Self Care Series #4

Via | Sid Jordan | April 22nd 2020

Where did the coronavirus come from?  What is our responsibility towards the plant, animal and inanimate world?  How could better care of these elements of the environment serve them and us better?  This appreciative inquiry from a moral and scientific point of view might bode well for the general welfare or all beings animate and inanimate.

It has become well understood that we are interconnected with all elements of the environment, but we don’t seem to adopt a life style that follows what we rationally know about these connections.  We continue to destroy the forest and oceans’ vegetation that provides most of our oxygen.  We slaughter animals for consumption that are fed growth hormones, have a high acidic nutritional content and may be the source of many virulent viruses for humans.  We pollute our water resources with fracking and oil spills.  To cap off this irrational behavior we pollute the air we breath with uncapped carbon emissions.  As one French scientist put it, “We are drowning in our own waste.”    We choose competition for inequitable economic gains over choices for a healthier more cooperative life that honors humans, plants, animals and the inanimate world.   The so-called inanimate world consists of the chemical elements of the living cells of our biological being, the calcium of our bones, the iron in our blood, the oxygen we breath.  The self that we inhabit is an extension of all these elements of the environment.

Throw in the pandemic and its time to scream “Overload!”  But, enough of the problem.  What can individuals do to combat the stress of it all in their smaller circle?  

Your small circle is a microcosm of the big macrocosmic circle.  My spiritual mentor after telling me to, “Do something great for the suffering humanity,” sees how overwhelmed I am with this request and holds his right thumb and forefinger close together and tells me that “Something small can be great.”  Then he leans forward toward me with his thumb and forefinger and pushes the corners of my mouth up saying, “Smile a little.”  (This was long before the pandemic demand for social distancing.)

So, the question is what can we do concretely to serve all beings in this time of crisis and beyond?   Depending on your level of energy, time available, and individual gifts, you may choose something small, medium or large to offer to yourself and others.  To help us with these kinds of choices, John Pine, who we just lost to the COVID-19 virus, puts it in a song, Hello In There.  His poetic lyrics say:

“So if you’re walking down the street sometime
And spot some hollow ancient eyes
Please don’t just pass ’em by and stare
As if you didn’t care, say, “Hello in there, hello”

These opportunities are in front of us.  Adopt a stray cat.  Water your plants.  Compost everything you can.  Eat healthily and slowly until comfortably full.  Feed the homeless.  Conserve water.  Give all the stuff you will never use to those who need it.  Start a garden and share what you grow with the community.  Dance and sing with others online.  Start a support group on line for the sole purpose of support; let everyone define it together.  As Bucky Fuller says, “The next step in evolution is learning to live together.”

If you are in a position to serve the larger community now and beyond the crisis you might explore P. R. Sarkar’s social philosophy of Neohumanism (NH) which espouses a love of all creation, animate and inanimate: people, animals, plants and the inanimate world.   This NH expands the heart, liberates the mind and serves all beings.   Key to implementing a Neohumanist society is the Neohumanist education movement:   Neohumanist schools, pre-k through colleges, exist in many countries around the world.  On the French Broad River near Marshall, NC, we have a Mountain Breeze Preschool and a developing Neohumanist College of Asheville  associated with the Prama Institute and Wellness Center. 

NH is closely related to P.R. Sarkar’s PROUT (Progressive Utilization Theory) economics   that supports the universal distribution of five minimum necessities for everyone which include food, clothing, housing, medicine and education.   PROUT supports developing local economies based on employee owned cooperatives and moral leadership that prevents exploitation of one group by another. 

Regardless of the level we choose to serve, this pandemic is teaching us that our individual fate is inextricably interwoven with our collective future.  That future is likely to be a product of our shared global vision that we choose to act upon.     

About The Author

Dr. Sid Jordan (Acarya Vishvamitra) has combined a career as a licensed clinical psychologist and meditation teacher since 1971.  As a clinical psychologist, he taught individual, group and family psychotherapy, meditation, yoga and community psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at the Medical University of S. C. from 1969-93.  During this period he also served for five years as director of the Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Services at the Franklin C. Fetter  Neighborhood Health Care Center in Charleston S. C.

In 1994 he moved to Asheville NC to develop an eco-village to support the service community of Ananda Girisuta (Blissful Daughter of the Mountain) on the French Broad River near Marshall, NC.  In 1997 he trained to be an Ananda Marga Family Acarya (Yoga Teacher) in India committed to giving personal instructions in meditation and yoga.  He currently serves as president of the Ananda Marga Gurukula Inc. Board in the US, supporting Neohumanist Education k-colleges worldwide. He is Director of the Prama Institute on the Ananda Girisuta property where he helps direct programing and teaches yoga psychology and spiritual practices.  At the Prama Wellness Center he teaches yoga therapy and stress management to individuals and groups.   He continues to offer his 40 years of experience and teaching of yoga psychology, philosophy and practices to audiences worldwide.

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