We need to think of our emotions as a melody that stays in harmony by balancing the notes. No note is more important than another. Each note has a place in a healthy and happy life. Anger and Fear protect us by alerting us to life-threatening danger and activating fight or flight responses to those types of dangers. Anxiety provides an early warning system that receives information and decide how best to handle those situations – perhaps choosing to engage peacefully rather than attack or run. Grief lets us accept and mourn the inevitable losses that come with living.
Moments of joy come to us as inevitably as sunshine emerges from the clouds. In Italian the phrase il doce fa niente perfectly expresses the pure energy of Joy – “the sweetness of doing nothing.” To heal our hearts, calm our guts, and let Joy into our lives we truly need to do nothing. The empty mind meditators seek, is Joy.
This global moment of reflection has been a gift – a forced retreat. We have couched it in Fear, Anger, Anxiety, and Grief. All of those emotions have been present to greater or lesser extent depending on our circumstances. Fear of the unknown chief among them. None of us knows the next chapter, but we can’t let Fear douse the warmth and light of Joy in our lives.
We are busy creatures – no less than the ants and bees, constantly on the move, restructuring our surroundings. We pride ourselves on being the most sentient beings on this planet, and yet the more I observe the consciousness of the natural world the more convinced I become that indeed we are the least sentient beings on this planet.
It may not always have been so. It may not be true of all of us, but certainly the majority of us go through this life as close to zombies as we can get. I think our obsessions with dinosaurs (who went extinct), vampires (who suck the life out of others) and zombies (the living dead) serve as metaphors of what’s going on. The conscious universe sends us these metaphors so that we can begin to take stock – to become more sentient to our environment and our fellow travelers in space and time.
Even Covid 19 seems to have more sense than most of us. We needed a full stop to take stock. How many of us wished for a chance to get out of the “rat race”? We got it. Could Covid 19 be the law of attraction in practice?
Rather than simply see the virus as an enemy let’s take note of how many favors it has done for us – in addition to this forced time of reflection.
It came for us in the northern hemisphere at a time when we could begin planting food for what looks like a time of supply chain disruptions and economic hardship. What a gift!
It comes to us while we still have the ability to learn how to plant, bake bread, build shelters and all manner of important survival strategies that most of us forgot several generations ago.
It comes to us while we can still connect with loved ones who live far away. We have running water and refrigeration. We have had almost two months to take this in, to count our blessings and joys.
Last week we talked about making a gratitude list before getting out of bed. Let’s kick that up a notch. Start with gratitude and let it warm into Joy. We feel that in our hearts – a warmth in the chest. We like to think of our hearts as a pump – a machine – but that shows our lack of sentience. Our denial of consciousness. Let Joy warm us beyond the metal-machine model of our busy-ness, our illusion of control. Make a space for Joy by doing nothing. Il doce fa niente. Can you feel it?
Check out Tomos Roberts (a Kiwi filmmaker & poet) who has created a lovely bedtime story, “The Great Realisation.” Here he has imagined that more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.