The crisis triggered by a dangerous virus has not only shut down economies around the world but has also revealed a major mental health pandemic of fear, anxiety, and depression that has been simmering under the surface.
Ancient cultures were rooted in a unity between the external and inner worlds with the natural surroundings revered as sacred and infusing the inner world with meaning and purpose.
The disconnect from the inner world
Our modern world is dominated by a sharp duality with an emphasis on the short-term gratifications extracted from the external world and a disconnect from the inner yearnings of the soul.
As we get caught up in the web of the 10,000 distractions the whispers from the inner world become ever greater. But the voice is suppressed in the smokescreen of illusory blasts from the media world. You feel that something is missing in your life when you find that the shine from the new outfit or car you bought fades shortly after the purchase. So what do you do? You go out to buy more “things.”
Exploitation and extraction versus sustainability and caring responsibility
Our consumer culture is a reflection of collective consciousness. The economy is based on the exploitation and extraction of resources from the natural surroundings. In Western culture, this mindset has mainly been created by a false understanding of the Bible scriptures in Genesis 1:28, in which man is given the cultural mandate to subdue and rule over the Earth.
“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that (Heb. creepeth) moveth upon the earth.”
Especially the translations of “subdue” and “dominion” from Hebrew and the Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus, have different meanings. Instead of exploitation, the call to humanity by God is like that to a king to take care of the weaker and the poor in his kingdom. Man is called to preserve the natural beauty of the environment entrusted to him.
How will we survive as a species?
We will only survive as a species when we rediscover the sacred within and regain that unity between the external and internal worlds. The duality we find ourselves in has led to an environmental crisis of unprecedented proportions. We are emptying the seas from fish and polluting it with plastic junk. The extraction of fossil fuels has led to a man-made climate crisis with the highest concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in human history.
The duality between the internal and external has also led to a mental health crisis in much of the industrial world. “The burden of depression and other mental health conditions is on the rise globally,” according to a World Health Organization (WHO) report.
We have lost something elementary in the sacrifice on the altar of materialism. Our mental and physical health is dependent on how we take care of both the inner and external world.
One positive side-effect of the pandemic seems to be that a lot of people are awakening to these realities and seeking solutions. There is a growing sense of introspection and the realization that our problems can only be solved when we all work together as humanity.
Finding solace in the quiet spaces of nature is one way of reconnecting and learning to perceive the whispers of the soul. The current pandemic crisis we find ourselves in is an opportunity to reach out to the core of BEING.
External belief structures are not providing the answers. There is a whole new world within that is waiting to be discovered on the deep walk within.
Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker