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Importance of spiritual practice during the coronavirus outbreak

A message from Yogani about the coronavirus outbreak:

Yoga and Fear During a World Crisis. What to do?

Mar 17, 2020

“There are always going to be ups and downs in the world. It is the nature of the material universe, and our mortal existence. Sometimes the ups and downs can go to extremes. Inevitably, they will. On the up side, it can seem like the the good times will never end, which of course they always do, at least for a time. On the down side, it can sometimes seem like the world is ending, whether it be during war, famine, disease, or economic difficulties. Yet, the extreme downs do come to an end as well, and life goes on.

Extremes in the worldwide human condition can bring extremes in human emotions in individuals and the population as a whole, represented by over-optimism (hubris) on one end of the spectrum, and paralyzing fear (panic) on the other end.

As practitioners of deep meditation and related yoga practices, we gradually become immune to these extreme emotions. They will still be there to a degree, but as we come to find our self more and more established in abiding inner silence, we will witness these emotions as external objects to our awareness, rather than be identified with them as part of our self, suffering through them, and making decisions that may not be in the best interest of ourselves and others. So there is a big advantage in having an established meditation practice, particularly if it has been ongoing for months and years. The longer we have been practicing daily, the stronger our spiritual condition will be, and the less we will suffer, regardless of the severity of any adverse circumstances we may encounter individually, or collectively in society. Ultimately, we can embrace our emotions, and everything else, with love in unity.

During times of crisis, like the pandemic of 2020, most people have been concerned about their health, more-so than their spiritual condition. This is understandable. For those who have a daily practice, there will be a benefit (transcendent witness) reducing the suffering, and it is suggested to keep up practices as best we can within the circumstances we find ourselves. During such times, the greatest influence will be from practices we have done before now, from the past right up to the present.

For those who are beginning practices during a crisis, there can be some immediate relief from fear and suffering, and other blessings in the divine flow that we are less able to quantify. However, it should be pointed out that full abiding inner silence (witness), and all that comes with it, as discussed throughout the AYP lessons, does not happen overnight. It takes time in daily practices to cultivate a strong foundation in stillness, and then developing the ability to move in stillness (divine flow), where our ordinary daily life can take on qualities that may seem miraculous. Longer term practitioners are less prone to the extreme emotions, difficulties and suffering associated with the ups and downs of life. Therefore, we should all become longer term practitioners!

Regardless of our spiritual condition and practices we may be doing, we will all do our best during a time of adversity to relieve suffering for our family, friends, and the world at large. It is times like these that can bring out the best in us. In a time of crisis when lives are at stake, make sure to follow safety guidelines provided by the authorities wherever you live.

In the meantime, we can look forward to the crisis ending, and the inevitable resurgence of bhakti (desire to practice daily), and the spiritual progress that comes with it. Everything is going to be alright.

The guru is in you.”