Blessing in a curse

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Shanti Aruba is an enlightenment advocate and Meditation & Yoga Teacher with 15 years’ experience. In these challenging times we could all use some inner peace. Shanti shares her experience of these past weeks where she shifted from live sessions to digital connection.

“It’s been 6 weeks since all studios closed and I had to cancel all my classes. This world pandemic is a “collective confrontation “for all. On a personal level we are confronted with our limitations and weaknesses, like the ability to be by ourselves, handling changes and loss of freedom, living with a lower budget and much more. My level of faith was certainly tested, especially in the beginning when corona virus cases were multiplying daily and people started losing their loved ones. Now a few weeks later, globally curves are flattening and I can let go. The low budget living aligns well with the minimalist lifestyle I am practicing, I stopped shopping since Christmas and I only spent money on essentials. The confinement reminds me of fasting, periods of silence, minimal external distractions and solitude to purify the mind. The biggest struggle is professionally, to shift my classes online and get savvy with streaming, filming and editing.

Now I am embracing the situation. I am loving all the sunsets! I worked evenings for 10 years and never got to see sunsets during the week. I can appreciate the deserted beaches and quietness on the streets. I am loving the slow breakfasts in the garden, the longer and deeper meditations, long talks on the phone with my friends and family, plenty of quality bonding time with my son. I am loving living without hurry and pressure. Also, I am in awe how the nature is thriving, the sea water is clearing up in front of the hotels, there are more Prikichi nest in the national park and I snorkeled in an endless school of Piskechi at Tres Trapi. In India the drop in air pollution makes the Himalayan mountaintops visible for the first time in 30 years. In many countries wild animals enter the empty streets. I feel almost guilty to be appreciating and enjoying all this, but I am not alone. I had many friends confessing that they really needed this break, they are thriving from all the free time and are finally doing what they always wanted, dedicating time to their passions, working on their dream projects, discovering new talents, and exploring new ideas. Some realized how they can be happy and peaceful with less money.

We have examples of worldly figures having similar experiences. Like Malcom X, who decided to educate himself and read all the books in the prison library, he stated , “months have passed without my even thinking about being imprisoned, in fact up to then, I had never been so truly free in my life”. Etty Hillesum, who got her religious awakening in the Auschwitz concentration camp, wrote in her diary, “Despite everything life is full of beauty and meaning”. Sri Aurobindo, Indian enlightened master who refined and deepened his spiritual practice and reached consummation during his one year incarceration. These heroes along with my thriving friends have in common that they activated their greatness in confinement.

Maybe crises make us sharp and help us make a leap in consciousness? Makes me wonder if a structured yearly ‘World Fast’ can be healthy for nature and humanity?

Whether this quarantine is a sabbatical or an imprisonment depends on your state of mind and the level of consciousness from which it operates. According to yogic wisdom, the mind that functions at a lower level of consciousness (or body consciousness) tends to attach to and identify with things of the external world, creating dependency, this can cause unnecessary stress and suffering. A mind who operates at a higher state of consciousness (soul consciousness) is aligned with inner wisdom, where there is natural fulfillment, freedom and clarity. I love this quote by Sri Aurobindo, “The utmost mission of Mind is to train our obscure consciousness which has emerged out of the dark prison of Matter, to enlighten its blind instincts, random intuitions, vague perceptions till it shall become capable of this greater light and this higher ascension. Mind is a passage, not a culmination.”

Daily meditations can help you grow in consciousness, transform old thought patterns and help you live with an expanded vision of life, where there are more possibilities and potential for happiness. Meditation is also an ultimate survival skill that helps us remain calm, centered and focused in crisis. Although not everyone has the capacity to transcend hardships. As a community we need to guard one another to minimize unnecessary suffering. I have friends who offered to be my financial backbone and I have done so for others who have less than me and that is a really good feeling. ps. I noticed that people are more likely to reach out to you if you offer them your help first.

In many spiritual teachings this is a very fruitful moment in the evolutionary cycle of consciousness, we have the potential to rise in awareness, in new ideas and feelings and make powerful personal shifts and new choices for living. Whether we are at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of the pandemic, whether this virus is bio-engineered or natural, whether biblical prophecies and ancient mythologies of the world end are coming true, it does not matter.

It matters to be the best we can be Now despite what tomorrow brings… Many of us are in survival state and many of us are not. Like you my dear friend reading this article, you have the choice and the potential to come out a better version of yourself.”

For more information: Facebook Shanti Aruba.