#10: Discovering Our Essence During Challenging Times

We haven’t seen a change and disruption of this scale like the one triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic in most of our living memory. This has unified us with such experiences as collective fear, panic and anxiety to courage, compassion, love and gratitude.

We explore whether this unique time can be an opportune moment to turn the focus of our attention inwards to silently ask, inquire and discover who we are, to discover our True being, our Essence! 

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Transcript of episode #10

Rani
We haven’t been prepared for this right?

Suraj
We are of course talking about the social isolation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike many around the world, we are also in social isolation

Rani
maintaining social distancing…

Suraj
So homeschooling and then be back after the Easter holidays very soon, and they’d be back homeschooling.

Rani
People have already said they’re reluctant homeschoolers. This is what a few of my colleagues had said they’re reluctant homeschoolers

Suraj
And it’s a hard one. Absolutely. And you know what? You know, the kids broke off from school, they’d finished school early before the Easter holidays in the UK, like in many other places as well. And many parents haven’t actually told the kids that they were due an Easter holiday break as well. They kept their school routine going, throughout the holidays. We haven’t been that mean

Rani
Our kids have been very smart. They told us that they had two weeks off,

Suraj
it’s likely they probably started the holidays early actually

Rani
They sure did.

Suraj
It’s been a strange time. Of course. For us, like for many of you families, and households, individuals can’t even imagine how life must be for some people who are on their own, and not being able to visit their families. Our hearts and wishes go out to people who have been affected by the COVID-19 through getting ill and being in hospital.

Rani
And losing loved ones. or some colleagues. We wanted to focus today on finding enjoyment in the ordinary. We intentionally don’t want to talk about fear. And, I think there’s a lot out there about fear. So we don’t want to cover that area. We wanted to cover how do we find enjoyment while you’re in lockdown? How do we find enjoyment in our ordinary?

Suraj
And it’s almost like a new skill we’ve had to learn in recent days and weeks and that’s true of so many families. I’ve spoken to that the very fact that they’re having to spend 24/7 together week in and week out, that’s unlike any time before really and then and even for us, I mean, staying away from office spaces and work, it’s got its challenges. It’s been very tricky at times to get work done.

Rani
You have to work even harder at home because you need to get focus and there is this kid demanding attention You want to go and make sure that there’s something for them to eat. Your phone’s constantly ringing and emails that need your attention. And that’s work. But also when you’re not working, you have the back garden. And if you’re lucky to have a garden back or front, and you can go out once a day for exercise, and you can also go out for buying essentials other than that you’re stuck at home. It’s fascinating, I was thinking about this – In the past, a lot of people used to complain about not having enough time…there’s so much to do, there are too many things that we don’t seem to be able to fit in. And all of a sudden, not everyone, but a lot of people, many people are finding that they have too much time. They don’t know what to do with the time and people are complaining about feeling bored.

Suraj
And it’s been interesting. On the flip side, there have been so many ingenious ways people have found to make contact with each other and to keep relationships growing and to come up with new business ideas and new ways of connecting with schools. going completely digital and the lockdown being imposed on institutions and schools and organizations. And I’m amazed how quickly people seem to have adapted to it. Yeah. I’m amazed at our kids, actually how quickly they adapted to this kind of new technology being thrust on them. They probably, I mean, they’re good anyway, with technology, kids of this generation, even people who previously think were technology phobic. So quite certainly life isn’t going to be the same once we’ve seen the back of the pandemic. And when we try to get back on our feet again and is there going to be a usual path to where we were?

Rani
It’s hard to predict, isn’t it? But coming back to the now, finding enjoyment, in the ordinary. I guess the challenge is what we call boredom. You know you can do so many activities, you can go to social media and you can join different classes. They’re amazing. There are fantastic classes and courses. And yet you can only do so many of them online. And at some point you do long for that, that face-to-face connection going out to the restaurants and having a drink or having a laugh and window-shopping. But what I wanted to touch on is the boredom. And is boredom such a bad thing? Perhaps this is the best time to turn inwards, and reflect, otherwise, we are like on that hamster wheel. We’re constantly chasing one thing after another and we’re complaining that there’s not much to do and definitely the kids are complaining. And obviously we can only think about us and what we can do. You know, I’m not finding it boring at all. I’m finding that things that I used to take for granted, like sitting in the garden and just noticing the birds, noticing the flowers just sitting without doing anything have become very enjoyable. And these are all ordinary things. Even enjoying a cup of tea like chatting to have friends on the phone in the past, we might not have made any fuss about it. It’s like okay, we are talking to a friend. But now because we cannot meet them face to face even talking to them on the phone or Skype or WhatsApp is has become very special. They have become extraordinary actually.

Suraj
Yeah, that’s interesting. The ordinary has taken very extraordinary importance now, isn’t it? Yeah. And my mind is less on what I need to be doing tomorrow, day after next week. And I’m going to find it easier to be in the present moment and enjoy as life unfolds.

Rani
And I have started enjoying my walk with the dog, and in the past, it used to be a chore or I need to take him out again, you know, he’s a small dog but he still needs his walk…

Suraj
It’s one of 10 different things we had to do after getting home from work.

Rani
Absolutely, and now, when you know that you’re only allowed one exercise a day, it becomes something that you enjoy…

Suraj
and look forward to…

Rani
Yeah, absolutely. It’s not anymore like: “Oh, I need to go out with him”. And actually, this is something I’m looking forward to.

Suraj
I hope we remember this time, I hope we remember how we are enjoying this time and relishing the small pleasures of our day to day life, things that we so often took for granted in me. And all that has been possible because we were made to slow down by something a force that is kind of bigger than ourselves, a virus, a being of nature, something that we can’t see with the naked eye.

Rani
And that virus has compelled the whole world to stay home. How fascinating is that? It has compelled the whole world to slow down.

Suraj
And that’s a big opportunity, as Rani said to use this time for ourselves, use this time to look at what we have long neglected to look within, to go on a journey of discovery of who We are because a lot of people are managing to do that. I can’t wait for the world as it will be once we have seen the back of COVID-19 when all these awakened beings come back to this world to pick up the pieces to rebuild with a new sense of creativity, a new sense of purpose, a new sense of alignment with our true selves, our true being and a new sense of alignment with nature, I think, and I hope we get to that. And I hope that’s how it is selfishly, I don’t want to go back to where we had left. So I know that may sound quite selfish in terms of any people who are going through lots of hardships in terms of losing their businesses or livelihoods. But I think there is a HOPE for everyone because ‘business’ couldn’t have gone on as usual. And this was a wake-up call in many respects. It came in the shape of a virus. But it could have been anything else, like an environmental crisis or something thing I see it as a wake-up call.

Rani
So let’s give ourselves permission to enjoy what we can even in these challenging times. Enjoy doesn’t mean that we have to feel joyful and happy and cheerful. Enjoy is just being okay in this present moment, and thankful for the fact that we can still go out once a day for exercise, grateful that neighbours are looking out for one another. And even when you are going off for exercises, people are really acknowledging one another, from far as maintaining the social distance, but there is this acceptance that we are all in this together. And, let’s make the most of these difficult times looking out for one another, reaching out for one another, and treasure the ordinary.