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How to RESTRUCTURE YOURSELF in Pandemic Times: 7 Stages of Reinvigoration

How to RESTRUCTURE YOURSELF in Pandemic Times: 7 Stages of Reinvigoration

Posted on November 23, 2020 by yogaandrini


We love predictability. However, every now and then life takes unpredictable turn. Let us understand the seven stages that we are going through in the on-going pandemic and how to achieve the best outcome – morally, physically and spiritually.

 

The First stage is DENIAL.

We always accept some discomfort. We are ready for it. But only so much.

The prolonged change of the circumstances brings profound instability to our thinking process. Think of the people in countries that are going through terrible political or economic upheaval. At first, there is a profound denial that such a life-threatening situations is real and that the political machinery will not allow apocalyptic break down of law and order. A striking example is erstwhile Yugoslavia, particularly Bosnia. In Bosnia with its multi-ethnic composition and utter interdependence of ethnic groups in daily life, denial was well pronounced. At the onset of the skirmishes, in 1992, Bosnia held a large rock concert in the capital Sarajevo, bringing together the best of the rock, pop and folk musicians. The vast gathering of 50,000 “deniers” from all ethnic groups vowed to keep the country and long-nurtured ideology of brotherhood intact. The resolve lasted for about three days before the country descended irreversibly into the worst ethnic cleansing and conflict since WWII on the European continent.

The emotional feelings of universal good or much-desired status quo are often counter-productive to the analytical thinking and its farsightedness. Not to upset existing formation of life is a sign of fear; and fear is the root of denial.

In the times of pandemic, we may encounter denial in many forms, running through most of the societies, from misinformation to refusal to use protective gear and keep good hygiene. Denial not need be total. Even a partial denial is harmful as it hinders - out of fear of change - analytical thinking and logical and realistic assessment of the unfolding situation. 

 

The Second is ANGER.

After denial, anger moves in swiftly on the wind of restlessness. Anger is the result of being displaced and feeling insecure. It is also a result of the inability to influence events – and the feeling of sheer helplessness. 

Bhagavad Gita, the Hindu Holy book gives stellar insight into the nature of anger.

 

“The Supreme Lord said: It is lust alone, which is born of contact with the mode of passion, and later transformed into anger. Know it as the sinful, all-devouring enemy in the world.”

(Bhagavad Gita 3.37)

 

“Lust” is a term for desire, for enjoyment. Once a human being is restricted to sensual gratification in the physical or mental or emotional realm his/her world shrinks - and it shrinks considerably. Desire is a product of the mode of passion, as stated in the Bhagavad Gita. “Passion” is nothing but activity tied to a desired outcome. If we don’t get such an outcome or an outcome close to the desired, the despondency sets in. Despondency results in psychological upheaval, in which the shrinkage of the brain, heart and the rest of the physical body occurs. Long-term effects such as clouding of the mind occur in those unable to control anger and its fuel – desire. 

The inability to control the outcome induces anger and, as the Gita states, it is an all-devouring enemy of the world. Anger is a result of the fear that we will be unable to ensure our security. It is a sign of weakness, of doubt in our ability to comprehend and control what is happening to us.

The remedy is to desire less, to control less and do what has to be done for the sake of duty. This is hard to accept, because the mind and reason will always, almost always, side with the desire. Desire is “naturally” attached to the sense of security in this ever-insecure world and that isn’t negotiable. The analytical mind can discern between genuine security and a falls sense of security and does what has to be done. 

 

Anger comes easy. Controlling it with an all-inclusive higher understanding requires discipline of the intellect and spirit.

 

The Third is NEGOTIATION.

Once we understand that neither denial nor anger will solve the problem, humans can be utterly pragmatic – and negotiate new favourable terms and conditions.

Considering the dynamic of the situation the negotiations could swing either way – weighing the pros and cons of the new deal.

If crisis situation, such as pandemic, continues to rage and shows no sign of abating, however, no deal will hold up. That is when we enter the fourth stage.

 

The Fourth is DESPAIR.

Despair is a dangerous state of mind, where cynical acts and acts of great terror come about. It is a state of utter weakness, the state of no foreseeable solution. When you have nothing to lose your acts become powerful. We can attest this from the pages of history. The greatest changes were triggered by desperate situations. Hence the cunning rulers are those who keep their subjects on the leash of relative comfort, where desires of the subjects are fulfilled to some degree to keep them complacent and away from desperate acts.

Everyone needs power. Power is required to sustain. Even getting out of the bed requires power. Therefore, being empowered is to survive and live well. Desperate people will turn to acts that they think establish their power – in doing so forsaking all the reason, values and humanitarian considerations - even in the name of righteousness.  For power of survival surmounts all else.

