As human beings, we are under the impression that we can control our environments. We spend so much time trying to control the way we look, the people we have in our lives, how we progress in our careers, material statuses, perceived weaknesses or strengths…
We are planning for the beautiful sunny days and preparing for the rainy ones. We’ve been shown that we can interact and co-create with the Divine in the material world, as a result, we may have become a bit expectant of timely results.
As we sit in a time of so much uncertainty with a global pandemic on our hands, we may be pondering our stresses and trying to gain some security in the face of upheaval.
In the Stone Age, when we didn’t know where to go or have paved ways, we relied on our instincts. These instincts are the hardwired behavioral patterns that give us ideas of what to do in certain environments with various stimuli.
In the days before we had so many options, it may have been easier to follow and trust that we would know the right thing to do. We lived in the moment, having confidence in ourselves during uncertain times. We lived with mindfulness knowing we could cross the bridge when we came to it. Through being fully present on the journey, we would be able to make the best decision in that moment.
We’ve had a lot of experience with controlling various aspects of our environment. Perhaps this has brought us further away from our natural instincts and the trust that we have the capability to make the right decisions for ourselves.
With so many options, we may lose satisfaction because we’re spoiled for choice. Sometimes it’s with little, or no, options that we learn to be content and satisfied with what is. I wonder how many of us would have described ourselves as “satisfied” or “fulfilled” before the pandemic, in times of “certainty”.
What are the challenges that we are all facing, together, during this time when we aren’t sure what comes next? Our experiences in the western world have had most of us wrestling with justified or unjustified anxiety for most of our adult lives.
Up until this time, where we have been forced to pause in the face of COVID-19, most of us have been rushing around from one thing to the next, trying to tick all the boxes and get it all done.
During the hustle and bustle of daily life, a lot of us have been looking forward to the end of the day where we can just take a deep breath. Now, all we can do is take deep breaths and figure out where to go from here.
Our human brains want to have control and the unanswered questions may overwhelm us. Some of us are not sure whether we should grieve, or not, because we don’t know what we’ve lost and it makes it hard to move forward.
Dr. Pauline Boss made the observation that when people are dealing with these types of uncertainties, they will tend to act like nothing happened or continue to live it again and again.
So, how can we cope when we don’t know what to do next? It brings us back to those days of the Stone Age, when we were in uncharted territory and we had to rely on our ‘gut instinct’, connection to ourselves.
We might be confused, overwhelmed, or disoriented because the new “normal” is a place we’ve never been before. As part of the human experience, we may fear the things that we cannot control, but there is a great beauty in all of us being in it together.
The respected Carl Jung studied the Collective Unconscious which he defines as “psychic structures “or “cognitive categories” which are not unique to the individual, but rather shared by all. “This Collective Unconscious influences our thoughts, behavior and the way we look at the world.
From the unconscious there emanates determining influences… Which, independently of tradition, guarantee in every single individual a similarity of experience.” As a collective, where our power can be utilized is how we frame this experience of global uncertainty.
Could this be the opportunity we have been hoping or praying for that reconnects humanity to ourselves, our environment, and to each other?