So why is the coronavirus an opportunity? What is this ‘gift’?
In my last blog post I said,
In every moment is the opportunity for the sort of complete and utter peace, joy and contentment you’ve been looking for your whole life – the joy and contentment you always thought was to be found in working hard, and earning more and travelling to distant lands to have new experiences.
All that time, you thought joy lay in the outside world. And now that your outside world has been compromised, changed, and you can’t go about those activities you thought were one day going to bring you happiness and contentment, it perhaps feels like your world has fallen apart, like the sky has fallen.
But it was always an illusion.
The feeling of happiness comes not from the outside world even when it really looks like it does. All feelings of happiness and contentment come from only one place – within you.
They reflect, not your external circumstances, but how close you are to your inner core of perfection, to your magical essence, to your true self. This is what counts as happiness. This is what happiness IS.
Now, if you’ve read the various accounts of spontaneous enlightenment from the greatest gurus, more often than not it was their greatest despair, their dark night of the soul, their ‘breaking point’ that led to their awakening.
Even my own most memorable ‘enlightenment moment’ (because there are always more than one) came during the time of the deepest, blackest and most severe depression of my life.
So why does this happen?
Well, I suspect at the point of utter despair there is a certain ‘giving up’.
A giving up of the desperate need to understand, to control, to change, to think your way out of this horrible feeling.
The grip of resistance that has caused so much pain for so many years, decades, is let go and suffering evaporates.
The thought this must change disintegrates.
And in its place comes the delicious realisation that nothing needs to change, that nothing ever did need to change, and that all that was ever wrong was the thought that there was something wrong.
But most of us never get to see this.
We are all convinced something has to change.
Of course, it does. After all, you need more money and a bigger house and your mum needs a hip operation and your kids aren’t doing well at school. And ‘they’ need to find a vaccine for this terrible virus! Of course things need to change.
Except they don’t.
When you get really quiet with your experience, with the hum of existence, with the magic within, you realise they never do.
Nothing has to change, ever. It’s all perfect. You are perfect. Your kids are perfect. The world is perfect. Always. Yes, even now.
Now, if you think I’m mad or delusional or disrespectful or downright wrong, I kind of expected that. It’s all fine. It just tells me you’re using the rational, intellectual part of your mind to try and understand what I’m saying.
I’d just like you to bear in mind this is also the part that tells you to work harder, you’re too fat, your kids aren’t doing well enough, you need more money, everything is wrong, wrong, wrong!
Let’s take a moment to just acknowledge that part of your mind for a moment, shall we? Let’s take a moment to thank your intellect for all its hard work.
After all, it only ever wants the best for you. And it’s been working for decades to keep you safe.
But it’s been getting it all wrong…
It was NEVER supposed to be the job of the intellect to keep you safe. And I can tell you, it’s EXHAUSTED at having had to steer the ship for so long.
It’s there for solving puzzles and reading and maths. And instead we’ve given it a job it’s ill-equipped to do. We’ve given it responsibility for something that was never its job.
We’ve asked it to keep us safe when it has no way of accessing safety.
Asking your intellect to keep you safe and happy is like asking your accountant to paint your portrait, it’s like expecting your washing machine to design your clothes, it’s like asking your Fitbit to marry you.
Safety and peace and contentment are the domain of feeling and intuition, of magic and trust and your inner core of perfection.
And the poor old intellectual mind cannot go there. It can’t get in. So it looks to the external world and tries and tries and tries to find peace and happiness and contentment.
And because it can’t find it, you suffer.
Enough! Let’s give the poor old intellect a flipping break!
Because there’s another way of knowing, another way of realising, another route to knowledge.
There’s a type of seeing, a type of sensing that goes beyond, under, behind, prior to the intellect.
Most of us, particularly if we are clever, rational, scientific types, never get to realise it’s even there because we never…stop…searching…always in the wrong direction.
So, back to this ‘gift’ I mentioned…
You know, there’s something about this particular crisis that makes it special that isn’t the case with war or social unrest or other types of ‘horror’.
Because this ‘disaster’ is a very gentle one.
It requires us, not to take action and do stuff, not to step up and get busy. For most of us, it simply requires us to stay indoors, and wait.
Stressed, overworked people all over the world pay vast sums in order to go on silent retreats – forced boredom, forced isolation, forced nothingness.
You have been given your own personal retreat. You may never get this chance again. Use it.
This is the gift within the horror of coronavirus.
A chance to slow down and notice something we didn’t even know was there.
If the world needed a miracle, this could be it.
Not a world disaster nor an act of violence by a vengeful god. But a beautiful opportunity for more people than ever before to achieve the only thing worth achieving, the only success worth seeking – a glimpse into the perfection within themselves.
Everything you’ve ever wanted comes from seeing that in this moment there is nowhere to go and nothing to change.
So right now. Look to your experience now. Reflect on what you are feeling now. Just allow whatever is there to be there. Make no attempt to change any of it.
If what you’re experiencing or thinking or feeling right now is good, allow that. If it’s intolerably uncomfortable, allow that. If it feels neutral or bland, allow that.
Make no attempt to go anywhere in experience. Make no attempt to avoid, or change the current experience, no matter how it feels.
Whatever you’re feeling, good, bad or neutral, only one thing is always true – on the other side of resistance, on the other side of wanting to change the current moment lies all the peace and love you seek.
The more you resist that experience through wanting to change it, or trying to avoid it, or by judging it as bad or unwanted or inferior, the greater that experience becomes a block to that other side.
By resisting experience, no matter what it is, you are pushing a door that opens inwards.
And it will only open inwards when you step back and let it open on its own.
In every moment there is perfection.
In every moment is the opportunity to discover all you ever wanted – all the love and peace and happiness and contentment and belonging and purpose all there for the taking right now!
But you never could see it before because you were too busy looking for it in all those jobs and careers and businesses and meetings and flights around the world!
You were so busy looking in one direction you didn’t even notice there was another place to look.
And now, in this time of slow-down, quiet and reflection, you might just have the chance to discover that other ‘place’.
So don’t squander this precious time. Use this time. Get quiet. Watch your experience. Listen to your quieter voice.
Get really, REALLY curious about where your experience of life is truly coming from.
Notice that the outside world has no effect on your moment-to-moment experience. Notice how little happiness and misery has to do with what is going on outside of you.
If you’re in self-isolation or lockdown and you’re bored, don’t reach for the remote control.
Instead, just sit. Be quiet. Allow yourself the indulgence of boredom. Don’t try and change it. Realise there is nothing to change.
Discover the magic on the other side of boredom.
Notice things. Listen to the hum of existence. Shut up that constant infernal thinking.
And in the midst of all this panic and horror and suffering, you might just receive the greatest gift of all – a glimpse of the infinite, of the truth behind this life, of the quiet truth, the magic that sits beneath all the fear and shouting of your rational mind.