“As within, so without; as without, so within” A timeless Hermetic principle that means something completely new in light of COVID-19 and forced lockdowns that keep you inside and gathering with others less.
It’s like a big mirror constructed in front of you that won’t go away. Everywhere you look, you see evidence of your inner world reflected in your outer reality: the quality and cleanliness of your space, the frequency of your social outreach, the types of food you eat and the content you ‘consume.’
So when you can no longer escape the clear and obvious reminders of who you really are by leaving your home space daily for work or errands, you’ll probably experience that uncomfortable realization that you’re not who you thought you were. Evidence of your subconscious becomes splattered around your home. And the pressure to do something different increases.
Before long, all the things you’ve been trying to avoid are now staring you in the face…and you have a choice. Do you accept them as they are, or do you change them?
This has been hard, because when you spend most of your day avoiding what it means to be human, who you really are after all the masks and lies of your personality, you can get uncomfortable pretty quickly. The prospect of having to look at and change multiple ingrained habits or personality quirks that you don’t like all at once is overwhelming.
(As an aside, sometimes we spend a whole year focusing on just one aspect of our personality in the Kabbalah Ascension program through the Modern Mystery School.)
So here are a few reminders just in case you find yourself in the middle of the second COVID-19 wave with no relief in sight:
- Be Gentle With Yourself: remember that your negative self-talk is just that, negative. And who needs more negativity in their life right now? Throw that negativity out and write out 5 positive things about yourself. This practice seems cheesy but I promise you there is ample scientific research to back it up. Go ahead, I bet you can’t do it in under a minute.
- Weekly Check-in’s: Ha! You did it in under a minute didn’t you. Reverse psychology works…now back to weekly check-in’s. Schedule weekly check-in’s with a few friends and keep your commitment. Sure, there may be days when you don’t feel like it or it’s just a bad time. Still check-in, whether that means sending a text or rescheduling, but don’t let yourself off the hook altogether here, the point is to express yourself rather than keep it all inside until it boils and explodes somewhere creating a mess. We’ve all done that, so why not try something different?
- Exercise: Lockdown doesn’t mean you can’t leave your house. Get up, walk around, do some push-ups…the increased blood flow will do your body good, not to mention detoxifying and rejuvenating your body. This will boost your mood, guaranteed. So just find the best way that you like to move and get your heartbeat up, OK?
- Breathe: Most people don’t actually breathe, so when all else fails, remember to take a deep breath into the diaphragm and even hold it for a few seconds to let that good ole’ oxygen penetrate your lungs. If you did that, congrats, you just meditated (again, reverse psychology right?)! Now just do that for 10 more breathes, deep ones. Take your time. You’ll feel better immediately after and will have more mental clarity with which to encounter what’s next. And who knows what that’ll be…it’s 2020 after all, so be prepared with a full breathe. With the election in a few days, we’re all going to need it…
I feel incredibly blessed to be living at this time. Sometimes that feels like a risky thing to say. Then come numerous negative and critical thoughts, with questions like: How could you say such a thing? Don’t you realize how much pain people are going through? Aren’t you paying attention?
I remind myself that COVID has hit everyone’s life a bit differently. So unique are the impacts depending on your particular blend of work, location, family/kids, etc. that it’s really hard to understand what the person you pass on the street is going through without asking them to reflect on it. And you don’t, because of ‘social distancing,’ which is actually more ‘physical distancing,’ and less ‘social distancing.’ Anyway, I think most people would rather not reflect on all the ways the pandemic and associated lockdowns have upended their lives. The thought can be overwhelming, and our collective emotional resources are at an all-time low, so why add any unnecessary burden like critical thinking or discursive discussions.
Further, despite the inordinate emotional cost of just getting out of bed in the morning, we have an important presidential election bearing down upon us with potentially huge impacts on the psychological health of the nation (any possible the world). In truth, stakeholders in the US election go beyond the electorate and include international business interests, geopolitical strategists, and environmental policy makers the world over. If you can’t vote in the US election, you can still spend money on misinformation and other forms of advertising to influence the modern American consumer to swing into alignment with your political agenda. It’s already happened at least once.
In this and other cases, technology has changed the nature of our reality in important ways that we are just coming to terms with. For example, Facebook ‘fact checkers’ who have marching orders to keep their corporation out of litigation are pissing people off left and right who think they are actually checking for facts. Scientists, professionals, politicians, media icons have all been banned from the platform for posting things that the government will potentially come after the corporation for with greedy hands looking for judgments imposing huge fines to ease the burden of their depressed revenues due to lockdowns that they themselves imposed. I blame whoever came up with the job title ‘fact checker’ for this terrible misconception. Really, many people are righteously insulted that their years of training, research, and peer-reviewed analyses, not to mention their professional reputations, are being mislabeled and insulted by millennials working for minimum wage that aren’t required to have finished any particular collegiate course of study yet have the power to label anything you post on Facebook as ‘false information.’
So yes, people are pissed off and exhausted with FB and COVID and the experience of LIFE generally right now.
But the question remains—if it will set us free, what is truth?
