In order to overcome the crisis, or at least to slow down the coronavirus from spreading, we are requested to practice social distancing and self-isolation. Big cities, and even whole countries, all over the world are on lock down. For most people, this is quite a challenge. We are used to our freedom and to the varieties of entertainment we have become accustomed to in order to feel happy. This situation forces us to slow down and rethink our own lifestyle.
„If you can't go out - go inside!“ Great Wisdom! But what does it actually mean to `go inside`? Here are some thoughts on this:
`Go Inside` on the external level means to stay inside your home, to not go out and do not mingle with other people. As a consequence we are, at least in some way, practicing a yoga principle, which is to withdraw from the world. Krishna speaks about this in the Gita: „Aspiring to live in a solitary place; detachment from the general mass of people; this I declare to be knowledge!“ (1)
That's the principle of monastic life. You withdraw from the world in order to find the time and the focus required to enter a relationship with God.
`Go inside` also means to slow down. We have been living in such a busy world. Everyone is under constant pressure and stress and many of us have a hard time to relax and give attention to the really important aspects of life. This whole crisis allows us to stop and take a break.
`Go inside` can also be understood as an invitation to be more introspective. Introspection, which means to look into, to observe attentively, is an important aspect of spiritual practice. Introspection allows us to analyze ourselves, to look at our own personality, at our actions and motivations. To go inside, therefore, could mean to write a diary and to ask ourselves: „What do I really want to achieve in my life? What are my core values? What do I want to give to the world? What is my weakness? Where do I need to improve?“
`Going Inside` indicates to meditate and find peace within. To actually enter the inner space of the heart, to reconnect with our true self. This inner space has been described in different ways. Some call it “the sky of the heart,” others “the lotus” or “temple” of the heart.
Usually, we are always looking outside of us for happiness, something nice to taste, to see, to touch. This is called bahir mukha - an outward-focused face. In order to discover the sacred space within, we need to leave aside the external world and look inward. Sri Krishna has called such a person the best of all mystics:
„One whose happiness is within, who is active and rejoices within, and whose aim is inward is actually the perfect mystic. He is liberated in the Supreme, and ultimately he attains the Supreme.“ And Srila Prabhupada comments: „A liberated person enjoys happiness by factual experience. He can, therefore, sit silently at any place and enjoy the activities of life from within.“ (2)
Therefore, let us use this extra time that has been given to us to increase our chanting, our meditation, and prayer. Maybe we will be able to connect more, now that we have been reminded of the temporary nature of this world.
Ultimately, `Going Inside` means to connect with the Lord in the heart and to communicate with Him. I leave you with this short message that I received yesterday:
"No movies. No concerts. No sporting events. No restaurants. No social gatherings. Limited workload. Now that I've cleared your schedule, can we talk now?" - God
1 - Bhagavad Gita 13.8-12
2 - Bhagavad Gita 5.24