Spirituality is a powerful term encompassing a way of thinking about, feeling, and living in the world. Essential to spiritual life is mindful thinking and experiencing the many different aspects of human existence and conscious interaction with others and our environment. With a spiritual view of life, we can see the divine in the mundane, the miraculous in each and every day, the extraordinary in the ordinary.
One of the most important ways to think spiritually involves a broader and deeper understanding of energy than “gas makes my car go” or “electricity powers the lights in my house”. We are part of a matrix of energy that is interwoven with all the people we interact with, objects that are important to us, and the movement of the solar system.
Throughout our lives we all experience crisis. Personal crisis is unavoidable; it is part of human development to encounter and address the personal crisis. A family crisis is often just as common since our individual crisis tends to affect the people closest in our lives. More sporadic, but still likely to happen at some point in our lives, will be a community crisis, something outside ourselves and our family that impacts us.
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Even wider is a national crisis, like the ending of Apartheid in South Africa, 9/11 in the United States, Brexit in the United Kingdom, or hurricane devastation in Puerto Rico. The rarest crisis is a global one, and there are usually two kinds: the human, self-inflicted version (World Wars, Financial Recessions and Depressions, and so on) and the natural version through disease (Black Death, Spanish Flu, and so on). COVID19 is now a pandemic and we are in the midst of a global crisis.
Crisis and Panic
Crisis touches us at the deepest level of our survival instinct and our fear can sometimes cause worse outcomes than the actual crisis itself. The psychological damage of fear and worry when a system is thrown into chaos can be as damaging as the actual crisis event, which then doubles the strain on the psyche. If we are dealing with a situation in which we need to run faster to escape harm or death and panic puts a surge of adrenaline into our system for greater speed, then we can see the value in the fear trigger … but only if we can direct the surge of adrenaline in a helpful way.
If we are able to face the crisis, know the panic, but not give in to it, then we may access reserves of energy and invention we did not know were possible without the crisis. A crisis is basically an extreme catalyst that, if not managed, will destroy. Knowing this about crisis is why it is so important to have a way of action and thought to keep the panic from doing extra work above and beyond dealing with the crisis itself.
Spirituality as a Calming Force in the Storm
“Nobody gets their character tested when things are going their way” is a quote I share regularly with my clients. You see, as a professional spiritual advisor, I mostly see people when they are in a crisis, usually a personal one, and often one that is not so great that it needs psychological or psychiatric care. In other words, I see clients, not patients. I offer them spiritual interpretations of problems that are of concern to them.
Since I work with tools like astrology and tarot/oracle cards, and not a particular faith or spirituality, I often see people who self-describe as, yes, atheist to devoutly Christian, as well as agnostics, skeptics, Muslims, Hindus, and so on. I find people seek me out and work with me because, on some level, they want to find out if, or know that a positive spiritual perspective an often help them feel calm and back in control even when the circumstances are still the same before they got a card reading as they were when they left. Spirituality is a way to psychologically change one’s perspective from negative to positive.
Helpful spirituality does not threaten or increase fear, it reduces or redirects it into positive thought and action. There is a certain basic kinship with atheism which would say, “it is what it is because that’s what it is.” When we are afraid, we want to be comforted. Spirituality is a way to self-comfort when you cannot find comfort around you or from external supports. It is often the lack of external support that takes fear up to the panic level.
The basic kinship from a spiritual perspective is, “it is what it is because that’s what it needs to be to help us grow and thrive”. It is the shared “is”ness that is meant to be grounding. The coronavirus is now transmitted by community spread and containment is less and less likely about keeping it from certain places to more and more keeping it from certain groups (the elderly) for as long as possible, so science can develop a vaccine and the larger healthier population can develop immunity.
Travel bans are a day late and a dollar short, hence the breeding ground for panic. In essence, coronavirus is nowhere and everywhere, which is why the word “pandemic” is the word pandemic. It is also why we have the Great Toilet Paper Panic of 2020. Humor is a form of spirituality that also helps tremendously!
Spiritually Speaking, You Chose to Be Here … Because You are Here
One of the hardest spiritual lessons, that is also, in many ways, the breakthrough lesson, is the idea that our souls/our spirits, choose to be on the earthly plane for spiritual and mundane reasons. In the spiritual belief of reincarnation, you repeatedly choose to be here, to keep learning … because let’s be honest, you cannot hope to learn it all in one go; and spiritually, we really do want to learn it all.
If you grant yourself the thought that you are here to learn, and that learning cannot be done in a state of panic (though you can learn about panic), then you can re-balance fear into excitement and adventure, which will allow you to use adrenaline wisely rather than haphazardly. In other words, you will not run away from the lion looking back the whole time and run off a cliff. If you do, then you are just as dead either way.
You will run with your eyes looking ahead for twists and turns, changes in terrain, a shelter, or anything that will help you escape the lion before it gets to you. And yes, it may still get to you, but at least you have a chance, which is not what you will have if you run under the force of blind panic, no matter how much energy it gives you.