How to Make Connections
One of the main points of concern during the coronavirus outbreak has been an increase in isolation.
We are all encouraged to explore how we can make connections even when the physical environment does not lend itself to meeting up.
It has been suggested that, due to the rise in the use of technology and increasing pace of life, certain kinds of isolation were on the increase globally even before the pandemic. The current situation has served to highlight the negative impacts of this.
There are many ways to connect with others.
Making regular calls to loved ones is a good way to stay connected.
Using virtual platforms for face-to-face contact can help to even further reduce feelings of loss and separation.
Writing letters may seem old fashioned but there is therapeutic value in journaling thoughts and experiences which may or may not be shared. The joy of a grandparent receiving an unexpected message or card from a child who is much missed should not be underestimated.
Let us explore the nature of connection:
When you step outside into nature, you are breathing the same air as every other living thing. You are living under the same sunshine and moonlight and are nourished and sustained by the same earth.
We all come from and eventually return to the earth. We are made of recycled material from earth which was once used for something else.
The earth is 4.54 billion years old and so are we.
We are all connected.
When we report feelings of isolation, we sometimes assume that meeting up with family, friends or colleagues will fix the problem. It is, however, possible to feel isolated in a room full of people.
We can often feel cut adrift when we are disconnected, not from others, but from ourselves.
This happens when we lose our sense of purpose. Of who we are.
Many of us have been furloughed, working from home or unable to work. This can cause a lack of connection to the true, authentic part of us known as the Self.
One of the essential doctrines of Buddhism is the law of Impermanence.
Buddhism teaches us that all of conditioned existence, without exception, is transient, evanescent and inconstant.
That is that nothing lasts forever. Everything including the negative impacts of this crisis will change.
Knowing this can ease us through times of transition and pain.
Here are some practical things to do:
Connect with those who share your home:
· Make time to talk
· Suggest fun activities that you can do together
· Enlist help with in completing useful tasks
· Share your thoughts and offer support to those you live with
Check in with family, friends, colleagues and neighbours via:
· Virtual platform
· Over the fence (at an appropriate distance)
Connect with nature:
· Enjoy a walking meditation
· Exercise outdoors
· Tend to some seedlings or plants
· Play with your pets
Connect to Self:
· Consider your purpose. What is it that you want to do in this life?
· Write a list of your qualities and achievements
· Make time to do one leisure activity that you enjoy every day
· Create something
· Make your home a place which reflects your tastes and interests
Highly ascended spiritual masters spend much time alone but do not suffer from symptoms of isolation. This is because they understand wider connection.
Aspire to be content when in your own company in the knowledge that you are never alone.
A Walking Meditation:
“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the wind longs to play with your hair” Kahil Gibran
Step outside and head to a place of quiet solitude.
Walk towards a place where nature is evident.
It could be a forest, river or mountain.
Or it could simply be a tree or some potted plants in your back yard.
Slow your walking pace and take your awareness to your breathing.
The tidal in and out of your breath.
Be conscious of the life-giving inbreath that you share with all living things
And allow the release of the outbreath to help you to be free of anything that no longer serves you.
Know that your body has its own cycles and rhythms
Your body is made of earth material
Day turns to night and night to day
The moon waxes and becomes full
And then wanes to darkness
The earth, too, has breath.
Take your awareness to your feet
Feel the firm earth pushing up to meet them
Feel the connection with the earth
And all living things
Pause and imagine your connection with the earth as little roots sprouting from the bottoms of your feet and burrowing down into the fertile soil
Become in tune with your senses
Become completely aware of your surroundings in the present moment
Notice what is beautiful
And practise gratitude
Take your awareness to the top of your head
And the sky beyond
Far up above you there are planets and stars
You are a part of it all
Imagine your celestial connection as vibrant rays of warm light reaching up from the top of your head towards the cosmos
And in the centre
One single silver thread
If thoughts of past or future invade
Just gently bring yourself back to this moment in time
It is yours to enjoy right now
Honour your relationship with everything in the natural world.
Recognise its beauty
A sense of oneness
If you have time, sit for a few minutes and be still.
Know your surroundings but rise above your thoughts and just BE
And when you are ready
Bring yourself back to full awareness with a renewed sense of connection
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