These are the difficult times. When we can make a difference, to ourselves and others, by what we do in the moment.
What should we be doing?
There’s an old Zen saying, that if you don’t have time to meditate for thirty minutes, that’s exactly when you should meditate for an hour. For many of us, we now have time do actually do that. Maybe it’s not an hour in your case, maybe it’s twenty minutes instead of ten minutes. You’ve all heard the message on airplanes, to put on your oxygen mask first so you may help others? That’s what your meditation is for you, right now.
Whatever it is, it’s taking time to sit with your own feelings. Not to drown in them, but to sit and watch them, to understand them, to let them know you recognise them, to be their friend – or at least their companion.
We do this with all the questions we ask ourselves during our meditation. We sit. We breath. We notice any feelings that there are. Where is this feeling in the body – is it in my stomach? My head? (where exactly in your head?) My hands, my feet? How does it feel – hot, cold, tight, heavy, burning, freezing? How does it change over a few minutes?
We don’t seek to change our feelings. We seek to understand them. And to remind ourselves they don’t own us. They are part of us, but they need not be all of us. We can see them, acknowledge them, and sit with them.
And we help others. This isn’t a crisis at the individual level, it’s a crisis at the level of society – or even at the level of us as humankind. It’s time to step up, as human beings. The time may come when it’s right for us to think about the broader implications of this, of what we’ve done to the planet that allowed this to happen. But right now, today, this minute, your family, or your friend, or your neighbour, they need your help. Reach out to the vulnerable people you know, and do all you can.
And stay safe, so that you may help others stay safe.