This is certainly a weird and challenging time for us.
When we pass through times of such upheaval our structures of governance can be found wanting, and our resistance to change and adaptation is laid bare before us.
We are called for radical thought and action, not for the sake of change but with the knowledge of masters who have understood our true nature and whose words are still relevant.
One such teacher, Kahlil Gibran, is among my favourites. To me he had a masterly grasp of humans and our foibles. Gibran warned us of our disconnection from nature and spoke against our tendency for urban dwelling, of the need to return to the country and nature.
He spoke of the constricting nature of locking ourselves in houses and seeking comfort above all else. He spoke of our house representing our larger self:
“It grows in the sun and sleeps in the stillness of the night; and it is not dreamless. Does not your house dream? And dreaming, leave the city for grove or hilltop?
Would that I could gather your houses into my hand, and like a sower scatter them in forest and meadow.
Would the valleys were your streets, and the green paths your alleys, that you might seek one another through vineyards, and come with the fragrance of the earth in your garments.”
In this time of lockdown our way of life has been reduced mostly to our homes and houses and we feel trapped, our spirit confined on both a physical and a mental level.
As Gibran goes on to say, if we become too attached to the luxury of our homes then our homes will no longer be an anchor to our wandering but a mast we are lashed to when the ship sinks.
It is time to return to nature, to once again find our way back to that greater self that can be as diverse and as magnificent as nature itself.
We have locked ourselves away and built structures that have lost their contact with nature and therefore with life. This is going to be the challenge of this decade and especially this year and next.
The answer is not that we all move to the country, but that we start to prioritise differently and recognise how closely our physical and mental health is connected to the natural world. Our dis-ease comes from our disconnection to nature.
We do not have the resources on this earth for every life to be lived in luxury surrounded by endless consumerism. But there is more than enough if we learn to end the competition and learn again to share.
It is such an often-repeated phase in families with young children, ‘Please share that toy with your brother/sister!’ And yet most people are almost totally unwilling to share but prefer to take and hold. Sharing is one of the most important dynamics of love for when we commit to our partners it is that choice to share.
Nature can teach us to share, starting with the very essence of life, breath. As we breathe out nature breathes back to us, every breath is a sharing and is sacred. Breath is life and life is the gift of nature. We forget that at our own peril.
Time for us to relearn the lessons of sharing while also letting our minds and souls expand and escape this confinement, for the physical confinement we find ourselves in is a reflection of what we have done to our minds.