A Message from Dr. Bill Little
The most powerful practice in this time of pandemic is sheltering. Statistics show that people who shelter almost never become infected. But in many ways, sheltering seems going against our human nature. We feel as though we are social beings and we miss our friends and co-workers, etc. We long for the out-of-doors and sunshine.
But human nature is actually nothing more than ego. It is our limited self that feels locked up and therefore gets a sense of ‘cabin fever.’ If you have ever spent time in a spiritual community, an ashram or temple or spiritual retreat, you probably had some of the same feelings – at least the first few times you were there. These communities are designed to take you away from the world of the senses so you can focus on the inner world of your own being and develop more refined senses.
For example, our normal vision has an inner counterpart. Seeing with what has been called ‘the third eye’ is the ability to see the world as it is instead of how we think it is. Looking at a person with our outer vision rapidly accesses our memory banks and we really only see our own thoughts about them that we remember. But the third eye experience allows us to see them as they are, including their faults, and even their subconscious patterns which they may not be aware of at all. If you have ever been in the presence of an enlightened being, you know how naked you feel in front of them. All the other senses also have inner senses that correspond to them.
So when you contemplate this, sheltering might be one of the great gifts of covid 19. We have the time to be alone and shut down our preoccupation with the outer world. By focusing on something as simple as breathing for five or ten minutes we can withdraw and become more subtle. We can use our feeling nature to become aware of our own presence. This is to begin with so subtle that worldly inputs overwhelm our own presence. We may use the word ‘I’, but it doesn’t have much reality to us except perhaps some brief worldly role.
For example we might say, ‘I’m going to the garage to do some pitch and throw.’ By the time we finish the sentence, the sense of ‘I’ has been quickly identified with a body and some basic actions. The real feeling of ‘I’ is very short-lived if it happened at all. The ego is fine with this kind of objective definition of ‘self’. But this superficial imagery is not enough for our evolution. It is nothing more than a habitual way of identifying oneself.
If we are to grow and fulfill our destiny we will take sheltering as a blessing and use it to explore the inner realm of who we are. My first meditation teacher told us, ‘A yogi always turns everything to his/her advantage.’ The tried and true practices of chanting, meditation, and self-inquiry will guide us beyond the disease of being a human being. Just as we put on masks, wash hands, etc.,
Use the spiritual practices to your advantage.
Discover the astounding being at the center of you.