We work with having equanimity, being calm, staying present.
But how do we work with the pain and suffering that is in the nature of the pandemic, that perhaps strikes home.
My daughter Hannah’s husbands brother Bahi has the virus. Just out of hospital with double pneumonia. Because his respiration is ok and he didn’t need a ventilator, he is home with pneumonia in both lungs. Everyone I know in New York knows someone who has this, or who has passed on from it.
Passover Seder on Zoom with all my family from four different locations. Strange times indeed!
The ‘new normal’, the uncertain future, being in lock down over time, are all difficult to deal with.
How can we work with our suffering? We have to bear what is in front of us, what is going on within us. I have to see and be with myself, see how my energy informs and allows another part within to become active.
As Madame says,
“I suffer from my lack, my incapacity. I struggle to stay in front, not to prevail, but to observe the constant changes in myself. With this staying, an energy of a higher quality develops, a more conscious attention. A new feeling appears when the conditions of suffering are accepted, even wished for. I accept my powerlessness and I suffer. In this staying in front of my insufficiency the energy intensifies and becomes an active force that obliges the passive force to obey.”
We have to be with our suffering, grief, allow it to flow. It connects us to a deeper part of our self. To a softer, less egoistic side.
There is a saying that if the heart is broken, it is also broken open. Our world isn’t shrinking, our self is.
We are in a time of mystery and solidarity. The mystery of suffering is unanswerable, but allowing the suffering and pain to lessen the hold of our egoism and self is important.
Meaning is more than telling stories about how good came from some grave evil. People see suffering as punishment, as a judgment on a nation or society, as an opportunity, as part of a story not our own.
We can interpret the present moment, not just endure or escape from it. If we simply seek to pass through all this in hasty expectation of a return to normal, perhaps we are missing the fundamental point.
What ultimately is our Aim. Survival yes, but more. Who am I, what is the meaning of my life, of life on earth, how can our pain and suffering bring us closer to our true self. We have to make sure we are transformed, not just informed.