By Jo Mooy
If finding hope in the darkness feels too uncertain, take a moment to practice a kind act for someone else.
The equinoxes, whether it’s spring or autumn, always trigger a sense of anticipation for me. This seasonal change feels like something unborn is in the air just waiting to appear. I envision it like a high diver, who leaps from the edge of the platform, soars into the air, and pauses for a second. In that pause, during the moment of acceleration, the breath becomes still, the body defies gravity, and the only focus is the hope for a perfect dive before hurtling towards the water.
That dive is a metaphor for the condition humans currently inhabit. For two years, we’ve been in a groundless state. Battered by constant change and uncertainty, most people lost their minds and their balance. Lack of balance is a physiological state brought on by high or low blood pressure, by inner ear inflammation that causes dizziness, or by age. It becomes an emotional and psychic state that’s triggered by outside events that we believe are controlling us.
What happened? Exhaustion and frustration pushed us over the edge. With no control over the pandemic variants, masks, booster vaccines, jobs, rent prices, or anything that used to give a degree of sanity, we tipped over. A significant part of the population went crazy. Their short emotional fuses erupted in bad behavior over simple inconveniences, especially on airplanes.
Deteriorating human behavior relates to an experiment done on rats where a small number of them were placed in a large enclosure. The rats were perfectly fine. They had plenty of space to move around. Food was provided, their nests were clean, and they thrived. But as more rats were brought into the enclosure the space began to fill up, and they crowded in on each other. Soon, the rats were viciously attacking each other, even killing their mates and children.
Psychologists say the rat experiment shows how the pandemic’s constraints and limitations imposed on humans have caused a breakdown in civility and respect for one another. Patience has disappeared. The thin veneer of social disciplines that usually monitor human behaviors cracked open and “the rats” went berserk.
So, is there an antidote to this behavior? The great Zen teacher Suzuki Roshi says “Surf the groundlessness and change the story of what you’re experiencing. Trust in the process. In a disordered room there’s a universe of peace and harmony regardless of your perceptions. Disconnect from the disorder and sense the peaceful harmony residing within it.”
The Earth is in a unique balance point during March’s Vernal Equinox. Like the metaphorical dive, we must determine if our collective grief and disharmony can be stilled during this astronomical event. Can our species dissolve the out-of-balance behaviors and defy gravity? Can we rise up above the petty limitations that drown our new year’s resolutions—the same resolutions where we promised to be better and live more harmoniously? Or will we continue the mad plunge into the watery abyss?
Rebalancing can be accomplished through hope. That’s a clear antidote. Is there not hope when entomologists learn that the monarch butterfly population, which was nearing extinction, actually grew 3,500 percent in 2021? Or that a poll done after the New Year asked 5,000 people their views on the upcoming year, and for the first time, 46 percent said they were “hopeful.” This could be a sign of changing beliefs and expectations.
But, if finding hope in the darkness feels too uncertain, there’s one more remedy. In one of her last interviews before she died, Betty White was asked the secret to her long life. She said it was, “Kindness and consideration for somebody besides yourself.” In that space of harmony and peace amid the disorder, breathe in the glow of hope. Let it govern your perceptions. Take a moment to practice a kind act for someone else. It doesn’t have to be something huge. In hope and kindness you’ll reemerge from the chaos much more grounded and in balance. Because, the snowflakes of hope will never fall in the wrong place. They always exist in the harmony of expectation and love.
Jo Mooy has studied with many spiritual traditions over the past 40 years. The wide diversity of this training allows her to develop spiritual seminars and retreats that explore inspirational concepts, give purpose and guidance to students, and present esoteric teachings in an understandable manner. Along with Patricia Cockerill, she has guided the Women’s Meditation Circle since January 2006 where it has been honored for five years in a row as the “Favorite Meditation” group in Sarasota, FL, by Natural Awakenings Magazine. Teaching and using Sound as a retreat healing practice, Jo was certified as a Sound Healer through Jonathan Goldman’s Sound Healing Association. She writes and publishes a monthly internationally distributed e-newsletter called Spiritual Connections and is a staff writer for Spirit of Maat magazine in Sedona. For more information go to http://www.starsoundings.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.