracted and are no longer present. Often the anchor that we use is the breath, though we can also use other parts of the body such as our hands and our feet. The beauty of anchoring ourselves within our body is that wherever we go, whatever we are doing, we carry our anchor, our lightning conductor with us.
After 9/11 in America people turned to knitting in order to calm the nerves. By concentrating on an activity, by doing it mindfully, we stay present. My mother has always had a tendency towards anxiety and depression and has found that gardening, sewing and knitting helped to ease her mind.
Right now there is a call to stay calm. When we are stable and calm, we are more able to make good decisions about what actions we need to take. By stopping and checking in with ourselves we can connect with our feelings and thoughts. We can get to know the activities and the people that help us.
We are all aware of how interconnected we are to one another. By taking care of ourselves, we may become a more stable individual, family, society and indeed world. We may be able to develop a spiral of stability rather than one of anxiety.
Below is a meditation that may help to bring kindness and calm to yourself and to those around you. It was recorded the day after the announcement of Britain’s lockdown measures.
If people help each other, everyone can do better. Stones supporting each other can make a house; people supporting each other can achieve great things.Rungu Tulken