The Return to Oneself Amidst a Quarantine.
At the beginning COVID-19 looked like a Black Mirror episode. Now it feels like Unprecedented Things: the remake of Stranger Things produced on a very tight budget.
Most of us are not used to living in the present moment, even if we try to persuade ourselves that we are. So when life robs us of the opportunity to plan and dream of the future that we so desperately look forward to, we are gently forced to take a step back into the present moment.
And that’s a good thing.
Embracing the present moment can be the biggest gift in a time of worldwide quarantine.
Adam Phillips writes in his book ‘On Balance’:
“We need a person to long for, an object of longing, because it orientates the excess, the complexity of our hearts and minds.”
Maybe our ability to book and board flights to meet loved ones — and occasionally get away from them — has been temporarily suspended, but life’s given us a rare opportunity to use our many devices to actually connect with one another in the present moment.
Or to connect with oneself.
When you strip everyday routines of commute hours and work-related stress, it’s likely to find some free time at home to examine the person you’ve become in the recent fast-paced years of multitasking.
The question is when you don’t need to make an effort, will you still choose to make it? If all the familiar faces around you are no longer there, will you still be the same person thinking, talking and acting? Will you be able to recognise your authentic self among the roaming thoughts, or will you face a stranger — perhaps a friend — in the mirror?
When you can’t go outside, it’s time to look back inside.