Lockdown Monologue

Going outside is overrated. Well, not exactly. Going outside can be very fulfilling – unless something bad happens. These disasters of varying magnitude are usually the result of other humans acting thoughtlessly. When society is functioning well, going outside can be wondrous as walking through the front door is the beginning of numerous adventures. We can still walk through the front door, that is true, but the chances are that we will be ‘carried’ back inside at some point, and this ‘lie-down’ might well be terminal! I remind myself that monastics sit in their cells and in so doing, discover the highest aspects of their respective religions. Even Mohammad (PBUH) sat and meditated in a cave for three years! Buddha sat under tree whilst Jesus frequented the desert. The Greeks sat quietly wherever they happened to be, or walked through the market place looking for inner stability. The Chinese Sages examined the ‘Dao’ (道) and formulated their wise discourses, whilst the Egyptian developed their science and build tremendous buildings in Africa! The Aztecs, Olmecs and Maya, and all the indigenous peoples across the globe created and built in their own ways. No doubt, all this creative activity enriched the world and enhanced what it means to be ‘human’. Quite often Christian monks take a vow of stability and from that day onwards, never travel anywhere else. I can sit and meditate for hours, and as my PhD is in Spiritual Metaphysics, I have read most of the religious texts available or extant. Am I religious? I would say that part of my spiritual practice is irreligiosity. I am not opposed to religion per se, but I treat its teachings as a) useful in a limited but profound context, and b) the product of past socio-economic conditions no longer valid to contemporary existence. Being in ‘lockdown’ has created the opportunity of what the ‘Book Change’ (Yijing) refers to as ‘being thrown back upon oneself’. It is a time of ‘looking within’ because the conditions of the outer world are not yet right for travel or interaction. When ‘looking within’ we work o perfecting our character. How is this to be done? We observe our thought patterns and our emotions and see if they are correct, positive, fulfilling, appropriate, optimum, wise, clear or helpful to others, etc. We ‘remove’ – through an act of will – those things which we do not want to be a part of our psyche and behaviour, and encourage those attributes we think benefit our well-being and the well-being of others. A well as this activity, there is dealing with the realities of everyday life that still seep-through into this island of isolation, particularly if you happen to be married and have children. There is also interaction with others, which today is enhanced by the internet. In my case, I find that my capacity to feel ‘love’ increases as the danger of losing one’s life is increased through environmental dangers. I find myself ‘falling in-love’ with Chinese people far too easily nowadays! This is trouble-some as I am also completely ‘unafraid’ of explaining what I feel to those concerned. I have always had a love affair with China, but this has transformed into ‘falling in-love’ with China. Of course, ‘China’ is an ideal image generated in my mind through past experiences, but it also includes the positive reinforcement of Chinese people acting in a manner which justifies (and unknowingly encourages) my mania! As ‘lockdown’ has acted as a magnifier of my inner machinations, like a bizarre lighthouse situated on a high rock, the bright-light that turns forever round and around emits not just illumination, but also the self-knowledge associated with ‘love’. First and foremost, this ‘love’ has no specific target, but is aimed at all and sundry (even rocks), but as it hits some of the different illuminated objects, a ‘personalised love’ flows out of the universal love. Buddhist ‘detachment’ helps me get through the day. Carrying-out good actions to help humans and animals helps keep the intensity of this love within acceptable bounds, although occasionally I have found myself inadvertently explaining to certain individuals ‘why I love them’! It is ludicrous and ridiculous as I am certainly not worth bothering with (or about). This is not a false modesty but a cold fact. Emitting ‘love’ for all of existence is a good thing providing it remains ‘indifferent’ and does not bother others unnecessarily. It is this ‘not bothering others’ that I am working on. Sitting quietly and reading, or talking to those who have some actual connection with me is natural and appropriate. Such has been my time in covid19 lockdown… 

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