Certainly science doesn’t purport to prove anything. People forget that everything we know is a likelihood, a thesis, subject to change as the quantum universe continues to evolve. Remember that the dimension of time can only be shown by applied mathematics using an imaginary number. We had to make something up to fit time into our equations for how the universe works. So time doesn’t really exist, just relative movements in a universe that we are still grasping to understand.
Our experience of reality is irresistibly colored by our perceptions, such that two onlookers viewing the same scene can walk away with very different understandings of what happened. Eye-witness legal testimony is often woefully inaccurate and it’s one of the easiest forms of evidence to get thrown out of court. My cognitive psychology professor made a healthy consulting fee out of debunking it, and it was probably the easiest money he’s ever made.
Yurii Perepadia, a graphic designer and illustrator from Ukraine, created the following optical illusion, which everyone experiences slightly differently depending on how much you use your peripheral vision to take in the image. Try for yourself and show someone else:
Created bu Yurii Perepadia, a graphic designer and illustrator from Ukraine.
So where my rambling is taking us, if you’ve made it this far, is that we have to trust in something much larger than ourselves to get through this time with any semblance of sanity. We can’t really trust ourselves as individual units in this vast unknown universe. We are at serious risk of getting torn apart mentally, emotionally, and spiritually if we find our psyches built on a foundation of sand rather than stone when the tide comes in (I checked, and I believe flooding is next after scourge and fires in the apocalypse).
What we DO know is that we are spiritual beings having a physical experience. There’s simply no other explanation for consciousness. Seriously, go look and tell me what you find.
And we can start caring deeply for our own mental and emotional health by tapping into that eternal part of us that easily rises above the current state of the world, and sees a much bigger picture. This is why I feel blessed. I’ve done the work, and continue to do the work, to keep my head above water, focused on who I am as an eternal being, and put everything into perspective and relationship with my God-self. That is my source of strength, resilience and power.
Is that true or just a convenient story? Well, I’ll leave you with these words which I keep on my altar from a Tibetan lama (teacher): “Whatever, on its destruction or intellectual analysis, ceases to convey an idea, like a vase of water, is relatively existent; all else is ultimately real.”
With this definition of truth, not from science but from a wisdom tradition, go forth and rebuild your foundation friends. Build your foundation on what is ultimately real, and find that a new day dawns in your life brighter than the one you find yourself in today.
Happy Equinox friends!
If you’re like me, times like these make you pensive. I mean, I was already pretty pensive but I’m good at distracting myself so my head doesn’t explode at the end of the day.
Now, with so much slowing down around me, I’m bored with my distractions, and I can’t help but move deeper into my meditation practice. That means buckle up, because we’re about to save the world. Well, mostly my world, but maybe you’ll find something inspiring inside of my inquiry that applies to your world as well!
As Without, So Within
You may find yourself outside your normal or habitual patterns due to physical distancing measures due to the general life disruption caused by COVID-19. When we find ourselves outside a normal behavioral pattern, our frontal lobe kicks into high gear (which is part of what makes this time so exhausting), because it needs to find novel ways to interact with our new environment.
And while our homes or living spaces themselves may not be new, using one for a home office where previously it was just a hang out and rejuvenate space represents unique challenges to your mental health. Where do you go to decompress if your work is sitting right in the middle of your happy zone? Why bother tidying up if you’re going to be right back at it tomorrow for who knows how long? The purpose of the space we inhabit gets reevaluated, and *spoiler alert* there’s no clear alternative or solution that allows us to go right back ‘to sleep’ living in our old patterns.
If this is happening outside, the Hermeticist is trained to look within as well. In what ways are you currently reevaluating YOUR purpose? In what ways are you re-examining what fulfills you? Those ‘new’ ways that you’re living, how do they challenge your perspective or view you have of yourself? And what new trails are you blazing as a result? Feel free to share in the comments.
Transform by overcoming inertia
When we talk in the context of transformation, one of the forces we are trying to overcome is inertia. This is the tendency to stay the same, because staying the same is almost always easier.
This tendency is highlighted when we are developing new habits. If something becomes unbearably uncomfortable, we are much more likely to (be motivated to) change it. There are many strategies people use to artificially enhance the pain associated with failing to perform a new habit so that they get over their inertia in changing it. I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention, but that strategy may have been practice for the challenges COVID-19 is throwing our way.
COVID-19 is an opening for transformation. Of course, there are many people suffering and dying as a result of this virus, it’s not just “uncomfortable” for them. That’s why we need to reach out, recognize what is going on, and extend an offer of support if we are stable to assist others who are not. Who have you checked in with recently?
If you are retracting inward, cutting yourself off from others, then you are not serving and expanding the love available. Love is connection and expansion, not retraction. We are not social distancing, we are only physically distancing. Challenge yourself to check in with someone in your network every day.
Upgrade your Consciousness
Remember that your actions are ultimately a result of your consciousness. What you perceive, what you pay attention to, to where your inner compass is leading all are a result of the level of consciousness that you have cultivated in yourself. When was the last time you attended to or took care of your mindset? How do you recognize when your mind is sick and needs care to get better? What is your treatment plan to get you back to a healthy mindspace?
Your allopathic doctor has nothing to help you with here. Here’s a hint— inquire within and use this time to get past any inertia which has held you back in the past from making important changes in your life patterns, behaviors and goals.
Share with us below in the comments what you are going to do differently!
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