14 days of ordered self-isolation upon arrival. What I learned when I stopped to seek for control and started to let loose.
So as we are entering the fourth month of global lockdown and we are collectively counting more than 500.000 deaths caused by Covid-19, I found myself being in this exceptional state of ordered self-isolation: 14 days locked in my new apartment as I have just relocated to London.
This situation leaves me — like many of us — with a rather uninvited introspection within myself and being confronted with my deeds and memories of my life so far.
Although I am terribly aware of how devastating this pandemic has been for many of us, I curiously decided to take the blessing of not being substantially affected as a chance to walk into the exact opposite way: not towards grief but towards surrender. Not holding to what I have and what I might have lost but to put down all of my cards (of my past, present and future) and reconsider whatever I have been made of.
I strongly believe that everyone who is not able to show solidarity towards our fellow people in need for whatever reason, he or she is still able to expand the boundaries of the meaning of this pandemic. It is a step into the unknown in order to redefine The New Normal from something merely devastating and depressive into something meaningful and expansive. To prepare the ashes as a fruitful soil for younger generations to thrive in.
And although I am not qualified to give any expert guidance for people in need, I can open myself through this surrender and hopefully offer a missing perspective of dealing with this experience we are all going through.
Symponia (compassion or literally co-suffering) as the Greek word teaches us, it requires both hearts to be wide open and accept both light and darkness to enter.
The first time I remember experiencing surrender was in my teenage years. With the unspoken loving permission of my parents I delved into the underground worlds of Black Metal concerts and into the anarchist movements of the Chomskies, Kleins and Zeitgeistlers among us and, of course, into gaming; all this because I gave up on trying to “fit in” to the ideal lifestyle of (Western) civilisation. Surrendered to these parallel realities in the deep webs of our society, I felt a relief from an eternal constraint that was suffocating me all too long. I even found my redemption some years after when the Economic Crisis of 2007 hit my country.
Proud of my newly validated conviction that this world is terribly corrupt and unequal, I packed my stuff and went for studies at the avant-garde Bauhaus university of Weimar.
But pride, as I came to realise, never brings you far in life.
Being drowned in my own pride, I ended up again not “fitting in” to society around me. Everyone seemed to carry an rebel within, yet there was no corruption nor inequality to rebel against. Pride led to frustration and frustration led me to Belgium and Belgium led me to Barcelona. After Barcelona, I moved to Berlin, yet my desire to validate myself and my struggles kept persisting. What is it that I needed to validate? What is that I couldn’t let go of? The only thing that I was sure of, is that with my next relocation I would break that pattern once and for all.
So here I am in London, in the midst of a pandemic, cards wide open. And I am starting to realise a pattern that happens to everyone of us who senses the taste of validation and success for our efforts and beliefs, no matter how small they are: like tyrants we suppress our vulnerabilities, the birth of new ideas or the voice of our deeper instinct.
We build our castles and declare ourselves kings and queens in the name of our self-proclaimed security, of preserving our status, of demonstrating our loyalty to our new belief. We live our lives under the umbrellas of our dogmas that we have been building up throughout the stages of our lives until finally and always inevitably a crisis arises.
Crises are happening constantly in our lives and much more than we usually dare to admit. It can be because of something obvious like a war or economic recession that affects millions or it can be something personal like starting your dream job but facing your worst enemy in the form of your new boss. It can happen when you plan to relocate to another country but suddenly a pandemic takes away your future job perspectives and cancels all flights; when you fall in love with someone who your family doesn’t approve; when you hesitate to express the love for someone and one day this person unexpectedly passes away.
In fact crises have always been a fundamental part of human history and its cultural expression from ancient Greek dramaturgy to Eastern spiritual teachings.
Life is suffering.
But as the teaching goes, life is suffering only for the ones who cannot accept the impermanence of life, of all existence in this reality including humanity and thus each one of us and our belongings.
I came to realise that this denial of impermanence is based on our incapability to comprehend death and destruction as an equal part as birth and creation of our life. We refuse that everything we once created will decay and that everything we once possessed will be given away. We are profoundly afraid of this imagination and that is why we expelled death from our ideal of our existence.
What we didn’t realise, is that this way (and over generations) we alienated our perception of our own nature, believing that the patterns of the nature surrounding us are not of our own. Creation without a counterpart resulted in greed.
The desire and lust for more, faster and longer, the desire of an everlasting life or endless creation and possession. Greed became the new equal part in our ideal life-form. And yes, like tyrants we suppressed our vulnerabilities, the birth of new ideas or the voice of our deeper instincts…
But then the pandemic came.
It shed crises to everyone of us and to society as a whole. We were stripped away by our social statuses, our future plannings and success stories. It stripped away our freedom that we were relentlessly exploiting all along and forced us to sit in front of the mirror and ask:
What responsibility did you take while enjoying this freedom? What part of your creation were you afraid to destroy in order to allow the ever transforming cycle of life to continue?
For me it meant detaching from my dogmatic desire to change the world and instead to change my Self over and over again until I reach (what I call) the ultimate state of being. Being in a constant state of transformation. A state where you don’t need to manipulate your surroundings in order to get what you desire but you let go of any desires in the first place.
Your state of being becomes your desire.
A state where you don’t need any external definition of inner success, you just are success and in its most natural form.
In order to experience this state, you need to let go of what you expect from your future and also let go of what belief you built up in the past. Released from any opinion, desire or belief, you are able to experience this state of the Eternal Now. In the Now you are able to see life unfolding itself: you seek to be loving and be loved? So it shall be. You seek to be courageous and inspiring? So it shall be.
I can only hope that throughout my path I inspire others, the ones who seek but don’t find, the same way as many of my mentors have helped me through their books, their lectures or conversations.
“Paranoia, the mind beside itself, becomes Metanoia, the mind within itself and so free from itself.
Free from clutching at themselves the hands can handle;
free from looking after themselves the eyes can see;
free from trying to understand itself thought can think.
In such feeling, seeing and thinking life requires no future to complete itself nor explanation to justify itself.”
-Alan Watts in: The Wisdom of Insecurity
Life just is.
Thank you for passing by. I hope I could give you something for the rest of your journey ahead. May your path bring fruition and clarity to you.
We can stay in contact on Instagram @andreas_le_black . I upload content created solely by myself.