With the new wave of Covid-19 bringing Europe to the door of a new lockdown, and after eight months of impatient waiting for the old life to return, the end of 2020 seems to promise nothing more than further stress and fear of financial collapse. The world is shaking in all places and in addition to current pandemic, people all over the world are also experiencing floods, fires, wars, or political battles. Riots and mass demonstrations have become an integral part of the urban life. The threats that climate change brings is burning in the minds of many people. All of these fuels the dormant fear now being exacerbated even more by constant reminders of existing pandemics, both through statistical reports of new infections and deaths, and fictional stories spreading across the internet.
Many people currently feel heaviness in their chest, like a stone lying on the soul, causing sadness, depression, anger, or panic. The feeling, for which there seems to be no particular reason, but which creates resistance in people that prevents them from facing the roots of their discomfort.
If you haven't had the courage to look inside yourself yet, now is the right time. Ask yourself: Has my energy level been reduced? Do I feel overwhelmed by everything around me? Am I experiencing a growing wave of inner negativity that threatens to drown me? Does it seem impossible to invest energy in the smallest step? If the answer to these questions is yes, it is very likely that you are currently in a state often called "burnout".
I was asked if it is possible for householder, who is responsible for the well-being of the family, to achieve the same inner peace that followers of the Path have? Is it possible for laypeople to deepen spiritual practice during such systemic changes? Can one grow beyond one's own suffering in times when everything is trembling?
Such questions reveal a misunderstanding about the life that people of the Path live. The belief that a person who has attained Buddhahood lives in isolation from all the events that cause suffering around the world is simply wrong. Quite the opposite is true. People who walk the Bodhisattva path are in fact fully exposed to the sufferings of all living beings and are reached by the cries from the whole world and not just from the immediate circle.
In my world, too, there is not a single moment when the door to the problems and suffering of others is closed. The naivety that is often attributed to people “on the Path”, is an illusion of an ignorant ego that does not allow the possibility that it is possible of being aware of the struggles being waged at the level of the individual or society and yet still preserving their inner peace. For people who follow the vows of the Bodhisattva nothing remains invisible and nothing is hidden under the mental carpet: not the broken heart and not corruption, ignorance, or the most serious crime. And yet, even though they are completely immersed in the suffering the world is experiencing, compassion, love and peace remain unshakable in their hearts.
Still, the one who has attained Buddhahood is an ordinary person who has realized his/her own extraordinary ordinariness and has torn down walls between Me and Others. And it is precisely this ordinariness of such a person that proves that every human can be free from suffering and can attain inner peace.
There are ways to deal with your burnout and methods that you can use to restore lasting confidence in life. There are ways to carve a space that can offer you deep calm and regeneration in the midst of a storm. And time like this that the world is in right now, is the best times to find and recognize that place within oneself.