This was originally published in October 2020 and now again with some edits. A year has passed and here we are, again!
Currently, I’m thinking of those in solitary confinement whether it be in prison in one’s home or some other way of being incarcerated. There is indeed a lot of ‘confinement’ going on in this world at the moment. It has ever been thus I imagine. Yes, physical isolation has such devastating consequences on the psyche as well as, of course, physically, emotionally and spiritually. All creatures suffer in their depth when in isolation and confinement, the evidence is clear to see. It’s not their choice and is largely imposed from the outside. Such situations etch away at the human ‘spirit’. This has to be more than lamentable. Here is a quote linked to this business of disempowerment.
In isolation, man remains in contact with the world as the human artifice; only when the most elementary form of human creativity, which is the capacity to add something of one’s own to the common world, is destroyed, isolation becomes altogether unbearable… Isolation then becomes loneliness.
As I contemplate ‘renewal’, spiritual renewal, the matter of exercising choice has been exercising me, in my thoughts and to some degree my actions as well. This is because I believe choice has to be exercised to make it real, to make manifest the individual’s ability and ‘power’ to BE individual within the collective world. This brings choice directly to the core of Buddhist practice, formal meditation. Politics (the exercising of power) is clearly in the picture in terms of exercising choice, or personal agency, however it is not at that level I am speaking.
Onwards to a look at setting aside and planning for time with yourself. Formal meditation has a unique place in our lives which I point to at the start of this post. At no other time do we chose to do nothing in such an absolute way – for a sustained length of time with nobody standing over us making us sit there! Then emerging into daily life, the heart of meditation comes with us where we navigate the not altogether easy world of the opposites.
That’s the world we live in. Accept it, with bows.