Sr Bindu Thomas
On many an idle day have I grieved over lost time. But it is never lost, my Lord.
Thou hast taken every moment of my life in thine own hands.
Hidden in the heart of things thou art nourishing seeds into sprouts,
Buds into blossoms, and ripening flowers into fruitfulness.
The spiritual wisdom of Tagore reflected in the above lines in Gitanjali is a true testimony to the mystical potential of the global lockdown in our times. Human life requires an inward focus from the superficial exuberances of the externalities. Perhaps the lockdown exactly achieves this long-lost balance between the inner and outer for the humanity.
Many of us are living in the grip of fear and uncertainty brought in through COVID-19. We have 24*7 news hour engulfing us, most of which leading to distress and mental chaos. Lives of many people have turned out to be an upheaval from normalcy to uncertainties, ambiguities and unknowns. When and where the voice of spirit should have been awakened, unfortunately, the spirit has been hovered by the natural impulses of fear and panic and worries. With the Churches, Mosques, Temples and other spiritual centres being closed, the indomitable longings of the spirit has been falsely replaced with many rituals that are being executed behind bolted doors worldwide. The psychic effect of the COVID-19 outbreak cannot be overlooked.
Addressing the psychological pandemic caused by the corona pandemic is a call to the spiritual strengthening of the humanity, to realize that the outward luxuries are a compromise with the inner vacuum. Covid-19 outbreak has affected us physically, cognitively and spiritually.Physical response has been very prompt by self-isolation, testing and social distancing. Our mental tensions to certain extent have been taken care of by counselling, yoga and relaxation techniques with a view to boost the immunity too. Spending quality time with the family members and engaging in productive work will have eased mental disturbances and thoughts that lead to discomfort.
However, the spiritual well-being was very little talked-about and catered to. Spiritual wellness may be understood as the most foundational coping mechanism amidst any chaos or pandemic in reference to something greater than oneself with a set of values, principles, morals and beliefs that provide a sense of purpose and meaning to life. Spirituality is the science of the inner self about being blissful in sorrowful times. Spirituality has the potential to make our decisions and choices easier, to ground us during periods of change, and to assure us of our graceful survival in the face of adversity. The spiritual within help us heal the suffering from the physical or the mental. A strong spirit helps survive and thrive with grace, even in the face of difficulty. Spirituality allows us to find the inner calm and peace needed to get through whatever life brings, no matter what one’s beliefs are.
The human spirit is probably the most deserted aspect of one’s life. Just as we exercise to condition our bodies, a healthy spirit is nurtured by purposeful practice. If we take care of our spirit, we will be able to experience a sense of peace and purpose even when life exerts severe blows. Many of the behaviours related with overall wellness are vital components of spiritual wellness. The shared components of spiritual and overall wellness are being positive and optimistic, contributing to society, connecting with others, feeling a sense of belonging, and practicing self-care.
The challenging times of isolation that humanity has been underway, would have been a momentous opportunity for the revival of the Spirit. Prayer during isolation can bring peace, hope and perspective. Spiritual wellness places one in the present without having to worry too much about the past or the future. We learn to appreciate the small things. This is the time to appreciate the things in our lives which we are normally too busy to notice. It is the time to appreciate food and drink, the natural world around us, the sky, the stars and the people who are close to us. Above all, when life is under threat that is the time to be most grateful to the gift of life.
The author is Assistant Professor, Don Bosco College, Maram, Manipur