Accelerating the Unfolding

As the Coronavirus crisis deepens, many businesses and venues are closed. An increasing number of people are bored, restless, anxious, afraid and suffering. This creates an opportunity for a re-set. We can re-set our body, mind and spirit even though we may be squirming amidst the unprecedented uncertainty of our dynamically changing times. This post briefly explains what we can do to cultivate well-being, accelerate personal/professional growth and explore the healing of our spirit.

The bulk of humanity is undergoing a major perturbation. The stressful upheaval of our normal routines has disrupted our work and social patterns. While financial and emotional concerns are mounting for many of us, we may have more space and time for digitally connecting with friends and personally re-bonding with family. These social connections can provide reassurance that we are not alone in our uncertainty about when and how the current crisis will be resolved.

Photo by Stephen Leonardi

There is a way beyond social connection to accomplish a mental, emotional and spiritual re-set. The re-set begins with solitary activity. Anxiety, binge watching and aimless boredom can be dissolved through immersion into private awareness. There are two modes for this private activity: 1 passive nonjudgmental observation of our thoughts and feelings, and 2 active concentration of our focused attention while engaged in some form of exercise, such as brisk walking. This second mode is a powerful innovation for creativity and insightful self management that accelerates the unfolding of our life journey.

Let’s consider the passive approach first. Passively observing our thoughts and feelings is commonly known as mindfulness meditation. This is being practiced by an increasing number of people as print and visual media report on the beneficial effects. There is a similar practice across multiple disciplines, including Tibetan, Theravadin and Zen Buddhism, as well as contemplative Christian prayer and Jewish Kabbalah. Tje basic practice is sitting or standing with the goal of following our breath, observing the contents of our consciousness and then returning awareness to our breath. This decreases our internal mental chatter and fosters a deepening awareness of repetitive patterns in our culturally programmed thinking and behavior. As we become more aware of the contents of these patterns we deepen our insight into the origins of any suffering and distress. This begins to liberate us from such cultural conditioning, thereby enabling a fresh more direct experience of each moment of our unfolding lives, free of cultural conditioning. 

Photo by Chuttersnap

The second approach complements mindfulness meditation. This involves actively using fundamental building blocks for our individual life journey: behavior, breath and intention. Simultaneously blending these three components is a powerful approach to self management. This is accomplished by combining: 1 repetitive movement, 2 rhythmic breathing and 3 silently or orally repeating our intention related to an important need, want, wish or hope. This can be variously called an affirmation, mantra, or prayer. Wherever we are in terms of social isolation, financial security, physical/emotional health, and spiritual well-being, it doesn’t matter. When used regularly, this approach can enable us to move forward, step by step, in our chosen direction. This movement from where we are to where we think we want to be is powered by insights and discoveries on the unfolding path. As our clarity improves and our wisdom deepens about the true nature of our life journey, we become more creative and effective in overcoming what may have seemed previously to be insurmountable hurdles.

 Although this may not be so easily discerned, we are constantly changing internally as we experientially notice the kaleidoscope of moments passing through our awareness. Combining active and passive approaches toward life and an uncertain future accelerates a transformation of our consciousness as it heals our emotional spirit. Consider why the active approach is powerful. Actively blending affirmation/mantra with repetitive movement while consciously breathing combines major modes of experiential learning into a seamless whole. It drives intention into our body and behavior. It increases our awareness of opportunities for fresh, often creative action related to our intention. The passive approach cultivates insight as well as creativity. The two together accelerate the process of creatively using skillful means to temper our emotions, reduce suffering and enhance well-being for ourselves and those we care about.

Photo by Austin Chan

As the growth process unfolds, we become more aware of clues in our external environment and in our internal awareness. These can be perceived as hints for the next steps toward a better future. That future might be figuring out how to pay rent if we’ve been laid off, or how to generate the energy to go outside on a sunny day and enjoy the weather, or how to send healing energy to a loved one who is suffering. If we feel helpless, this approach gives us clear actions we can take for a greater sense of agency. If we’re bored, it gives us something constructive to do that grows new brain cells and builds new connections across different regions of our brain/mind thereby enabling a more insightful view of our life circumstances. If we’re looking for answers, or even guidance, it gives us a clear approach that increases our awareness for the input we seek.

 How to reap these benefits? First, consider what is important for you related to a need, want, wish or hope. From either a secular or a spiritual perspective, consider how to turn that into an affirmation, mantra or prayer. Next, move with a brisk and repetitive motion at a pace you can sustain for 20-30 minutes. Breathe deeply in rhythm with your movement. Repeat your affirmation/mantra/prayer in rhythm with your breath. As we progress with this method, we grow new brain cells and make new connections across varied structures within our brain.

This approach is explained in greater detail at: Secular examples of simple aspirational intentions and goal statements are included that can be modified in an emotional or spiritual direction, for those who wish to do so. Beginning, intermediate and advanced stages of this self management practice are presented in detail.

Photo by Marcus Dali Col

An important caveat: this is an enormously powerful combination of methods drawn from ancient spiritual disciplines and blended with contemporary psychology. It should be treated with respect because diligent use will accelerate your individual life journey. Use it for your own and the common good, and it will deliver favorable results beyond expectations.

When focused concentration and movement is blended with its counterpart, sitting and standing meditation, the two are a potent combination for heightened awareness and a better future. Being still and silent while non-judgmentally observing our thoughts enables personal inquiry, self-reflection and insight into the causes of our individual and collective suffering. This can be used as internal guidance for how to take constructive action for our individual and common good. A universal principle is to do what we do with compassion, equanimity and kindness. Doing otherwise simply brings more suffering. The combination of both passive and active methods brings enhanced insight and an acceleration of progress, moment by moment.

May the Force be with us for healing, longevity, well-being, financial security, and a vastly more compassionate future.


ib       @BeimanIrv

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