We are being asked to shelter in place until the Coronavirus winds its way out. We have no idea just when that will take place, or if it will return again.
In the meantime we can use our quarantine experience for a higher purpose than just being forced into isolation and trying to survive each day.
We can make our homes a place of spiritual retreat.
A wild idea we might say, but let’s consider the possibilities. This time of enforced physical distancing can be a time to look within, to reflect on what is taking place within our mind.
Perhaps we have been engaged in “doing” for so long that we have lost sight of the truth that we are human beings—not human doings.
Often I go on silent retreats at Buddhist centers. The retreats allow me to let go of the many distractions in my usual way of living. Silent meditation is a way of awareness training so that we become aware of what the mind—our mind—is doing.
The mind is the place in which we can make changes, for everything begins in mind. Mind has many definitions. I believe “Mind” is another name for God.
We also have our own mind that belongs to us, but is connected with all minds, Yet it seems to be independent within us. But is it? Who can say? Quantum physics is showing us something very different.
In silence we have time to reflect and to open to spiritual guidance to help us sort out our priorities and move towards peace and joy.
Our minds are powerful. As we look within we begin to see what motivates us. We discover many of the habitual ways of looking at ourselves and the world that cause our suffering.
There is an old proverb, “Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.”
How true this is!
The Buddha taught the Eight fold path to relieve suffering. Skillful view is the first edict of the path.
We learn to allow both pain and suffering to be our teachers by revealing our habitual ways of seeing.
Our viewpoint each moment leads us in its direction.
Our body follows the path our eyes take us.
Do you remember learning to ride a bike? Besides learning how to balance ourselves on the bicycle we found we went where our eyes looked. If we didn’t want to hit the tree we avoided looking at it. We kept our eyes on the path we wanted to go.
At a retreat we notice where we have hit the obstacles in our lives because we have been looking at them and following without question. They have become habits. We begin inquiring into these habits, questioning their validity.
Through this process we reclaim our power to move towards our destiny instead of succumbing to fate.
We discover that nothing happens to us, but through us, depending on the choices we make.
Fate is what happens when we are habitually unconscious and unaware. Destiny occurs as we set a course that allows us to express our authenticity. We head in the direction that we desire to go.
Fate and destiny cross at the intersection of choice. Will we carefully choose our thoughts and attitudes, or will we simply react to what is happening? How will we respond?
We are simply being reactive when we mindlessly walk down the same old path as if we were robots, which lead us into the same old problems and situations that cause suffering.
Responding instead of reacting to each moment as it arises bring a new sense of freedom and joy within us.
Let us claim the sacred place of our home to help us become mindful of our choices.
We have very little control of what happens, but we have the amazing power of choice! Let’s use to be mindful of our thoughts, emotions, words and deeds.
For each thought either leads us into a life of joy or a life of sorrow and dissatisfaction.
Which will it be?
It is our destiny to choose freedom and take the steps that lead to liberation. Let this become a habit!
Let’s make time for spiritual retreats.