Spring Buds in a Time of Crisis
Every morning, these days, we wake up to an unfolding spring, even more birds singing, new
buds in the trees, more flowers blooming. And every morning we wake up to the news about
the current pandemic in the world. Infection rates rising, death toll rising. More countries
closing their borders, more individual restrictions in order to slow the infection rate.
How do we respond?
How do we respond to the birdsong, the gifts from the Earth, the beauty
of life? And how do we respond to the news about the pandemic crisis? Is there something
that connects both? How does this crisis affect our attitude and our spiritual practice, as it
certainly affects our lives?
I’ve recently noticed that over the last few weeks I had changed my personal view every
single day and realised there is and maybe must be a process for each of us. A little
ashamed about my different reactions – rather than responses, like counter-reaction to
collective panic – a certain attitude emerged from a growing awareness that stayed with me:
Listening, listening deeper.
What are the “signs on the horizon”? What is asked from us, from me individually? Is there a
deeper meaning, deeper than fear and anxiety and the attitude of “war against the virus” that
we hear and sense in the world? I tried to listen to something deeper, an inner light – which is
always there, whether we are aware of it or not. And others are listening too, of course, and
we find out that there is a chance for us, an opportunity.
Oneness and interconnectedness
We know, when the astronauts were seeing the planet from space for the first time, this was
a shift in consciousness. There is one Earth, one planet, utterly precious. We are all
interconnected on this beautiful blue marble. One destiny, one soul.
But decades later we as humanity find ourselves being caught even more in a mindset of
separation and domination toward the Earth, all species and each other. We would not have
thought that it is, of all things, a contagious virus that becomes the space shuttle for all of us.
From which we watch the planet as one organism. That teaches us that we are
interconnected in ways we do not realize and have completely forgotten. Interconnected, of
course, over the whole planet. Not as consumers or as global corporations, but as vulnerable
human beings on a vulnerable Earth.
There are two different ways to respond: We have the opportunity to decide, if we respond
with love and compassion or with desires of the ego and instinctual drives, that is, with
separation and division. The virus brings sickness and even death, and suffering. If we allow
for the pain reaching us, instead of anxiety and despair, we will feel it in our hearts. And we
are asked to respond with compassion and love.
To respond with love and care requires us to witness what is happening, to face it
consciously and not to ignore it. We are asked to grow up which means to be able to witness
suffering and darkness without falling in collective despair and anxiety.
Awareness of the Inner World. Intuition and Inner Relationship
The physical retreat and isolation which is, from a medical point of view, required from us and
necessary, does not mean we are really separated.
One reason for the present state of the world is that we have focused on the material world in
a way that we have forgotten the immaterial, the inner worlds, and how they both, matter and
spirit, belong together. In other words: We as a humanity have forgotten the sacred within
life, within creation, within our bodies, within the body of the Earth. The light, the
soul. Materialism and consumerism have eaten up and choked the sense of a nourishment
for our souls and the soul of the world. It is no more part of humanity’s consciousness that we
have the power and capacity to relate to the inner, invisible world and to each other, invisibly
and beyond the physical plane and physical connection.
As mystics we know and do experience that we can ‘meet in the night’ — which means not in
our physical bodies. We are not separated through space, nor through time.
This inner knowing, and to live this knowing, can be awakened and affirmed in these times of
When outer borders are being closed we can begin again to open up our inner borders. And
the borders we have built between the inner and outer world. We can devote ourselves again
to the feminine wisdom inside of all of us that shows us how to communicate, to be in
relationship to each other and to the inner worlds.
Yes, we have internet (and hope it remains like this), so we luckily have non-physical
possibilities to connect. So it is easy to believe that we do not need to activate intuition and
our relationship to the inner worlds.
Yet this does not nourish our souls in the long run, as it cannot replace meaning and light
that is shared in a personal touch or smile. Also, of course, an inner connection does not
‘replace’ a physical hug, but like a physical touch it carries love and light and gives us
meaning and nourishes the soul.
For the Earth, with the Earth
You might have seen the satellite views, the before and after pictures. Clear skies over China
after weeks of dealing with the Corona crisis.
We have been choking the Earth with our CO2 emmissions as a result of our way of life, our
consumerism and materialism. The greater awareness of a “climate crisis” (which is an
understatement, because it is more than a crisis) did not lead to the acceptance of the need
to fundamentally change our way of life. To step back from our consumerism and ever
growing economy, the so-called “freedom” to take an airplane whenever we want, and to live
more simply. Green economy yes, green technology, yes, but please no change of life, no
renunciation. No politican dares to speak about this, even no green one, it is just completely
unpopular. But suddenly, humans are prepared to renounce this life- style. We can witness, it
Even if the main cause of our willingness to step back from superficial pleasures that distract
us, as bars and clubs in cities close down, and to refrain from holidays flying all over the
planet, even if the cause might be fear of being contaminated and getting sick, we see and
watch, for the first time, it is possible.
The chance is: If we are able to transform that fear into a deeper feeling of care and love for
the Earth and each other, we could be able to transit to another way of life.
We have the chance to listen to the birds again, to be thankful for what the Earth is giving us.
There is more space in our lives to do so, as the usual noise slows down. And if more of us
can return to experiences like this, pathways could open to relate to the inner light, to the
soul. We can again listen to the Earth herself.
If at this moment we do not cover the Earth with a dense veil of collective fear and despair
and even more growing egoism (nationalism), we can be able to listen to her voice, the voice
of the Earth that at the moment is being carried by some air to breathe. It is only a very small
gap, a small opportunity, a door that is open for a very short moment.
Solitude as the Vast Space for Light
For centuries solitude was reserved for monks and hermits, and a few people in
contemporary spiritual environments. Solitude does not have a place in modern life,
except for her shadow brother called loneliness. But solitude is different from loneliness.
In a noisy and too busy world, we have unlearned to be in solitude, we are even afraid of it
and tend to run away from it. Now countless people in the world, on the entire planet, are
forced to retreat to their homes and to stay there in more or less solitude.
After the first shock in the wake of something completely unusual, we can realize there is a
space that opens up. There is air to breathe. Whereas the outer space is constricted, the
inner space expands and widens. The heart has a chance to be listened to. The body has a
chance to be listened to. So do our dreams in the night, our reflections on our lives.
And if we have children and they need to stay at home, due to shut downs of schools, they
too have the chance that we really listen to them.
Yes, it is not easy to change our daily routine, and it is a big challenge for families, single
parents especially, for people who still need to work in service to public health and services
of general interest, and also a challenge for many people who are artists or self-employed to
maintain their living. Those difficulties cannot just be removed. Nor can we avoid the worries
about loved ones who might be sick or the grief of losing those who might die. And yet we
can live our daily life now from another place inside, from that vast, spacious place that offers
a certain light, a meaning of life. In solitude we have space to pray, to meditate, to sing and
play, to cook our meals with love. To care for others.
We can get a taste of a new (and ancient) way of life, sustainable inwardly and outwardly.
We can breathe as well as the Earth can breathe.
From this space that is given to us at the moment, from love and care, healing can be born.
There is always an individual choice.