These are unprecedented times. Political leaders and news outlets leave no doubt. Unprecedented circumstances. Unprecedented stress. Unprecedented global coordination. Unprecedented response. COVID-19 is exceptional. Unprecedented indeed, as we bear witness to that which has never happened before… just like every other day of our ever-unpredictable existence… and just like all moments throughout modern, human, earthly, and universal history. All is unprecedented and always will be. COVID-19 returns our awareness to this infallible law of nature. Those who embrace it are gifted guidance to supreme adaptability and unshakable wellbeing.
You see, I have a bone to pick with Unprecedented. The word bails out our panicked response to unexpected circumstances. Unprecedented suggests that we’ll eventually return to “normal”... whatever that is. Remember how unstable the world was pre COVID-19? We’re misguided to make it a buzzkill to our 21st century party. 2019 was a rollercoaster in its own right. The future was, and still is, the wild West. All is unprecedented and always will be.
Yet humans are addicted to stability. We endlessly scrutinize the frozen past and project the holographic future in pursuit of security. Entire industries capitalize on this obsession as a lucrative service, while countless job functions appease its associated anxieties. Analysts, planners, and strategists rebuild timelines, spreadsheets, and forecasts through unprecedented times, hamster wheel style. Those workers are maniacally busy right now… but hey, at least they still have a job in a thriving industry. That’s right, we’re control freaks who believe our future wellbeing depends on our skill as such.
Thankfully there’s a way out of this pit of controlling despair. Ascension up the spiral staircase is granted via a “spiritual awakening journey”. That’s right, go ahead, choose your favorite meme and elevate courageously. Some of us are forced to grab its handrail in the wake of pain and trauma. Others approach the staircase on their own terms, out of growing curiosity for their wellbeing or personal development. For the latter crowd, Mindfulness is often the first step. Mindful practices lead to greater awareness of the present moment. Here and now, we learn to observe our thoughts rather than associate with them as cold-hard-truth. Observation reveals how unfounded our mind’s incessant chatter, brutal gossip, and harsh judgments often are. When left unchecked, the looping storylines, and our reaction to them, severely distress us. Stress related dis-ease manifests as failures in our immune system and physical body. Remember that viruses rely on compromised hosts to spread.
Mindfulness exposes the fearful nature of our commanding inner voice. This is the character running hysterically through the mirrored hallways of our brains amidst COVID-19… “My god, unprecedented times, what the f**k will we do?? Our painstakingly crafted future plans are obliterated!” Believe it or not, the only way to diffuse this menace is by observing its existence and patterns. Only then can we recognize that much of what we think is self sabotaging. The more popular booze bottle, prescription meds, and chronic escapism only provide temporary relief. The true quality of our living experience reflects the quality of our untampered minds. Techniques like yoga and meditation teach us that we have serious control over what we think. Practicing them allows us to live each moment as a more engaging, creative, calm, spontaneous, and grateful representation of our true selves.
Mindfulness elevates us to the flight of Faith. Faith is the complete trust and confidence in someone or something. In a spiritually bankrupt Western world, many individuals put Faith in themselves, their financial advisors, elected officials, or God forbid, their preferred news channel. These self-serving humans bounce blindly through an unpredictable existence. How’s that working out for us? I played the competitive game of Individualism for 27 years. Now, I put my Faith in a higher power… aka spirit, source, the universe, “it”, or God. Grand Organizing Design. Faith in God boils down to this core principle… all is as it must be, all is perfect, no matter what, always. Only an unchecked mind spoils the beauty of this divine law. Faith asks that we surrender completely to a higher power. This obliteration of perceived control terrifies us. And in return? God reveals profound lessons, opens new doors, softens sharp pains, and fuels an enthusiastic zest for a purposeful life through all circumstances.
Most importantly, Faith unlocks infinite reserves of adaptability. No characteristic is more vital for surfing the waves of unprecedented times than one’s adaptability quotient (AQ). Relationship health, career success, mental wellbeing, and opportunity spotting depend on it. Embrace all that is with resilient creativity. AQ masters are the calm leaders in raging storms. AQ masters blaze new trails while the super highways of our tired systems crumble. AQ masters shrug off challenges to spot opportunistic through lines in real time. They are supercharged by Faith and sport the most desirable modern tool belt on the planet.
Coming back to COVID-19, the disease highlights spirituality’s role in our ongoing sanity and survival. The new earth paradigm will be built by Faithful AQ masters who respond to unprecedented times with an open mind and embrace unpredictable circumstances with an open heart. All change-resistors will be destroyed in time; individuals, systems, cultural norms, governments, and corporations alike. COVID-19 is a preview of challenges to come. We’re never going back... isn’t it obvious at this point? We never have gone back. We never will. The better world is ahead for those who adapt.
We’ll get there. However, like an individual’s awakening journey, the collective process is not easy or linear. We must purge staleness to make space for all that is in alignment with our highest good, right now...and now....and now again. Humanity will encounter immense pain and suffering on the path to love, peace, joy, and ecological harmony. Lessons will be repeated dozens of times in different guises along the way. God has lofty plans for us and mother earth has dwindling patience for our progress. Our doors will be knocked on over and over until we invite change in for a cup of tea.
Get your china ready. We’ll be enjoying a lot of tea, as COVID-19 is but one lesson in an eternal sequence of them. The collective ringer will eventually destroy mankind’s futile control biases. Fear of the unknown will be eradicated while Faithful adaptability reigns supreme. We can guess which gardens of existential threat these next challenges will grow from… climate crisis, financial collapse, food shortage, and everything else you read about in the news pre COVID-19 fascination. A word to the wise… invest your spare energy into personal and spiritual growth, rather than stressing over when, where, and how the next challenge will present itself. It’s all coming. Prepare yourself appropriately. Faithful humans will ADAPT, rising to every unprecedented challenge with presence and unconditional love. Those who cannot adapt will perish. This is called evolution. Your keys for adaptive survival are deep breaths, prayer, trust, and gratitude. Believe it. Build strength by practicing mindful presence and authentic connection with humans and nature. Practice for you. Practice for your loved ones. Develop Faith for us all and our planet. I’ll see you on the other side of evolution, my friends. And remember, all is unprecedented and always will be.