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“The Future Is Cancelled” – an extract from Shiningworld newsletter

“Disaster changes the world and our view of it, opening up the way for the birth of the “new” in an endless cycle of apparent change. When change comes very fast, we cannot resist and are swept away by its floodwaters. It is terrifying and overwhelming for many. The first lesson that destruction teaches is that everything is connected and that we have no control over what happens and never did. But though the sudden changes of any magnitude are always painful, it also offers great gifts.

In many ways great and small, we are already seeing many “miracles” as the full force of what this pandemic means for us registers. The world we once lived in is gone, yet new birth is already showing its first tentative shoots.

Right now we are forced into isolation, locked out of the world we once knew. It disappeared seemingly overnight, leaving many reeling in shock. None of us know what we find when we return to it, if we ever do. But what is immediately obvious and positive is the unifying factor – even those who are the most fortunate materially are in the same storm as everyone else. We are not in the same boat, however, as many of us are far more privileged than others and will suffer only relatively minor discomfort. 

In times of such immense change, the veil of ignorance momentarily lifts, offering a unique and rather brutal kind of clairvoyance. We see the Big Picture, or God’s perspective. It is like we are suddenly alone and naked in a room with several hundred-watt bulbs blasting away every particle of darkness. As much as the light blinds us, it forces us to see what’s hidden in the shadow landscape of our own minds. We see everything “inside” and “outside” of ourselves psychologically, spiritually, politically, economically, socially, ecologically, all in Technicolor surround-sound, and on an IMAX screen. It’s impossible to turn away or shut away our eyes to our strengths, our weaknesses, our corruption, what matters, and what doesn’t, on every level of our existence. We cannot avert our eyes from our shared responsibility for what is happening to this planet.

Now that the world has shut down, we’ve come to a sudden and painful emergency stop. It is painful not just because we are separated from others, but because we can no longer separate from ourselves. We have kept ourselves frantically busy to avoid inner reflection, but now that we are in an enforced stillness, our inner demons, all the voices of fear, come to the surface unchecked. As we obsess over self-preservation, what becomes clear are the many things that have been eating us up all the time. All the energy, movement, and money we normally expand to buy stuff and experience to escape our fear and emptiness has nowhere to go. Lockdown has forced us to detox from mindless busyness, socializing, and shopping. The psychic gorging and purging of things and people, which is the true nature of our consumerism in the futile attempt to give meaning to our lives, is plain to see. We are not only consumers but also consumed by the endless desire for gratuitous objects and experiences. Salvation comes only in surrender to the place we seldom visit and do our best to avoid: our inner stillness where the truth of who we are awaits us.

We are in a strange and powerful though involuntary stasis, both utterly becalmed and in a state of profound and enforced change. Who knows if the eye of the storm has passed, if it’s still coming, and how bad things could still get? The future has been canceled, there is only today. The most significant consequences of such challenging times are never immediately or directly visible and will probably take a long time to unfold. But one thing is known, and that is that we are all living in a shared reality right now in a land of “I don’t know.” God, the Creator of the Field, however, you see it, as always holds all the cards. The outcome of disasters is always unknown to us as every other outcome. 

The greatest challenge is not to give in to irrational fear. There is no need to become neurotic about the situation because fear and stress create as great a burden on our immune systems as the virus itself. Perhaps the hardest thing for most to come to terms with right now is that control over our lives has been severely curtailed. We are all made prisoners of the situation, at least on the physical level. Whether we are prisoners of it mentally is another matter entirely.

“Normality” has been suspended, at least for a brief moment. Life has slowed down enough for us to see how shockingly irrelevant so much is that we usually focus on, consider “important” and chase after. The word “crises” in medical terms is the crossroads a patient reached which they will either take the road to recovery or to death. Humanity is at a collective crossroads and it’s been long in coming. Where to from here?

Incredible, we are stripped of our usual distractions and “things to do.” We have come face to face with ourselves, there is no place to hide. Every day is the same day, nowhere to go, no decisions to make, nothing much to do. It’s like the movie Groundhog Day for the foreseeable future. The earth is breathing a huge sigh of relief from the temporary respite and showing visible signs of recovery. But for many who require noise and activity to survive their own minds, the global silence is frightening and overwhelming. If your mind is not your friend, this time will be hell for you. It is definitely a necessity to practice mind management and especially karma yoga.

Karma yoga is acting appropriately in the situation at hand in an attitude of gratitude. Most importantly, it is surrendering the results to the Field of Existence, which appreciated or not by you, takes care of all your needs, ALL the time. If it was never obvious to you that you never were in control of the results, to begin with, then it will come home to you now in a big way. This is a time for us to examine what we value most, how much we take for granted, how much we do not pay attention to or are grateful for in our frenetically busy lives. 

Disasters never fully end and forever change our future in crucial ways. In the aftermath of a disaster, a change of consciousness and priorities are powerful forces. Our economy, our priorities, our perceptions will not be what they were at the beginning of the year. The reality unfolding is and will bring economic devastation for many, that is certain. It is always the poor who suffers the most. But it is also a rich opportunity for a global reset, to see the ignorance that normally shields us from the Big Picture. 

Regardless of those trying to profit from these times, political and economic changes that would have been unthinkable previously are happening at unprecedented speed, showing just how much we can achieve when we get our act together and agree on what’s important. 

On the social level, there is generally much to commend people for their response to the situation globally. Many people are surprising themselves with innate coping skills they never knew they had, becoming kinder and more aware of how connected we all are. I consider myself realistically optimistic about what humanity will learn from this. But the sad thing is that many people are indignantly waiting for things to “get back to normal” so that they can go back to their usual, dare I say, obviously, selfish ways. 

The question is, how normal is the way the world has been living? Can we continue to ignore what we are doing to the planet? Perhaps the real problem is the fact that we have normalized the abnormal for so long we don’t know what normal looks like anymore. Hopefully, a much wiser attitude emerges from this, and maybe things will never be quite the same again, in a positive way.”

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