Something Spiritual–What to do when Nothing seems to be Happening


Some new year's
thoughts: one of the best, and also the hardest parts of life is that things
are continually shifting.  If we are too busy we wish for some down
time.  If we are bored or under-utilized we wish for something more to
happen.  Amazingly, there are even times when we wish for things to slow
down (usually in one arena of life) and speed up at the same time (in another
area).  Wow, being a self-conscious human being is complicated, because
not only do we get to feel this way but we also get to observe ourselves
feeling this way and then be unsettled by it.  There are also times when
we don't feel like anything is happening, even if we are overly busy and our
time is fully occupied.  Or, we get so used to things going fast all of
the time–because there is a pervasive expectation that we need to be
productive all the time, especially if you have things like family, and work,
and social groups, and even things that you do for fun outside of those other
things–that it can be really hard to relax into quiet or stillness. 
Quiet might make us feel disoriented, and most of us don't like to feel
disoriented.  What's common to all of these?–We feel like our activity or
inactivity isn't leading anywhere and we have lost our traction.  What do
I do if my life feels like it has stopped leading to something new?


 


An anthroposophic understanding of personal development (and also for
human and world development overall) includes a description of pralaya, an
ancient Indian word that can be translated as “a period of dissolution or
destruction of the manifested universe:  the end of the
world.”  That translation is true in some respects because when we
really are stuck it can feel like the “end of the world,” but the way
it is used in anthroposophy is actually much broader, with a deeper meaning,
more along the lines of “dissolution,” and indicates “a periodic
process of destruction and recreation.”  In our 24/7, on all the time
culture we don't like down time, because we might miss something, or make less
money, or feel disconnected–and all of those are true risks if we stop, but
that doesn't mean that a process of dissolution is bad.  Sometimes we are
wise enough to pause; sometimes we just have to stop (no other option is
given).


 


A pralaya
is the time that we plant seeds for the future.  That's when we finish
digesting what we have received, open a new space, and place an intention for
the next steps.  It is deeply unconscious, in fact if we are
intellectually aware and guiding the process through strategizing or
organizing, it is probably not a true pralaya.  This kind of
transformative work happens deep inside, like a hidden river that runs down
under the ground.  Another anthroposophic insight
describes seven stages of change, in what are usually referred to as the
seven “life processes.”  The beginning ones are all about
building conscious awareness that then moves into action: we approach, we
characterize, then truly meet and encounter.  The fourth step is one of
sifting and sorting: What went well and what went badly?  What do we
continue to carry with us and what do we leave behind?  And then comes the
fifth stage: maintenance
It is so quiet that it can seem like nothing is happening.  It is a time
of waiting for the events of the future to meet us.  Like plant seeds that
are now sleeping in the ground, we too need to wait.  The time bridge
from the end of one year into the next carries a quietness that is deeper and
truer than just the shifting of a calendar page.  We need to slow in order
to be open to new intentions, to create a space where growth (the sixth step)
can start, which will soon enough blossom in Spring, flourish with
Summer, and be ready for harvest (the seventh step) in the Fall.







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