An opportunity for Powerful Spiritual Transformation
How we are feeling as a result of the stay-at-home and lock-down orders during the COVID-19 crisis is totally understandable and predictable. But we can also choose to spend the time to grow spiritually. Here's how.
For some, fear is the overriding emotion—fear of the unknown, fear of running out of money, fear of losing our homes, fear of becoming sick when there is no known cure, and ultimately, fear of death.
For others, it is anger. We are angry because we are not used to not being in control. After all, our lives are always in control (or so we believe). We have worked very hard to show to the world just how in control of our lives we really are. Nothing is going to interfere with that. We are now angry because we do not like being told what to do—we resent having to conform and comply to another’s rules and regulations. This anger may present itself as bravado, as bullying, or even as laughing in the face of adversity. Actually, we feel powerless.
And for some, it may be frustration. Frustration at the slow pace of progress over what we believe they knew to be an impending crisis all along. We may pace up and down telling anyone who is interested in listening we were right all along. “I knew this was going to happen”, we declare. Even if someone else is not interested in listening to our frustrations, we are determined they are going to hear them. Our frustration becomes their frustration—and we feel vindicated for our behavior.
Then there are those who are in denial. “This crisis is blown out of all proportion,” we declare to no-one in particular. We believe we know better and make sure others also know we believe this. We are easy to identify—we are the ones being driven by ego, we are highly insensitive to the needs, fears and anxieties of others. We are right, you (and the rest of the world) are wrong.
And finally, we come to the group of people who recognize this crisis is playing out exactly as it needs to. We are in a place of inner-peace, and in that place of stillness we find freedom. While we empathize fully with what others are going through, from a place of unconditional love for all there is, we understand there is nothing we can do other than be guided by the advice of the medical and scientific experts, while also going within and following our inner guidance. We therefore do not buy into the crescendo of opinions, attitudes and noises around us.
Likely, we are each some combination of these states-of-being. Exactly where we find ourselves in any moment is an indication of how much inner work we each still need to do. Different external stimuli will trigger us in different ways. The person who lives an isolated life with no social media accounts, nor watches any TV or listens to radios or podcasts, will navigate this crisis in a far different way to those of us who are uber-plugged into the craziness of information overload.
So how DO you navigate this moment?
In my book Your Return to Freedom: A practical Guide for Finding Lasting Inner Peace, my Guides presented the Path to Freedom Model(c). Each of the above emotional states is shown on the model. Once you identify with an emotional state—and are totally honest with yourself—you can plot where you are on the model.
Try doing this on the diagram below. It is easy.
Most of us will likely find ourselves in the third Quadrant. This is the place where we feel totally controlled by rules-based conformance and compliance (on the very left of the model), while at the same time feeling socially isolated from others.
Quadrant 3 is the place of the Matrix. Breaking the rules has consequences, so we are told. The world is becoming increasingly meaningless (very bottom of the model).
Lock-downs and stay-at-home orders are highlighting our existence in Quadrant 3. Before now, the control others had over us has been subtle. It no longer is. We are being fully confronted by how we have given up our independence and liberation (which is positioned on the far right of the model) to these man-made rules and regulations. And we are held there through fear—fear of consequences should we challenge these rules, no matter who makes them.
Furthermore, the social isolation we are now facing is throwing up just how separated we have become for own sense of who we are as interconnected beings. We keep on being told we are all one with God— we are God—but society has been engineered to separate us from this Truth. Religious institutions, which are reliant upon social gatherings to earn their money, are the guiltiest at doing this, and are also now the most vulnerable by having perpetuated this behavior. Virtual churches do not need massive real estate holdings.
This separation from who we are really are as spiritual beings having a human experience, in a time of social isolation results in meaninglessness (the bottom of the model).
Who Am I?
In our current imposed isolation, we are being forced to reassess who we really are. It is becoming abundantly clear we are not used to being with just with ourselves. The Internet is struggling to cope with the demands upon its bandwidth right now as we desperately attempt to remain connected with others.
Whatever happened to the inner connection to God within, or Spirit, or whatever you wish to call this sense of there being something greater than ourselves? Have we been told to believe one thing, but then behave in a way totally contrary to that?
The Path to Freedom Model(c) predicts a crisis far larger than the Coronavirus is in the making. Society as a whole is about to go through a collective breakdown. This is not all bad, provided you are aware it is coming, and you are prepared for it. This is the natural consequence of moving out of Quadrants 3 and 4 of the Path to Freedom Model(c) and back into Quadrant 1, the place where inner-peace and ultimately freedom is to be found.
We are about to Experience Spiritual Emergence
We cannot have breakthrough without first navigating a breakdown. Spiritual crisis leads to spiritual emergence. It is time we emerged as spiritual beings. However, as the butterfly emerging from the cocoon reminds us, this is not always a comfortable process. Now is the time to become that beautiful butterfly ready to emerge from the period of darkness—no matter how uncomfortable that may feel for you right now.
But we also have choices. We can slide backwards into resentment and anger and break all the rules and say, “Screw it, no one is going to tell me how to behave! I am going to socialize just as I want!” This has consequences far greater than just one’s own emotional melt-down.
Or we can instead find that place of inner-peace in this time of imposed self-isolation and recognize that not all rules and regulations are for the bad--we are not victims to what is going on around us, unless we wish to believe we are. This is called free-will and is a uniquely human trait. Animals do not possess it.
In this instance, we can go into a place I call healthy ambivalence, acknowledge that we are all interconnected, and accept that my reaction to the virus and its subsequent societal demands is totally within my control.
On the other hand, I can choose to fight it angrily as I feel I am being victimized, or I can go into fear-based isolation, or I can project bluster and false-bravado onto the world as my sense of self-importance is desperately needing to be fed, or I can simply pick up a book I have been meaning to read the past two years, relax into a comfortable chair with a hot cup of tea and thank the virus for slowing my world down.
I can also take a walk in my garden and reconnect with the beautiful flowers and trees, gaze at an ant scurrying about its virus-free business, lie on my back on the grass as I did as a child and watch the clouds drift by and take stock of how amazing my life really is. As I am fortunate enough to have an ocean view, I can watch the ripples on the water, in the deep knowledge they are ambivalent to man-made rules and regulations. They just ARE. They live in the very top of the Path to Freedom Model(c). They are interconnected to all there is.
What will You choose?
I can be like the ripples on the water, or I can be miserable. Only I can make that decision. I know which I would rather be. How about you?
Meet the Author
Nigel B. Patterson was born in Tanzania, Africa and has lived in four countries across three continents. A significant life-crisis at the age of thirty-five shattered his carefully constructed ego-based self, and propelled him onto the path of the spiritual warrior. Today he is an author, coach and spiritual teacher living in Hawaii. He supports clients around the globe in their quest for freedom.