The coronavirus pandemic has turned the world as we know it upside down. And the lockdown situation that many of us are now experiencing has also turned it outside in.
As the world changes rapidly around us, many people have emailed me asking for advice at this time. I am not qualified to comment on how best to combat the coronavirus. But I can certainly offer spiritual insights from my own perspective, which I hope some of you will find helpful.
People are becoming more involuted
What’s happening at this time, on an unprecedented scale, is that the human race is becoming more involuted. If you’re not familiar with this term, “involuted” means a turning inwards of consciousness. It’s the opposite of “exvoluted”, which is a turning outwards of consciousness.
An easy way to understand this is to think of human consciousness as being like a glove. In its natural state (involuted), the inside of the glove is located on the inside and the outside of the glove is on the outside. When the glove is turned inside out (exvoluted), the inside is on the outside and it becomes difficult to use it for its original purpose.
It’s the same with us. Our natural state is one of involution but in modern times we have become so exvoluted that we rarely experience what this feels like. We think that being exvoluted (with our consciousness turned towards the outside) is normal.
Involution and exvolution
These terms —involution and exvolution — were coined by the Clairvision School to describe states of consciousness experienced during meditation. But they are also very useful to describe the types of experiences that all humans can have.
An extreme state of involution can be experienced by accomplished meditators who are able to sit for long periods of time in complete stillness. Their outer stillness is a reflection of the inner stillness of their mind and emotions.
An extreme example of exvolution, on the other hand, can be seen in the wild behaviour of drunken revellers. Their outer actions are also a reflection of their inner state.
Daily life, as it is commonly lived, lies somewhere between these two extremes, depending on a person’s lifestyle choices and depth of spiritual engagement.
The problem with too much exvolution
I’m not suggesting that everyone should live the life of a monk and never go partying. Far from it.
What I’m pointing out is that in modern times our busy lifestyle has caused many people to move so far away from the natural human state of involution that states of exvolution, to one degree or another, have become the norm. Now, with coronavirus lockdowns being enforced in so many countries, there is the opportunity to experience what it’s like to be more involuted.
Although this is a challenging time for everyone in so many ways, there are always silver linings to every cloud, and from a spiritual perspective, this is one of them. While living in a state of constant exvolution, people lose track of who they are and what the purpose of their life is. The explanation of exvolution in A Language to Map Consciousness (ALTMC) explains why this is:
Excessive exvolution is one of the central characteristics of the present human condition. Dwelling in a human body, consciousness is constantly drawn outwards through the senses, towards the material world. Consciousness loses touch with its inwards essence, its non-manifested roots.
This engrossment in the senses is an exvolution, an extroversion by which consciousness forgets its own nature of infinity and becomes assimilated to physical limitations. Human beings forget they are immortal Spirits, they believe themselves [to be] bipeds bound by the constraints of a three-dimensional universe.
The benefits of involution
The accumulation of clutter is a very good example of what happens when someone becomes too engrossed in the material world. But, of course, attempting to fill a spiritual void by acquiring physical possessions doesn’t work. There is never a point when you feel you have enough.
Spiritual fulfillment comes from being more in touch with your Higher Self and this can only be attained through some form of involution, defined in ALTMC as:
Consciousness letting go of the senses and internalizing itself, turning towards its source and cognizing itself.
And that’s exactly what the current world situation is actually helping everyone who is being asked by their government to stay at home to do. It’s become a time for introspection. A time to reevaluate your life. A time to reprioritize what’s important. Lockdowns have been introduced to safeguard everyone’s physical health but they are also bringing about a complete reassessment of mental, emotional and spiritual aspects too. The world will be a very different place when we all emerge from this.
How to embrace involution instead of resisting it
Some people are naturally more involuted than others and will find it easier to do this. For those of you in self-isolated lockdown who would appreciate some help, here are some suggestions…
- Have some quiet “me” time each day, preferably first thing in the morning after waking, when you will already be involuted after sleep. If you’re a meditator, use the time to meditate and go inside. If meditation’s not your thing, spend the time with pen and paper, contemplating what you’re grateful for in your life and what you’d like to change, if and when you can. If you share your home with others, find a mutually agreeable time to do this, when you will not be disturbed, even if it’s only for 10 or 20 minutes. At times of world upheaval such as this, it’s possible to gain insights into your life that you would normally be too busy rushing around to have.
- Don’t allow yourself to get sucked into following continuous coronavirus updates on the news. Once or twice a day, at most, is enough to keep you in the know. Anything more will keep you in a state of anxious exvolution.
- Binge-watching TV and excessively surfing the internet are other forms of exvolution. They may temporarily distract you but will usually leave you feeling empty rather than fulfilled. Use your time more productively instead, such as learning a new skill that will better equip you for the future.
- Cultivate more awareness of your breath. Several times a day, take some deep, full breaths, as if you are breathing with your whole body, from the tips of your toes to the top of your head. This is both calming and involuting. Your breath connects you to life force energy and deep breathing helps to keep you more centred in yourself.
- Get enough sleep. Many people have what is called “sleep debt”, which is the cumulative effect of not getting enough sleep. ‘If sleep were a credit card company, many of us would be in deep trouble’, explains a Harvard article about this. Apart from the health and immune-boosting benefits, being well rested will help you to live in a more involuted state too.
Copyright © Karen Kingston 2020
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