By Swan Michelle
Space, or ether, is a container. It is easy to forget it is there, but it has boundaries. Space holds the Universe in place. In a time of responsible and mandatory social distancing, it is important to remember space is not isolation, nor limitation. It is an activation of listening and an opportunity for greater freedom.
The earth is the largest boundary that we experience, yet it is really mostly made of space, as are humans. This is the space asked of us all at this time. It requires some tactic, daily regulation and boundary. I’ve found it that more than ever, beings are recognizing the importance of being connected to nature and outdoors, a part of this earth.
More articles are being written about our food as medicine, and it is being taken seriously. The elements are all our medicines, as those that practice Ayurveda know. This is nothing new, but we have often disconnected from nature’s nourishment. We are the trees, the ocean, the fresh air, the animals, and all o humanity. Is Mother earth is trying to connect with us as a precious Source?
“Let thy medicine be thy food and thy food be thy medicine.” -Socrates
Sickness, a form of separation, the opposite of yoga and the opposite of being connected to our Source, is a wake up call. The yogic texts state that if one being is left unconscious, we all are. It couldn’t be more clear now. If one person is sick, we are all sick to some extent, and it affects the collective whole. Within the element of ether or space, all of the elements, and all things reside. One person not well means all of us are not well.
The Universe is a unique and supremely intelligent system held in a specific container of unseen boundaries, of which are malleable, mysterious and unknown since we don’t have access to the whole picture. It can be easy to forget, while consumed by a narrow lens of fear, that we are held in a Universal order we may not always understand.
“Don’t yearn for the past. Don’t anticipate the future. It is important that you not be so overwhelmed.” -Ram Dass.
Leaping daily into life’s mystery requires more faith than perhaps we have ever experienced together as a collective in this life time. I am sure each personal apocalypse you had before you now see has in some way prepared you for this moment. It may have been that each “regular” day did not seem like much of a leap of faith either, being so predictable, but it was. All of this has always been uncertain and impermanent.
This moment in time will most certainly go down in history. How we respond right now to these vivid quantum leaps of change on a daily basis is everything. Defined steadiness is essential to our collective recovery. Discipline may seem inaccessible if we have’t already been implementing it, yet we all must, and we can enjoy it! Write a book, build your garden and cook at home. it can not be just some of us practicing boundaries, thinking we are somehow above playing by the rules of the game we are in now or it just won’t work.
Having a total lack of boundaries is disrespectful to the lives of others, which is not life affirming at all. Everything we do, think and say affects the collective. IT’s not just now that this is so. It just seems more obvious now. Even in the truth of mystery, we are asked to hold it all together. This is the musculature of active faith. We don’t really have the luxury of turning away from this global awakening.
As I began writing this, I was in Bali, the mystical island of sacred sounds, Gods and Hanuman, Sita, and Ram of the Ramayana. Bali itself is a name for Hanuman. There are giant statues of Ram and his bow everywhere, representing both being and protecting ethics as the highest aim and duty.
This 2020, the Leap Year day happened to be on the annual Balinese holiday of “Galungan”, around the time of “Holy” in India. This celebration is about “dharma’s” victory over “adharma.” Dharma means “upholding, ethic, pillar, purpose”. The “a” in front of dharma negates this, meaning there is no ethic, no pillar of support, no concern for others well-being and no point or purpose.
The inevitable victory of dharma was represented by bright elaborate decorations of palm husk, crafted with care by the villagers. It provided mindful decoration over the streets like a roof of colorful shelter of the dharma we are all held within.
Staying home for now is your colorful shelter. Make it into a personal temple, yoga studio and culinary haven for the well being of the collective of which you are a part. These devotional boundaries can be your gestures of choosing love over fear.
Our conscience is the direct result of our connection to the consciousness that we’ve built daily over a long period of time. We are going to have to really navigate our internal compass towards the point of all of this. To not do so could be disappointing when other’s well being, safety, feelings or health are at stake.
