How Long Will This Go On?

By Gurudevi Nirmalananda

While you’ve gotten used to the pandemic lifestyle, your mind still asks about the future. You can look at the latest statistics, find out about the vaccines being tested and learn about different types of masks.  But there’s still no way to know how long this will go on.  For now, you’re stuck.  Some say we could have a vaccine in a few months.  Others say we’re in this for two years or more.   How do you handle yourself in an unpredictable world?

Living in the future clearly doesn’t work well.  It never did.  I like to think of the pandemic as a wonderfully orchestrated lesson on how to live in the here and now.  Simplifying your life is easy when you cannot go anywhere and have to cook more.  So many yogic principles are now proving their value, not only to you but to everyone.

This feels to me like an unprecedented sacred space.  Each of us is living in our own sweet sanctuary, poking our heads out a little, crawling back in for days on end.  I feel an eerie and delicious resonance with fuzzy almost-memories of lifetimes past, being a yogi in a cave or a nun in a cell.  Time stretches into timelessness, making it hard to track the days, weeks and months.  It’s even hard to remember what “normal” was like.  Wasn’t it a bit speedy, even crazy?

I’m loving modern technology while I live in this time warp.  From the blender that makes smoothies to the internet that keeps me connected, I relax into this amazing yet ephemeral support.  Then I watch it disappear when the power goes out.  What now?  All that’s left is to delight in being cut off, settling into the stillness, even sweating through the humid night.  Yes, it reminds me of my childhood and of India, both at the same time.

What a precious time this is.  With the many challenges it brings, it’s still something to be treasured.  One day you’ll say, “I remember the pandemic…”  What stories will you tell?  Maybe you’ll talk about having done more yoga than ever before.  Maybe you’ll describe how your meditations deepened, simply because you had fewer distractions and more time.  Maybe you’ll describe the inner strength and deeper sense of purpose that blossomed forth.  Or maybe you’ll name the movies that you watched multiple times. Life is what you make of it.  You get to choose what you will focus on, what you will accomplish — or not.  It’s called free will, a Divine quality that is part of your human toolkit.  Instead of wondering when you can go back to what you used to do, you could invest yourself in what you’re doing now.  Or you could change it to something that would be more meaningful or fulfilling for you.  For myself, I always say, “Do more yoga.”

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