I had thought about writing something about keeping sane during the COVID-9 lockdown, but it seems that wherever you look there is an endless, infinite stream of news about Coronavirus and most of the news isn’t good.
The fact is that we are rarely awake in our lives; mostly we run on autopilot: an “autopilot” perception followed by the “autopilot” reaction. When we live like this (and most of us do) we naturally and unsurprisingly find ourselves repeatedly in a place we would rather not be.
This is especially true about unpleasant feelings. They come banging at our door, shouting for our attention. However, we are practiced at ignoring the shouting and knocking. Our back and shoulders tense and our brow furrows in the effort to carry on as if nothing is there. We distract ourselves with our “autopilot” distractions. We get busy.
That’s what makes isolation so uncomfortable. Many of our habitual distractions are no longer available to us and naturally our tension increases.
At some level we have convinced ourselves that by rejecting our feelings we are “managing” them. But how can we manage something that we won’t even look at, that we fear, that we automatically reject? We confuse our fear of the feeling with the feeling itself. In fact, we live in fear of the fear of the feeling. The feeling that is knocking and shouting for your attention, just wants you to open the door so that you can understand it.
So if we put aside our judgement and open the door with an attitude of open curiosity, with a sense of kindness to ourselves and just be with it – perhaps take a cup of tea together – then we begin to transform our relationship with the feeling. Understanding replaces fear. What’s more, the banging and shouting stops.
Understanding becomes knowledge and with time, perhaps wisdom.