Sri Swami Satchidananda often reminded us that the great surfers spend thousands of dollars to travel across the globe to find the big waves, and to experience the thrill of riding them into the shore. Emotionally, socially, economically and spiritually we are experiencing big waves. In fact, it is a Perfect Storm of big waves which has already drowned hundreds of thousands of our human companions. What are we to do? How can we surf?
Here are several points to consider:
“This too shall pass:” For as far back as recorded history can reach, there have been natural disasters. The resilience that has brought our race through 200,000 years will bring us through the pandemic as well.
Look for a bright side: While this pandemic has caused untold amounts of suffering and hardship, there are important lessons that point to a bright side in this storm as well. One of these lessons is how Mother Nature is utilizing this time to prune and “reboot.” In the pruning process the shape of the trunk and limbs of the tree are revealed. In the same way, as we have withdrawn from many of our usual pursuits and activities the dysfunctional aspects of our government and society have come into full view. Inevitably, this will empower a humanistic movement to overturn some of the policies that have caused so much suffering.
Do whatever it takes to maintain your peace: Dig deep. Every challenge that is put in front of us has the potential to reveal our strength. Now is the time to find out how much stamina and courage you have. Put your principles to the test: as yogis our role is to be the presence of peace, wherever we are.
Pray: The vibration of peace is contagious. We can think of our vibrational frequency as a kind of positive, corrective virus!
If we pray with a well-focused mind, the messages from our personal “broadcasting station” will transmit far into the world. (Sri Swamiji once said that the thoughts emerging from a totally concentrated mind are as powerful as bombs.) So let our thoughts be a balm to soothe troubled minds and hearts. After all, we have been given the teachings and the training to serve this way, so let us not default on our role.
Equanimity: Surfers are extremely vigilant and have to continuously rebalance themselves throughout the ride. Our surfboards are our minds, and to keep our balance we have to continuously adapt, adjust, and re-establish our equanimity.
Self-Care: Keep your own house in order. Learn how to be your own best friend, and shine the light of love into your own heart with total forgiveness and compassion for any limitations you may have. Slow down, lighten up, smile at yourself. Self-care is of vital importance to us all.
Equanimity is both a spiritual practice and a practical way to live when we balance our intention to serve others, with the need to keep ourselves healthy and clear-thinking. May we all cultivate a personal center of balance that enables us to be a presence of healing and peace in our communities.
About the Author:
Swami Divyananda is one of Integral Yoga’s senior monastics and foremost teachers. Over the years she has served as the director of the Integral Yoga Institutes in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Coimbatore, India, and as the Ashram Manager of Satchidananda Ashram–Yogaville in Virginia. In addition to teaching at these centers, she has taught Yoga and meditation on special retreats, in corporations and universities, at the Commonwealth Cancer Center and for the Dr. Dean Ornish Heart Disease Programs. Swami Divyananda served for eleven years at the Integral Yoga Institute in Coimbatore, South India and continues to lead pilgrimage tours through India.