Spiritual Opportunity During COVID-19
All of my life, almost 60 years, I’ve experienced people as social, active, producing and reactive machines. All of us can relate to the experience of being less than conscious about relationships, connectedness and awareness of ourselves in this dynamic universe. This “sleepiness” can last for decades, while we meet career and financial goals, start a family, move within a certain routine of daily living, but without much positioning of self-learning and appreciation of the current moment. Self-inquiry and spiritual discovery are left to those in therapy, in the seminaries, philosophers and possibly those individuals at the end of their life. Our restlessness keeps us from stopping, on purpose, and reflect on ourselves.
When I was a Jesuit back in the 90’s, I participated in a 30-day silent retreat called The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. This experience is part of the training of each Jesuit. It was a beautiful setting in the middle of winter. I remained in the retreat center the whole time, other than taking solo walks along the rocky coast of Gloucester, MA. More than the setting, what I found beautiful was the opportunity to silently pursue discovery about myself, my life at that time and my relationship with a Consciousness greater than me. I remember listening to cassette tapes of Thomas Merton speaking to the Trappist novices at Gethsemani monastery. I was also a novice and felt Fr. Merton was speaking to me at the time. I believe that experience of being “sheltered at home” was a good foundation for me to be able to access that space inside myself.
Here I am 25 years later, sheltered at home for different reasons, and still the same spiritual opportunity to check-in with my true self, the awareness that I am part of this greater Consciousness and order in the universe. My daily routines have stopped; less interested in outside goals and outcomes, financial goals and scheduled events for the near future. I’m taking this opportunity to remind myself of my experience as a Jesuit novice on retreat and taking time to cultivate an awareness of a more authentic way of living, first within myself, then with those loved ones and finally with the whole of humanity, which is intrinsically connected.
Find Yourself; Take a Spiritual Journey
I am hoping each of us can take this time that we have been forced to stop the doings of life, the space of sleepiness, and wake into an inner space, that has been waiting for us to calm ourselves towards its immense love and compassion for each of us, like a mother’s love times infinity!
Please join me in a personal spiritual journey of self discovery during this unique opportunity to stop, pause and be awake! Turn your worries and fears into acceptance and joyful learning about what has always been present in our lives and the lives around us. At the same time, we can be compassionate and spiritually aware of those suffering at this time, whether it be through the loss of loved ones by the COVID-19 virus, or living in a space of fear and catastrophsizing an already difficult time.
If you would like to reach out and share your comments, please reach out to me through Linkedin, or at [email protected] Thank you for taking the time to read my post. Take good care and Aloha to All!
William J. Heran, Ph.D., LCSW, SAP CEO/Co-Founder Providence Treatment Philadelphia, PA