NAVIGATING TURBULENT TIMES
Ten suggestions for navigating turbulent times: I am interested in the following list by Carolyn Baker and Andrew Harvey (1). They are not from my tradition, but I find their thoughts relevant and challenging. They prompt me to wonder what my list would be. Their book, which I will review in a later post, was published in the USA in 2020, a little before the November elections.
“1. Stay Safe: wear masks when you are outside, continue social distancing as much as possible, and listen carefully to the scientists who are telling us we are in the middle of a second wave of the pandemic. Shun all large gatherings and rallies and find other ways to protest which can be just as effective.
“2. Take special care of your health and keep your body vibrant with exercise and good nutrition. The psychological and emotional demands of unfolding crises will be far more effectively sustained with a healthy body.
“3. Whatever your spiritual practice, plunge more deeply than ever into it. It is essential to pursue realization of your true Self with more faith and intensity in these exploding times than ever before.
“4. Fill your life with inspiration and beauty. Inspiration will keep your heart buoyant and alive, and beauty will remind you of the magnificence of life and fill you with the energy to want to safeguard it.
“5. If you can, spend 20 minutes in nature per day, experiencing your oneness with it and drinking in through every pore its steadiness and radiance. Allow yourself to become intimate with the Earth.
“6. Stay aware of how the pandemic and environmental crises are evolving. There is no security in denial or ignorance. Learn, however, to pace yourself because the ferocious information you will be taking in can become overwhelming.
“7. Take time to grieve. No one will escape heartbreak in a time such as this, and not attending to the suffering of the heart that inevitably rises in the face of so much destruction will lead to severe depression or a kind of inner deadness that makes it impossible to respond creatively. Get support from others who are also grieving alone, and there is no need to be alone in a crisis that is now global.
“8. Renew old friendships and relish and deepen the ones you have you have because everything now depends on the sanity and joy that only deep friendship and relationship can provide, Take special care and lavish special love on your animal companions, and they will reward you with their tender and miraculous love.
“9. Despite being mostly in lockdown, make an effort to practice Sacred Activism by giving wisely to those in need. Foodbanks need support as do healthcare workers and the homeless who are afraid of going to shelters because they are Petri dishes for the virus. If you are able to assist those in prison by standing up for their rights, or by encouraging them in any way, do so. Take seriously your right to vote, for everything depends throughout the world on turning back the tide of dark money-financed authoritarianism.
“10. Use this book as a way of training your inner eyes to see and celebrate the signs of the Birth of a new humanity that are rising everywhere amidst the obviously apocalyptic death. Note the heroism of extraordinary/ordinary people globally who are turning up to serve the sick and dying. Note the heroism of protestors after the horrific death of George Floyd. Read great evolutionary philosophers and mystics like Sri Aurobindo, Teilhard de Chardin, Bede Griffiths, Satprem, Teresa of Avila, Hildegard of Bingen, and Julian of Norwich, and those who speak of the global dark night, giving birth potentially to an embodied divine humanity.”
(1) Carolyn Baker & Andrew Harvey Radical Regeneration: Birthing the New Human in the Age of Extinction Bloomington, IN: iUniverse, 2020