As our population becomes vaccinated, it feels as if a black curtain is lifting – with the light of a future coming into view, knowing it is not the same future we envisioned before this pandemic took hold. In Buddhism, we contemplate that the future arises based on many factors, some, or even most, of which we cannot foresee. The pandemic has suddenly brought this realization into view for an entire globe. In the two years, we have been forced to let go of the old and pulling back the curtain to see and adapt to new norms.
As individuals, we should take this time to seriously question. How do we engage life in a new normal? What changes do we want to maintain? Should we spend more time in quiet instead of distraction? Appreciate the company of others more? What about deeper changes in our values and perspective?
As we looked in past posts at disrupting patterns of negativity, we posited a progression of 4 steps:
Caring for ourselves just as we are right now
Confidence in our own good qualities
Willingness to let ourselves be different
Advice of those who have come before us
This time we consider the resources that give us the courage and the willingness to let ourselves be different. How many times have you decided to make a significant change for the better only to encounter silent doubts settling as subtle fears? “Will I still be the same person?” “Will others still like me?” “What will happen to my relationships?”
These questions will never lead us to meaningful answers. We need a new set of questions: “What do I truly want for my life?” “How can I best care for myself and others?” We need to look in a possibly unexpected place – our hearts. Resonating with the element of space, our hearts are all-encompassing. In spaciousness there is no need for acceptance or rejection. We do not need to identify with the usual dichotomies; good or bad, right or wrong, black or white. They do not define us, but only limit what we can know about ourselves. The answers are not really about others but about ourselves.