And it doesn’t mean that finding this core of inner imagination and resiliency means that the world doesn’t continue to be in a dark place. It does mean that as this great crisis and great sorrow washes through the world, we can learn to find ourselves again and again, and learn that the inner star that used to be called the light inside the soul, the light found in the depths of darkness, does not simply run out of energy and lose its brightness, because it is secretly connected to something divine. I’m not talking in religious terms, I’m talking in the old language of spirit and soul and saying what so many old stories say, that we are each secretly connected to something divine and to the dream of the world, which must take a new shape again, as it has done many times. — Michael Meade
“It has become necessary for collective humanity to gain a more conscious awareness of the psychological fact that we’re all in this together and that we are all in uncharted territory. That is what the climate crisis says to us and the coronavirus may be saying in its own sad way: that we all affect each other and that one person can actually affect everyone else.” — Michael Meade
“Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still
for once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for a second,
and not move our arms so much.
It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.”
Fragment of a poem by Pablo Neruda
Now is a good time to stop and see the beauty of the world we live in. There hasn’t been a better time for decades. We all have the ability to notice the prodigious beauties of our surroundings, though we may not be poets or artists. Surviving this time requires slowing down and not talking so much, as Neruda says. Our culture is extroverted, full of noise and fury. We are chatterboxes without much depth. We move, we talk, we create even, without much to contribute to the experience of being alive. We believe in positivity. We push the darkness of the world away. We hide from death, as if that will save us from the shock of knowing we are only briefly manifest in our present form. We cling to our speedboat of a lifestyle as we skim the waters of our lives. Underneath though, is a whole world alive inside us, unsuspected and undeveloped.
Those who notice this and speak of it, like Neruda, are not understood. They seem to be speaking in tongues.
But here we are, extroverts by nature or persuasion, caught in a moment that demands another way of functioning. This moment asks a somnolent part of us to wake up and notice the beauty we are part of. It’s a terrible beauty, an unforgiving beauty, that requires attention, devotion, acquiescence, partnership, respect and love. At the moment the human race is not capable of all that. It will have to grow into it.
We need a healthy pause in our rush of getting and keeping. We need to grow quiet, we need to learn to appreciate silence, not-doing, living in the present, paying attention to the river of words and emotions flowing through us.
So, let us stop our unquestioned busyness. Let’s learn to attend to the essentials which have nothing to do with competition or the figure we cut in society. Some of us welcome this enforced quiet time. We can finally be ourselves. Others will strain and struggle against the silence and slow pace of this way of living. They’ll be tapping their feet until it’s over.
I feel I have an unfair advantage in this situation. I’ve been living like a quasi hermit for more than half a century. But this is the first time in my life that I seem to be in sync with the outer world. I’ve always felt offended by the commotion of the world, so yes, of course I’m quite happy to preach slow living. I do understand though that some folks need more camaraderie than I do. It just seems obvious to my mind that the masses of souls living their daily lives do so with blinders on.
The world wants and needs to be loved. If we can’t see and care about this creation, we won’t be able to keep living in it, that much seems obvious. It’s simple spirituality, but it’s also simple logic.
Now’s our chance. Let’s not waste it.
- Anima Fire is my publication