“It is giving us this quite extraordinary insight into just how much of a mess we humans are making of our beautiful planet,” conservation scientist Stuart Pimm of Duke University said. “This is giving us an opportunity to magically see how much better it can be.”
What is amazing so many is how quickly, almost miraculously, the Earth is healing itself. It is the same for us, when we give ourselves constructive rest, in the form of a fast or retreat or even a 20 minute meditation. Of course, the greater the exhaustion and need, the greater the rest required.
For me, today was a day of Yoga and union with Mother Earth. I did a beautiful day long Cyber retreat at Suryalila, led by one of my first teachers, Vidya Heisel. I did my 200 hour training with her in Spain, at this beautiful place, long before she came to own it. In between classes today, I walked in the woods around my house, forest bathing, rebuilt the rock foundation around my Siddharta statue and laid in a hammock, hung between two majestic pines.
The sky was so blue and my eyes bathed in a hundred shades of green. I ate beautiful whole foods and drank lots of tea and water. I chose yesterday to give myself today a day of constructive rest from the relentless pace of online studying I've been doing these past several weeks. I was starting to feel irritable and overwhelmed and knew I needed to give myself a break. Constructive rest is restorative.
Reveling in all the beauty that surrounds me and that is within me. Practicing Yoga. Recognition and Appreciation, both conscious and intuitive, of the mirror of the microcosm within me and the macrocosm that is this Earth. Seeing the Divine and Honoring the Divine. Being in a state of peace and harmony and love and gratitude. Being in that energy. Restoring my own energy to it's natural state.
If you were watching me today, would you have seen all that? Perhaps. Or, perhaps you would have just sensed it- the peace and joy. Just as you may be able to sense when there is disharmony or anger in the air.
This sensing, this noticing, I believe millions of people have shared in feeling the Earth's pain. Not to be insensitive to the suffering and dying (but there are always people suffering and dying), I believe that this forced global rest caused by the Coronavirus is, as Swami Satchidananda teaches about everything in life, "It is all for good." That is where faith comes in. Whatever your faith, for me I believe it is "God's Will" or the "Universal Will" or the "Divine Will" at work. For me, these are all the same thing.
In this case, what is happening now, regardless of what the reason behind it may be, is an opportunity for healing for each of us and for the world. It is a constructive rest for Mother Earth, and it is the opportunity for a constructive rest for all of us. Mother Earth is healing. We each have this same opportunity, however, not everyone will take it.
If two people are forced to stay home from work and one lays on the couch all day zoning out, watching tv and eating junk food or stressing, complaining, angry or other draining emotions, and the other takes the time to reflect on what in her life is working and not working and takes steps towards making herself feel better on a mind-body-spirit level, by reaching out and connecting with people they love, learning a new hobby, spending time doing what is healthy and beneficial for them, such as walking or meditating, do they receive the same benefits at the end of the day?
Does a person who sits dully, bored, letting their mind be void of any creative ideas on what to do, have the same benefit as the person who sits for a one hour meditation, gently letting go of all thoughts and emotions that rise, working towards equanimity? Certainly not.
Constructive Rest is about "undoing," which is not the same as doing nothing in a continued state of ignorance. The Earth can heal itself, just as the human body can heal itself, if we are not polluting it with toxins. The Earth is undoing what we have done, just as we can take the time now to see what in our life would be beneficial for us to change. What we can 'undo' that has moved us away from a natural state of ease and peace and happiness.
Everything is connected. We are all one. Not just humanity; everything is one. What we do to the Earth, we do to ourselves. The pollution that we create kills us. Air pollutants (which have dropped by 50% in many places), such as nitrogen dioxide, smog and tiny particles kill up to 7 million people a year worldwide, according to the Health Effects Institute. That is just one example.
We are all one and we are all made of subtle energy. Energy, my energy, your energy, the Earth's energy, is not constant. We know this, we've all experienced it. Energy can be depleted, if overused and ignored, pushed to the limit, polluted with toxins.
The way to balance and heal and restore to a healthy state is through constructive rest.
Take this time to look deeply at your life, to reflect on where you are and how you are and who you spend your time with and what you spend your time doing.
What gives me energy? What depletes it? That is an easy test to know if something is healthy and beneficial or needs to change and be 'undone'.
My teacher, Yogi Hari, always says to ask yourself "Is this action/thought/habit Elevating me or Degrading me?" You can ask yourself that. Quiet down and listen to the answers. The truth is inside you waiting to be unveiled, and when it is, you will heal yourself as miraculously as the Earth is healing herself now. You will make changes that will make you healthier, happier, more peaceful- changes that will reveal your True Nature.
My prayer for the Earth and for each one of us on it is that we slow down and fully acknowledge and appreciate the miracle of healing and health and do not fall back into destructive ways of thinking and doing that will be our final undoing.
Lokah Samastha Sukinoh Bhavantu