Acceptance & Covid-19
These are very difficult times. Scary. Challenging. Covid-19, Coronavirus, pandemic - the very words are fear-producing. We have absolutely no control over what's happening at the moment, and our minds can easily produce fear, anxiety and panic. So here’s an antidote which I hope may help some of you.
I myself have been quite ill for over two weeks now, with reduced breathing, coughing and fatigue. I had no temperature though, which is on of the reasons I wasn't tested when I went to see the doc. (The other was that they had no test kits there anyhow !) As of today, I still have no idea of what I had was Covid-19. What I do know is that my immune system is compromised, and my breathing is not great, and so, I can easily find my mind spiralling into fear, because I'm not physically strong at the moment.
What I have found is that the best thing for me to do at the moment, is to ACCEPT WHAT IS. This allows me to at least have some control - of what's happening inside me. I cannot control the virus that’s sweeping the world. I cannot control the fear that’s sweeping the world. But I can control my response, so I've ramped up my daily practices ( yoga and meditation ), to support the two most important things in my life right now - my inner world, and this amazing living breathing body that I have.
There are many many ways to support your inner world. One of these is learning full and complete acceptance of "WHAT IS." In other words, reality is happening all the time, and our job is to accept it. Acceptance doesn’t mean that we like what’s happening right now. Obviously we don’t like it at all ! However, if we can move into seeing that acceptance is the only sane response to what’s happening, our nervous system becomes more relaxes, our para-sympathetic system is activated and our immune system strengthens.
This fear-based response to danger is a primal thing, and it’s wonderful that we have it. But it also produces lots of nasty chemicals designed to keep us tense, stressed, anxious, and on edge – all the time. What we’ve got to learn is to deactivate the fear response, because it damages our immune systems, and makes us more prone to the virus. So help yourself. Learn how to move out of the mind and into the body, which has its own wisdom. Join a mindfulness class online – I’ve joined a 14 day free half hour each morning – here.
Accept what’s happening, and find ways to switch off from it. Don’t obsess about it. Get off the news, get off social media. Take out a book. Read. Teach yourself how to play an instrument. Learn creative writing. Stretch. Meditate. Do Yoga Online. Use Insight Timer. Listen to some great uplifting talks on Ted.com. Watch your favourite Netflix series – again ! I’ve just started watching Breaking Bad – I hope it’s as good as the first time!
And sure, keep yourself up to date with what’s needed from you as a socially responsible adult. But, crucially, don’t feed the fear. Feed your inner world, and acknowledge what’s happening in the world. See it as an opportunity to recalibrate yourself in a positive way.
Our acknowledgment and acceptance of "what is" makes us truly human. Our willingness to admit our vulnerability and weaknesses is, paradoxically, our strength. It frees us up. The amazing power of Jesus came from his courage, his willingness to drop all defences, and to be vulnerable. What did he hold on to? Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nothing. That's not how most of us think, is it? We think acceptance is a cop out, because we are still delusional. We think we need to "hold on" rather than surrender.
This surrender is nothing to do with what you have, or how you try to control the circumstances of your life, by stockpiling assets, friends, or facebook likes! It's simply allowing yourself to be yourself just as you are in each moment. It took me a few years to trust the vulnerability of acceptance. But now it nurtures me and allows room for my weaknesses as well as my strengths. It allows room for others too, along with their weaknesses and strengths.
So I say to you today, breathe deeply. Breath in acceptance of what is - your confinement, your state of health, your financial situation. Your body. What you did in your life. What you didn’t do. Your age. Your circumstances.
Remember that reality is happening in ever second, over and over again. When your mind says NO to reality, you are cut off from the energy of life, the energy of Here and Now. You’re in your mind. And, as many of you know, the mind loves to fight, to disagree, to judge, to think. But as the Buddha said “Peace come from within. It does not come from without (outside).”
So, I invite you into acceptance. Again and again. Accept the now. It's all you have. And as you deepen your acceptance, peace arises. Sure you’ll find yourself, like me, triggered into fear timer and time again. But, once you’ve accessed this deeper place, this peace, this acceptance, you will return to it again and again.
May all being be well and at peace.