I’ve found myself saying “I can do whatever I want” quite a bit recently before this virus turned pandemic, yet I meant it from my Higher Self’s view, not a careless one. As a free spirit, I do care, and I do want to be mindful of implementing the personal boundaries necessary to benefit the freedom of us all.
“Desperation and the belief in helplessness destroys ones courage. There is no greater enemy than despair. The Ramayana
Without an accountable commitment to our health and an internal value system from which to navigate our conscience from, the results will be harmful (himsa) The ego often lowers our standards as it can’t see the big picture,
“Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.” –Brene Brown
Developing our worth and sense of self is a vital part to our id structural model of the psyche’s evolution. The ego loves to be individual, and it can also be sneaky, having little consideration to how ones choices affect others. This is an opportunity to see that we are a collective and this is a collaboration.
If we use this event productively, this can be an opportunity to experience Oneness, even at a temporary distance, on a scale we might not have yet. The understanding of “them” and “us” is indeed disappearing.
“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.” Abraham Lincoln
The greatest of all sicknesses is the sickness of “I ,me , mine”. Never underestimate the power of “us, we, our”. When “I” turns to “we”, illness turns to wellness.
I do believe we are looking for environments and beings we can trust. A psychotherapist, doctor, lawyer or yoga teacher all must live in boundary to integrate freedom. Without it, their roles could be confusing or dangerous. We want our doctors healthy, our psychotherapists mentally stable and our yoga teachers ethical. It exemplifies they are living their practice. Health, client confidentiality, refraining from sexual advances, and being clear are crucial in those cases. You are also a community member of the planet. For now, as much as we will miss you, build your church and your yoga studio in your home.
If we think we believe something is happening and it ends up being something else entirely, it’s foundation is adharma. It’s like playing soccer while hockey is taking place. It’s shaky and confusing. It’s not really all that enjoyable for the players and someone more than likely is going to get hurt.
“Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment.” -Brene Brown
Ram Dass spoke about dharma and the Ramayana often. He noted there is a difference between binding, which comes from the ego, represented by Ravana, who did whatever he wanted, and boundaries, which leads to boundlessness, represented in the love of Sita and Ram. The devotional leaps of Hanuman, who had a desire to be honorable and noble, represent us disciplining our character back to loving awareness.
Like building a bridge one stone at a time as in the Ramayana, or ritualistic art in a small Balinese village, each act affects the whole. Social distancing and businesses shutting down for now, all heart breaking, are our gestures of our labor of love and our uncomfortable leaps of faith in upholding the dharma. A pandemic is a global collaboration, as will be it’s dismantling as stewards and co-creators.
Update yourself each day, and then put the news away. When we say “no” to something and mean it, we have said “yes” to many other things, often initially unknown, yet backed by a spacious power. Leaping into the unknown requires faith, which comes from discipline, courage and strength. This type of faith is far from careless, timid or gullible. It’s fierce.
It is all clearly unknown right now. It always has been, yet, like space, there is certainty within it. Even the structure of the earth as our platform from which to launch and gravity too is an unspoken boundary that provides life affirming safety. When the Universe says yes, or no, it means it.
Swami Sivananda states that we must “adapt, adjust and accommodate.”
In the Ramayana, It is dharma, also known as purpose, which brings the humans and animals back together again in the Ramayana to build a bridge to co-exist. The pandemic is building a bridge. Rich, poor, marginalized or privileged, we are in this together.
We often feel like victims to our experiences when space is not held well and is violated. Tactics and strategy were applied by Hanuman’s army. We are Hanumans army.
Upholding dharma is not black or white. Life is fluid. At this time, the rules are changing daily. Listen to your Higher Self and your role of civic duty. What is the “right” thing to do, as a noble community member, even when there is hype that could lower your hope. It is when things get difficult that your boundaries and ethics will get tested.
Take aim as to what truly matters. Have you noticed that some things just don’t matter to you at all any more? Settle for nothing less. For the sake us all, aim high, keep faith.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Jai Hanuman! Swan Michelle