Prolonged despair produces nihilism and to the desperate mind, the power of destruction seems to be the only thing that can counteract despair.  

Despair is a state that requires deep healing; for its norm is darkness of the spirit. Despair is by far the most pronounced and common state of the mind. Most of the people are in some sort of despair be it due to economic difficulties, illnesses, life challenges or more.

Therefore, we should transform despair with the strength of intellect and its power of discrimination, into reconciliation.

  

The Fifth is RECONCILIATION.

This is the stage of realism. We have to understand that nature is HUMONGOUS and we are so tiny in comparison, and so utterly at her mercy. Coming to reconciliation is a sign of understanding these things:

to assess the situation critically, without the emotional baggage based on hard facts and data. 

 

The question here is: “Okay, this is the situation, but how I can swim best in it?”

 

With reconciliation the best of our intellect and comprehension develops. 

The best political successes are those that have come about through reconciliation. Two opposing sides, from their natural polarities, come to the middle and leave the past or situation behind. Think of Good Friday agreement, in 1998, between North Ireland, Ireland and UK. The same process has to happen within us: 

An existing order has to acknowledge the new situation in which the old order has become ineffective and irrelevant, and work out what it needs to do in the new world of never-ending opportunities. The state of reconciliation is a state of assessing new opportunities. An analytical mind will be able to comprehend it and make the most of the new, evolving situation.

Nothing lasts. Neither will this pandemic or any other. If you observe and witness the five stages, you’ll be able to acknowledge them and begin healing. If you don’t acknowledge them, you’ll run through them the hard way. Unconscious way, where you’ll shift the blame on others. Healing is a realization: all beings are ONE. There is no such thing as: “You take care of your health. I shall take care of mine.” We are so deeply interconnected that action on one side produces the reaction on the other. The pendulum swings and when it swings back, it doesn’t stop in the middle, but dashes in its full velocity on the opposite side. Life is the same because Nature counteracts one extreme with another. It has to because this is the only way to bring balance to life. If we observe nature, it always strives for balance. Hence, going through these five stages contemplatively will make you observant. 

 

Reconciliation is a natural step toward leadership.

 

The Sixth is LEADERSHIP.

Leadership is a position that comes out of a sense of duty. It is a duty to humanity, to the world, to God to set life right. Stability is the cornerstone of civilisation; civilisation generates knowledge; and knowledge generates a good life – one with meaning.

When all that’s familiar and stable has been reduced to ashes, someone has to rise out and be the torchbearer of life. We have seen it countless times throughout history.

With leadership comes ideas. Ideas are a powerful generator and regenerator of life. 

Not all leadership is benevolent. If you find yourself following the leaders of fake news that are exacerbating denial, anger and despair, then you should find those, or become one of them, who understand the value of life and its interconnectedness. For example, yoga embodies interconnectedness of the body, mind and spirit and practicing, and it will expand the universal sense of interconnectedness.  A real leader strives for alignment, for a harmony, where no doubt is left behind and the course of action is clear as well as benevolent.

Leadership starts with the ability and willingness to correct all things that are out of balance in your life before you command others to do so in theirs. Whether it’s making your bed daily and doing dishes or disciplining your mind and body, leadership means taking charge of a difficult situation to turn it around.

While leadership is an exalted position, life doesn’t culminate in leadership alone. The quest is always for a higher power. This brings us to the final stage.

 

The Seventh is MEDITATION.

No one is happy all the time, happiness comes and goes between intervals of worry, pain and despair. The wise ones of the yore understood well the fragility of life, and equally, the brazenness of nihilism permeating human consciousness. They concluded that meditation is the remedy.

 

“One pointedness is concentration. An unbroken continuation of that mental ability is meditation. When only the consciousness of the object of meditation remains and not of the mind - that is absorption.”

 

(Yoga Sutra 3.1-3)

 

The chain of thought is disturbed by the incessant flow of information from multiple sources into the mind. The real processor is the intellect, which, if not trained with reasoning and yogic discipline, will invariably allow the damaging guests, like Denial, Anger and Despair to enter your mental habitat and ransack it. 

Coupled with virtue, the meditation is a powerful conduit to an understanding of the self, world and beyond.

Meditation, or the need to answer the question “Why” is one of those life essentials, like food, sex and security. It is the fourth pillar of a stable life. Those who have internalized the previous six stages, through experience or analysis will endure on the path of virtue, by the strength of meditation, even when the world is facing calamities that seem apocalyptical.  

 

How does the process of meditation unfold? 

 

The highest equal-minded realization known as the “Cloud of Virtue” comes to one who remains undistracted even in the highest intellectualization. This is the result of discriminative discernment.

 

(Yoga Sutra 4.29)

 

For there is one thing: never lose yourself in the fog of confusion.

 

Stay safe!

 

Light,

Franz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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