‘A quiet but enthusiastic student’
Those words were said several times, before being handed to me on my Testimonial Certificate, before my High School Leaving Ceremony. I often preside over them and I can’t decide if I am withdrawn or over excited about life, or maybe somewhere in the middle. I guess, if I can keep the pendulum swinging in the middle, it will get me through this rather unusual and, challenging period, that started in March 2020 in the UK. This was the year of the Coronavirus (Covid19) Pandemic.
My childhood, was, in most parts, a happy and fairly normal one, one that allowed me to be ‘quiet and enthusiastic,’ for as much and, as long, as I wanted to be. I could withdraw to my walls of horses, to my TV, my books, sketch pads and my music. I can also attest to owning my first pair of weights at aged 15, so, there you go, an in-bedroom fully- equipped, cave of isolation. In retrospect, the only time of emergence from my room, was to ride my new, slightly bigger, ‘up graded’ pony, Gazelle, and to attend to my stable duties. Food could be consumed ad hoc and, usually, with the said pony. Creating a calm place of free choice, whilst loving my solitude, was, clearly, a premature and latent existence for where I am today. Even through hours of Yoga study, endless equine clinics and audits, and perpetual dedication to whatever my cause, I believe, that my ‘in house’ preparation was already done.
In the midst of a Pandemic, we are being contained and quarantined, indefinitely. This is both a reflective and submissive human experience that, in all truth, will be a blessing for some creative and divine souls. The writers, the artists and even the quiet and enthusiastic beings, who struggle with the ‘fast track’ mentality, will spring to life, and their hearts will burst open with ideas, that have been buried under the weight of inhumanity and oppression. Lives are now suddenly returning to the four walls of our home and, we now realise, that, the one thing that truly matters, is how we feed our mind, not how we lose our mind.
Albert Einstein, the acclaimed genius, defined insanity, as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. That alone, would surely encourage us to be more creative, and find our ‘cave’ of treasures within our souls. We reach out before we reach in, we grow big before we think small and we manifest ability before we ingest our preparatory needs.
Survival of the fittest is really in the hands of The Cosmos, survival of the mind, is in the hands of the creative. The core message is, about harmony with nature, with others, with your own body, your own mind, harmony in your home, and even being in harmony with your own expectations of life. In a word, Zen.
Zen is an offshoot of Buddhism, which focuses on the emptiness behind the ‘I’ or the ego, Zen is minimalism and mindfulness, it is an empty pause between words or activities. This silence or quiet, blank line, it is a pause, that contributes towards serenity and harmony. It is rather unbalancing and, iconic, that for the Western mind of turmoil, noise, busyness and speed, that, a virus became our gateway to Zen. Some would argue, that this is what was needed, that the constant ‘high speed train of life’ was going to crash and, there were going to be casualties, and now that there are casualties, we are listening. But, we are not listening to Sir David Attenborough speaking about the erosion of our planet, or the activist, Greta Thungberg , protesting about the slaying of the environment, no siree, we are now LISTENING, listening to the Zen. The slow pace, the blank line and, the silence.
‘SLOW DOWN, YOU MOVE TOO FAST
YOU GOT TO MAKE THE MORNING LAST
JUST KICKING DOWN THE COBBELSTONES
LOOKING FOR FUN AND FEELING GROOVY
LIFE, I LOVE YOU, ALL IS GROOVY’
Lyrics from ‘ Feelin’ Groovy by Simon and Garfunkel
Zen and mindfulness, are the paradigm of contemplative practice right now, it is the silent revolution, and, following on its heels, is compassion, something that humanity has been lacking for a long time, and, along with empathy, will, exponentially, bypass the Covid19 curve, like a naturally made antibiotic.
‘When you come out of the storm
You won’t be the same person
That walked in. That’s what
The storm is all about’
Whilst we wait for the storm to pass, we can cultivate a pedagogy for self-compassion and love for others, we can appreciate our ‘home’ within ourselves, and cherish this gift of life that we are privileged to reside in and we can practice meditation and mindfulness.
The most beautiful aspect of all this? Home was within us, the whole time, and, that home is the core of our creativity, the nucleus of our ‘in house’ happiness and the ‘quiet but enthusiastic’ seed of compassion for humanity.