Navigating the collective anxiety
Extreme and unpredictable weather, disaster news onslaught, environmental catastrophes, political propaganda and persiflage. Are any of these on your mind?
How about political correctness gone viral, the rich/poor gap expanding, gender uncertainty, alienation and isolation, “what’s going to happen to me?” Do any of these resonate? That’s fear, the great killer, gnawing at the root and draining your energy.
We add our own issues to this list, too, because of course there’s no scarcity of things to worry about. If you’re living in a typical urban environment you’re subject to a daily bombardment designed to keep you on the edge of neurotic anxiety. This makes us try to buy, buy, buy our way free of being annihilated by any of these mental monsters. Even those of us who live in the countryside can’t really escape, although at least we are much closer to the natural grounding of being connected to the earth.
Let nature help
Which brings up the question: how much time do you spend out in nature? Every day, do you make a point leaving the confines of your office, room, studio, house, or wherever it is your time is most devoted, and get outside into your garden, go for a walk in a park, hop on your bicycle, go camping for a weekend, find an open space where you can see the wonders of the night sky? All of the above have worked for me.
At least temporarily.
It wasn’t until I found a Teacher who fully understood and transcended the common slings and arrows most of us are subject to that I experienced a deeper level of refuge. Not in the sense of escaping or ignoring, but more about being shown universal laws giving direction and purpose that got me outside myself and my “me” focus. Saved my life, really.
What helped immeasurably was discovering a whole community of others with similar issues to my own who were also attracted to the Teachings. I was not alone! This was huge – I had been dangerously close to being sucked into a schizophreniac state, everything around me that I depended on was dissolving into meaninglessness. Discovering I wasn’t the only one was an exhilarating revelation; not only could we compare our journeys, we could laugh about how deluded we had been!
It takes a village
This all happened in my youth. Since then I have raised a family, run a business, and been retired for several years. After decades of life and spiritual experience, I now know how difficult it is to grow and prosper without expert guidance from those who have travelled much further along the road than myself. It’s the one sure way to accelerate the learning that leads to health and confidence in our perception of what is really happening.
Choosing to be in the company of others sharing a similar vision gives us dynamic support. This community, or Sangha in Buddhist parlance, is hard to do without and it is deserving of special emphasis. I am choosing to spend my twilight years here, in the Clear Sky community. Even if, in your search for such a Teaching and community, you have to wade through a number until you find a match that speaks to you, patience and perseverance will pay off.
The one thing any awakening vehicle should have, beyond a resonance of universal truth, is that it challenges your ego’s assumptions. Becoming what you are not gets you outside yourself, beyond personal limitations. We all have blind spots that are transparent to others, and with compassionate feedback from a conscious community light is shone into those dark corners for all, including ourselves, to see. Truth and compassion will out! With the uncovering of these unconscious views and habits comes a profound realization that all phenomena, including the human race, interrelate and are co-dependent. We really are one massive organism, unfolding together.
Even as we heal and awaken ourselves, then, we affect all of humanity. So go do the work, for the sake of all sentient beings.
This article has been one being’s meandering trail on what ails us, with a nod to a signpost pointing a quick and effective way forward. I hope to see you down the road.