‘Welcome to the unknown’
Everyone expressed a level of anxiety and sadness when it came to the isolation we find ourselves in. It brought to attention the empty space in which we are confronted with ourselves and the inner world, as well as our senses taking in the world around us.
One human mentioned their level of observation of self increase as they noticed themselves rushing around but with no destination in mind, only the habit from the past way of being residually playing out without the tangible need to do so.
We have space to really absorb the present moment and bring forth questions that have been longing for an answer. With very little to distract ourselves from contemplating life and what we are doing with this precious time.
As brought forth in the conversation, it was said that Shakespeare wrote King Lear in isolation whilst the plague had taken hold of the city. Perhaps it’s time for us to work on our great works? Or is this another distraction from simply being with one’s self and nature?
We are recovering from our busy-ness whilst being bombarded with anxiety around the covid-19 crisis, through the news or through conversations with others. How do we deal with this anxiety? Is this the beginning of the collective turning inwards to sooth the chaotic inner world as the distractions from the outer world fade to a certain degree?
Is this the opportunity within this great reset?
What will come from this opportunity?
The news and the constantly changing rules leading to more restrictions on our lives is leading to a growing rebelliousness. How much do we respond from the space of rebelliousness to assert our freedoms? Is this complacent and dangerous to the greater community?
What is getting in the way of seeing the opportunity of the unknown?
Fear and anxiety induced by the media, by losing jobs, plans being cancelled and the future being uncertain. Perhaps this fear and anxiety is the relationship we currently have with the unknown, and due to the previous way of being giving us confidence in a relatively or delusional predictive future we are left with the unknown and the fear and anxiety it induces.
With reflex fixing mentality we wish to quickly rid ourselves of this uncomfortable bodily state, yet our reliable tools, like socialising, being productive at work, dating, going on and planning trips are not readily accessible we are forced to either understand this reaction or develop different tools.
One human said that mentally distancing themselves from making an opinion or forming a story around it helps lower their fear and anxiety. Yet have also created a story that induces a trust that everyone is doing their best to contribute to working through this crisis.
Another tool is to focus upon the sensations of the body and allow the entire process run through our systems without adding any meaning to the sensations or emotions. Giving ourselves permission to feel outside of a ‘right or wrong’ judgement, outside of story.
One human referred to these sensations and fears as a confrontation with the shadow that has been calling for our attention for a lot of our lives, waiting for a moment to be acknowledged and accepted. Humans go to great lengths to distract themselves from confronting the shadow.
“The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognising the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.”
— Carl Jung, Aion (1951)
As our career identities are left behind and we are faced with the repressed aspects of ourself we ask ourselves: Who are we?
One human continued with this asking, who are we without the pace that has been dictated to us, without societal norms that have lead to further disconnection.
‘We can’t love at the pace we are moving, we can’t parent at the pace we are moving.’
— Helena Nordberg-Hodge.
We have time now to serve one another, have deeper more meaningful conversations saturated with a deep listening and desire to understand. Not only does the space allow for this but the collective vulnerable state induces an authentic engagement and empathy. Connecting this with ,the shadow aspects we are confronted with, one human mentioned we have more capacity for relationship the more we seek to understand ourselves and have compassion, curiosity and empathy for the totality of our being.
A participant shared their experience of having the virus and what it was like to carry something that could potentially kill another person. The way in which this person spoke reflected the deep journey she had been through in her quarantined isolation. In the aftermath this participant mentioned her desire to experience life in its full intensity rather than a numbed adult reasonable state of being.
We are not what we do.
The world is not what we know.
The communities that give us our identities and sense of belonging are restricted and are no longer big influences. In response to this one human said it is an ego death and birth. How do we be intentional and deliberate with our new identities?
The conversation then went into the human nature of striving towards a spiritual goal and questions arose as to whether this is also an attempt to escape our humanness, ambiguity and the unknown. Are we the authors of our lives?
In discussion with people outside of the group many people had told me that they are stoked to be made redundant because they have been meaning to quit for quite some time now. A participant joined in on this theme and affirmed that they wanted to figure out what was next in order to create a lifeboat across the unknown.
Perhaps we cannot see what’s next when have something already taking its place? Perhaps we need the space and the unknown for the next calling to drop in?
A human mentioned Joe Dispenza calling this existential period as ‘crossing the river’.
The searching, thinking, the known can block the present insights to aid us in our journey forwards.
Embrace the nobody you are in the unknown world. Observe who you are becoming and know that it is going to be perfect.
Jung, C. 1979. AION: researches into the phenomenology of the self. Princeton University Press.
Nordberg-Hodge, H. In conversation with participant. 2020