Mindfulness in the time of pandemic fear - by Paul Carlos
by Ian Craig
in Blogs

With the dramatic emergence and rapid spread of Covid-19 currently causing global fear and widespread disruption, it seems that we all need some urgent relief and effective solutions to rebalance our-selves and counteract the psychic waves of fear and negativity. The Covid-19 counter measures taken by governments worldwide have forced us all into a condition of isolation, which we may well feel as an infringement upon our ability to express warmth and feelings with family, friends and colleagues. 

Usual freedoms have largely been removed and our personal and collective economic structures have, in many cases, come under severe threat, and some have completely collapsed.

Mindfulness, along with the ancient traditions of yoga, meditation and others, is a profound practice in itself, and could, when embraced correctly, make a huge contribution to helping us all during the current worldwide challenge to our consciousness. As a core component of Vipasana Buddhist practice, mindfulness is a deceptively simple method and quite easy to explain:

“We actively engage a portion of our attention into what we are experiencing right now, without judgment and preconceived interpretation, in the present moment.”

This uncommon element, added to our awareness, has some highly useful benefits attached to it. Primarily, by engaging in mindfulness regularly, we insert a component of detachment into our otherwise smooth, absorbed, flow of awareness. The practice of mindfulness further invites us to make an effort to become hyper-aware from moment to moment. All too often we are so busy rushing headlong into the next event, meeting, deadline, or maybe a party, that we actually miss a lot along the way because we are so deeply absorbed by all the activity around us.

In that very ‘space’ that is created from our mindfulness, we experience and realise something extraordinary. We realise profoundly that ‘we’ as participants in unfolding experience, irrespective of what that experience is, can also simultaneously be the observers of that same experience. In the moment of that realisation, we have the choice to either identify our-selves with what we are perceiving, or choose to become detached.

In the first choice, that of identification, we feel that we 'are' whatever the subject is. Feeling that we 'are' something, means we take it on fully and completely, our very fabric and essence 'is' whatever the subject is. The second choice, detachment, leads to a measure of peace and freedom. Identification takes us into a condition of limitation and stagnation by reducing our perspective to our own personal self reflection, while the second option can set us free from our limitations. We can live and love always with the door open to change and without any preconceptions since 'we' are not ultimately absorbed and attached to our creations and experiences. Nor to our thoughts, feelings, emotions, intentions, attitudes and so on, since we can regulate those same items. This of course is the first and vital step to taking charge of our-selves.

This realisation can be such a relief once fully comprehended and accepted.

Now, of course, one big issue with the whole Covid-19 situation is that it is literally forcing us all to make radical re-assessments; economically, socially, politically and spiritually. It is relatively simple to see that the major challenges facing humanity today are the forces of division, separative behaviours and attitudes, abuse of our environment, commercialism/materialism at all costs, a general lack of caring and kindness, and above all else, a serious lack of wisdom.

So the solution appears simple. If the collective is made up of communities and those are composed of individuals, the true work lies at our own door to transform ourselves. By improving our sense of 'space' in our perceptions and interpretations, and moving forward with a sense of detachment instead of endless identification, we gain a valuable moments opportunity to begin making wiser choices and firm decisions that reflect a greater level of coherency with our thoughts, feelings, motives and physical actions. Moving forward with this tool, we can all begin taking serious stock of the components of our mind and consciousness and make an effort to become more loving, wiser people, beyond our endless pursuits of personal gain and beyond our personal narratives.
Once we are truly ready to ‘own’ our consciousness in this way, with all its many ramifications, and begin taking steps to understand how this very consciousness works to create the realities we all find ourselves in, then mindfulness becomes a great friend and tool, that we can use in our journey of personal transformation and empowerment, as actualised beings of soul, heart and spirit.

So to sum up, mindfulness is the great tool for Pythagoras' and Socrates ancient dictum:

“Know thyself, and thy shall know God and the Universe”.