Samadhi – eternal bliss, the union with God, enLIGHTenment, ultimate destination of any spiritual seeker… yet something that is unattainable if we strive for it. This beautiful, thought provoking, perspective shifting documentary by Daniel Schmidt is dedicated to one of the most important concepts in Buddhism. And yes, emptiness is a big part of it. My biggest takeaway? Emptiness that I’ve been trying to transcend? It is me. I am it. Nothing to transcend. And emptiness is not nothing, it is form, it is movement. Wow. Enjoy.
I’ve seen this chart on Professor Scott Galloway’s Linkedin page (I listen to his Prof G show and Pivot podcast with him almost exclusively now) and it is the best visual summary of our mindset options during this pandemic. I’ve spent a few too many weeks in the Fear Zone I must admit, but since I’ve been in the Learning and Growth Zones and it’s been one helluva ride so far!
Who is up to what these days? I volunteer with the Hear Me App where I talk to folks from all over the world who need someone to talk to. And everyone is struggling, myself included. I’ve spent the first several weeks of the quarantine in a slump – no energy, no motivation, not eating or sleeping well, obsessively checking the news. Since, I’ve worked on bringing back the structure, the routine, drumming up exercise, making sure I sleep enough and trying (trying!) to stop eating biscuits and chocolate. I am far from “normal” but I am making progress. Baby steps…
These are sad, uncertain, worrying times. It is normal to feel down, anxious and depressed. I bet no one, no one is feeling ok. We are stuck with ourselves amplifying everything we might have been running from before. Life choices, decisions, behaviours, beliefs – everything is under review. Everything is being questioned.
We have to focus on what we can control. We can not control the virus, the news or the death stats. We can control how healthy and safe we and our loved ones are, we can keep our body, mind and spirit in shape and we can use this time as a practice to work on becoming aware of and burning through “our stuff”, like Ram Dass teaches in his Dharmic Fire talk. As Buddhists see it, suffering is a fodder for growth if you don’t try to run away from suffering. Out of mud lotus flower springs.
Connect, support, help, give, be kind, be creative, be mindful. Above all, give yourself a break, practice self-compassion and self-care. Baby steps. Tiny progress. We are all in this together. Stay safe, fellow nomads.
Paul Stamets, the biggest world’s mushroom enthusiast 😊 fascinates me. His passion for mushrooms and fungi is awe inspiring. He already has a Ted talk that has been viewed more than 6 million times and now there is a documentary featuring him on how awesome mushrooms are and how we can use them to feed, heal and protect the world. Ethical Superstore sell a mushroom growing kit… just saying! Enjoy!
I consider Ram Dass to be my guru. He has been one of my most important spiritual mentors. His teachings led me to psilocybin, further study of Buddhism and radically changed how I see myself, other people and reality, and how I live my life.
He has left his body last year, just before my 40th birthday. “Becoming Nobody”, the title of his last documentary, which is also the essence of his teachings, has been finally released worldwide. What a beautiful being he was! You can watch it on Gaia with a free 1-week trial.
I love physics because it’s weird 😊 I’ve watched two awesome physics documentaries (on Amazon Prime) called “Everything and Nothing. The Amazing Science of Empty Space” and “Order and Disorder: The Forces that Drive the Universe”.
My mind has been blown when I learned that emptiness or vacuum is not empty, it is teeming with micro Big Bangs – matter and antimatter appearing for the briefest amounts of time and almost immediately annihilating each other. It is like energy is playing hide-and-seek with itself, shape-shifting, never standing still.
I am envious of those who, unlike me, can stay productive and positive in such uncertain times. I missed a blog post last week because I’ve been struggling.
Psychologists call what many of us are experiencing grief. I’d add uncertainty and emptiness. That feeling you have when you are in between jobs, careers, houses, partners, life stages, when things are not going as you hoped or planned – it is that but multiplied to Nth degree. The feeling of being lost, stuck, a mix of dread and agitation, anxiety over uncertainty and growing impatience. Anxiety and excitement rolled into one…
How to not freak out and overdo it and instead practice patience and non-doing, while letting your life unfold? “Infinite patience produces immediate results.” Below are the words of encouragement from Lissa Rankin which I stumbled into in her book “The anatomy of a calling”. Keep going, don’t give up, you can do it – itis on its way.
Gee, how things can change in a week! What has been my emptiness practice over the last 9 months is what now a lot of people have to do daily. Monk life! How are you holding up, fellow nomads? What are you up to?
Constant news reading, empty supermarket shelves and growing number of cases around must be impacting everyone’s mental health. In times like these I remind myself that positive action – deepening or establishing a spiritual practice, helping others, physically or online, creating and sharing positive messages is what we can do.
A local Buddhist centre have been streaming their meditation sessions online. Ram Dass’s team made his meditations available online (for example, his talk on fear). “Tricycle”, a Buddhist magazine, have put online tools to help cultivate the right mindset. Other than rewatching all BBC versions of Jane Austen novels (my reliable anti-depressant), I have doubled on my meditation and yoga practices and I chant with Krishna Das (free on Amazon Music or Youtube).
I mentioned this book before – it is how I discovered Wayne Dyer. It came recommended by Tim Ferriss. I don’t follow Tim, but occasionally get sent links to his podcasts or blog posts, and one of his posts that I read mentioned this book.