The world is trying to open back up for business. People are venturing out as the strict lockdown is being lifted. This is the perfect time for self reflection. Below are four questions designed to un-coach you into a better life.
When the lockdown began I posted “5 ways to avoid squandering the pandemic.” That post reached over 25,000 people with the challenge of not wasting this time, but using it to go deeper in relationship, manage fear, and create something for the world. So, how did you do? Are you opening up along with the world?
- What was your deepest revelation about your self or your life that occurred during this time?
Can we perceive the difference between skimming the surface of life and actually living it intentionally, consciously connected to everything and everyone around? Were we able to sit still and be quiet? Or did we flood our boredom with any sort of distraction or filler that would pacify us? Were we able to see ourselves avoiding solitude?
My revelation was how the wavelength of Divine Flow was/is dramatically altered. The peaks and valleys seem much higher and deeper now. I could perceive the global collective for the first time and it brought me into solidarity with with many experiences of suffering and beauty. Said another way, God felt so much closer and farther than ever. At times the severity and proximity would both move me to tears. As deep gratitude, anxiety, and anger reverberated off my life, it became so vivid as I watched the world react and retreat or avoid such experiences of the transcendent.
It took tremendous intention to sit with these redshift and blueshift emotions and I’ve given my life to this spiritual pursuit. How many in our world simply can not bear to scratch the surface of the reality beyond our reality? The life that avoids this deeper reality is fixed on the puppet show that parades unceasingly in front of us. Seeing just how dark this darkness is has altered how I pray.
2. What did you learn about trust?
The last two months have been a non-stop thirst for information. Our media machines kicked into overdrive to serve a captive audience a diet of fact and fiction. Preying on our suspicions, news and information can become the most addictive content at a time when we desperately want to know what is going to happen to us. In order to hold our attention, our world loves to turn to science as if it has the most trustworthy answers. While that may be the case, when good science is performed, that hasn’t been the case on either side of our politically manipulated feeds. Both sides abuse the data to ignite peoples passions and pit us against one another.
I’ve always had a distrust of all government, politicians, corporate giants, the media, and most anecdotes on social media. My belief is that Satan is incarnated through institutional power. This pandemic has reinforced my belief. None of this is ultimate truth. No amount of information about a virus, it’s symptoms, it’s spread, nor the economy will quell the deeper existential question of “Who am I? or “What happens if I die?”
These are bigger questions imbedded deep within every one of us. “What will be left of our world? Will I get to do the things I wanted to do? Have I said and done all the things I need to say and do?” Resoundingly, the answer for most people is “NO!” Yet, rather than take action based on this sobering reality, I’m observing how people prefer avoidance and how many will blindly trust the talking heads in the big puppet show.
I have learned to trust at a deeper level, the voice of God as it shines through sacred text and sacred space. When our life is no longer wrapped up in our career, our family, our health or our ego pursuits, (now that many are losing such things) that which is left becomes free from manipulation and gains the eyes that so-called “science” and the feeding bin for the serfs have never perceived. That’s what I trust. The Gospel continues to reveal our slavery and offer freedom.
3. What did you do with your fear?
Despite the fact that over 99% of people survive a Covid infection, we do not have only 1% of us fearing death or complications. Again, the propaganda machine has created such fear and so much policy around this fear that the world is deeply struggling with what to do with all the fear.
- Some of us hide hoping it will go away and leave them alone. They hope to come out of their bunker when the world is healthy again. Dream on.
- Some of us turn fear into a generalized anxiety and distrust of everyone and everything. We cling to our face mask like a security blanket as we become a new generation of germaphobes. Our fear is creating an us-vs-them mentality that may never be overcome. In this case, fear has already won.
- Some of us turn or fear outward as we go into attack mode. Fear produces flight or fight and some of us are not the type to run. So we puff up our chests and convince ourselves that bravery means we aren’t afraid. There is a fine line between the nobility of not being afraid to die, and the foolishness of taking unnecessary risks which harm others. Trying to overpower a power or oppress the oppressor is always the result of fear.
I spent much time joining and feeling my fear, naming specifically that which scared me. It always came down to losing some aspect of my life. Fear showed me how selfish I really am. Fear shows how I, just like everyone else, am consumed with my own self-interests. Once named, I surrendered the outcome. I let go of what may come, and when I did, fear lifted and my lightness of soul returned. I step into right now without fear, but I respect what is happening. I do my part to protect myself and others, but I go out in life knowing this virus, like anything else I do, may end my life. I’m as ok with that now as I can be.
4. Did this time bring out the best or worst of you?
I don’t need to expand on this. Deep within all of us, we know if we are wasting our time. We all waste some of our time, but some of us live more disciplined than others. The issue is, did the pandemic bring out our best or our worst? Did we fix the relationship gaps that were unearthed by forced proximity? Did we accomplish anything? Did we get healthier and in shape or did our health deteriorate? Did we look to food and drink for comfort or for life? When our church closed down did our spirituality suffer or get better? Did our self-talk diminish or rebuild us?
The answer always comes back to our level of conscious awareness. If we sleep walk through life, then we are slaves to our appetites and impulses and then we miss or squander opportunities. If we live in high conscious engagement, we make daily incremental progress toward the life which inspires us.
Look, I know how hard this is. I wanted to finish my book which I started in 2013. While I made progress, I missed my goal. I hope as we go back to our lives, these questions will allow us to realize its never too late to wake up and live intentionally, spiritually, and integrated. If you blew the the last two months, don’t blow the next two. Let us stop the wrong things right now and make incremental changes until our life becomes clear again. I’ll be here to poke and prod us all into this luminal space, but ultimately its up to each of us. My hope and prayer is for more and more of us to take the spiritual life seriously and to be transformed by the flow of God in our lives.
“There is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18)
Let’s not re-enter the world waiting for everyone else to calm our fears and make things better. We do not need a company or government to give us a life, we have one which will emerge if we will surrender the outcomes of it and serve others. Losing our life is how we find it. Let’s focus on doing the right thing, in love, and not live under the tyranny of fear.
Then, what ever is left of our life and world will at least be free.