Spiritual lessons from Covid-19

antonia rapheal spirituality

No this isn’t about how Covdi-19 is the Earth’s reset button, a force majeure designed to make us give up all our outdated belief systems. This is about me, about my journey with my sneaky best friend, a three-letter word called ego.

See I envy people who aren’t bothered about evolving spiritually because they continue to live in a universe where they are never at fault and hence have nothing to be ashamed of. For wretched people like me, we end up having to take responsibility for our actions, inactions, thoughts, beliefs, and even pandemics.

There are many spiritual traps that befall a novice seeker like me. We tend to spend our days meditating, clearing our belief systems, being aware of our thoughts, dealing with the negative emotions that we end up creating a cacoon of positivity. Our energetic world drives away toxic people and stressful situations, so intuned are we to life around us that well a bad day is when we skip the 45 min meditation and substitute it with a 20 min stand-in.

Growth however does not come amidst rainbows and finding fluffy bird feathers on your path. It comes when your pride raises its ugly head from the depths of repressed emotions and when your ego takes control over your tongue to spit venom that was buried in layers of unresolved hurt and traumatic memories.

So as a committed seeker when you have surrounded yourself with amazing friends, supportive co-workers, a great roommate, engaged in work that is fulfilling and rewarding living in a city that is rated as the coolest place to be, well it isn’t surprising that it takes Covid-19 to shake you up. You find yourself in your parents’ home at the mercy of your controlling dad reliving the scenes of your teenage years. Those very memories that you had ripped out of your mind and pretended never happened are replayed while you sit strapped and unable to run or even look away.

But, you’re older now, its been 20 years, you’re wiser, more evolved and its only a 30 day lockdown. You breathe in and say, I’m better than this, this too shall pass, only 29 more. You get to ‘only 5 more‘, and you smile, proud that you held your own, happy that you did not crumble, and check the news. They have extended it to another 30 days and then another 30 days. This goes on until its day 80 and the cracks have appeared, steam has been venting off from deep fissures of long-forgotten pain and abuse. You cry out, what will it take for this to be resolved? This slow-burn has been excruciating, like rip the bandaid already.

Then one day you argue about something meaningless and trivial and you watch in horror as the venom comes out. I was never good-enough so I stopped trying ages ago, its time you wake up to the fact that your opinion really doesn’t matter because you don’t. For the first few hours, you’re seething with self-righteous rage, your ego tells you that its the truth and you don’t need to apologize for speaking your truth. It’s been 80 days of pure hell, constantly barraged with snide comments about your decisions, your life, your life choices, your financial status, your spiritual path, your dressing, your looks, your eating habits, your intellect, and the list goes on.

It’s when you smile inwardly at the peace that you have finally found that it hits you. You’re no different than him, all those years promising to never be like him and doing everything that you can not to and you’ve ended up exactly like him. Down to the last venom dripped syllable that is meant to hurt and humiliate. You sit in shock, unable to process the pain of that realization and decide that once the lock-down is over you’re out like a bolt of lightning. They extend it once more apparently the area you live in is a high transmission point.

You sit and you meditate, you lift the facade of an evolved being and look at the monsters lurking in the dark recesses of your soul. The hurt child only wants to let out her scream so she can be heard, the humiliated teen only wants to be acknowledged and loved, and the confused young adult is so scared of being hurt that she just wants to run away. I sit in shock as I realize that every decision I have made has been the result of the silent screams of these fractured identities within me.

The perfect world I had created was by running away from everything painful. I had never learned to resolve differences, I did not know how to stand up for what I believed in without making it ugly. I had grown up under a bully so I knew only two ways, the victim or the aggressor. Wanting to be neither I avoided all messy situations, bailing out before the conflicts set in. When I found myself locked in and unable to flee it got ugly and I’d pack up and leave. I realized I was running not from the people but from what would surface from deep within me.

I always threw myself into my work and was relentless, earning the title of superhuman, I told myself it was because I was passionate. Turns out it was that misunderstood, unloved teen who only found self-worth from hard work. I had no identity or rather was scared that it wouldn’t be enough to be even liked, let alone loved.

I was obsessed with personal development because deep-rooted within me was the belief that I was broken, and that confused young adult in me thought that just maybe if I fix myself everything will be OK. The desire to be loved, accepted, and safe had driven me to create the life that I had. Empty, pointless and shallow. I have learned so much and still have layers to peel but at least I am finally friends with the monsters that lurk inside me.

I’m not saying that all my decisions were wrong or right, just that they stemmed from a hidden agenda of unresolved pain and hurt. Everything I knew about myself, all the beliefs that I had amassed, all my principles came from a fractured soul. The truth is its OK to be broken, unpolished, rough on the edges, ugly in a few places, I am a work of art, we all are. This obsession to be perfect and beautiful is a flawed concept. We all have lofty ideals for the perfect human, but trust me when I say this, even God by human standards falls short.

Its when we go through those moments that break us, that our true identity shines through. If it weren’t for the darkness of the night sky, how ever would we see the stars? It is when you are bullied that you learn to stand up for yourself. It is when you are humiliated that you learn that your self worth does not come from others. It is when you are faced with insurmountable difficulties that you learn resourcefulness. It is against the wind that a kite learns to fly, you need the winds of resistance if you wish to soar.

Kintsugi, the Japanese philosophy of embracing flaws and imperfections, is the art of fixing broken pieces of pottery with gold to create a stunning masterpiece. The broken pieces of our soul needs to be glued with the gold of acceptance and love. See, we were never meant to be perfect boring assembly line production of beings, we chose to be shattered through difficulties and trauma to bring out the glory of life with the glue of love.

The reality of life is that no matter what the world around you is showing you, the only truth is love. We are all one, yes even the people who hurt you, we are all here to help each other grow and evolve. Our greatest teachers are the ones who break us, humiliate us, try to crush us for by doing that they offer us a precious opportunity to grow and evolve. Like tuning forks, unless we share a similarity deep within us we would never respond or react the way we do when in their presence. They show us the ugliness inside of us and unless we embrace the dark side of our soul we are living only half a life.

While it is great to strive for all the positive qualities in life, it is naive of us to think that we can amass one without its polar opposite. If you strive for peace it is at the expense of hating war, if you strive for honesty it is only by loathing lies and when you are such an amalgamation of opposites how do you expect to be truly centered and blissful? There is a law of awareness that is similar to the double-slit experiment, the one where simple observation changes the end result. The mere act of being aware changes the outcome. By being aware of our dark side we stop our resistance to it and in that it loses its hold on us.

The purpose of everything and anything in life is to remind us to return to the source, like Neo in the matrix we need to embrace the darkness and find our way back. Life doesn’t happen to us, it is designed for us and by us. When someone forces us to carry heavy loads, we call it slavery but when we do it willingly its called a workout. Perspective is everything and the stories we tell ourselves determines the quality of our lives.

Let me know what you think, after all we think therefore we are.. alive?

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