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  • Writer's pictureMichal George

Mindfulness in the time of Covid

Updated: Jun 15, 2020

It may be that in this time of great uncertainty and stress, when our minds appear to pull our hearts this way and that, that meditation is just about the only thing that still makes sense. Or maybe that it makes more sense than ever before. Either way, there is more grist for the collective meditation mill than there has been in a while. For who on this planet has not been asked to change her life or to let go of something during this turbulent year?

Letting go has largely been associated with releasing those aspects of our experience which we perceive as having a negative impact on our lives and no longer serving us. But when do we ever consider letting go of the things and people we love? Or of our good health? Our financial stability? Yet, for so many of us, this is now the ask.

In 1964 Bob Dylan offered us these words:

Come gather 'round, people

Wherever you roam

And admit that the waters

Around you have grown

And accept it that soon

You'll be drenched to the bone

If your time to you is worth savin'

And you better start swimmin'

Or you'll sink like a stone

For the times they are a-changin’

Come writers and critics

Who prophesize with your pen

And keep your eyes wide

The chance won't come again

And don't speak too soon

For the wheel's still in spin

And there's no tellin' who

That it's namin'

For the loser now

Will be later to win

For the times they are a-changin'

Poets like Dylan explore universality and timelessness, which in my understanding makes them prophets. And his words appear as relevant now as they would have been in the 60s. To interpret them from the perspective of contemplative psychology and mindfulness, is to remember that as the planet hits the collective pause button at this time, that there is an opportunity to gather and consider who we are individually, in relation to each other, and to our environment — remembering that fundamentally there is no us and them, that there is one consciousness, one beating heart. In order not to drown under that weight of our anxieties, we sit on our meditation cushions, and in this space of silent illumination of the present, we cultivate trust in our present moment experience — whatever it is.

The times are always changing. There is nothing to hang on to. This appears to be a timeless and universal truth. We are constantly asked to deal with this and that, and at this time the demands have grown exponentially. But if we slow down enough, then patience can inform our responses to the challenges we are asked to address. We sit quietly. Together and alone. We breathe. In and out, in out. Our minds move. We notice our preferences and judgements, and allow them to drift on, knowing that this — just this, is enough.

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