In the midst of Crisis…the 8 Domains of Action
With the news, of the corona virus, Covid 19, we are faced with many decisions on what to do and where to act. We are being hit with so much information that it can overstimulate our system into a hyper-reactivity. But with the precautionary advise to stay isolated as part of our communal response to the virus, it can leave us feeling frustrated, fearful and frantic. As this is a challenge we all are facing, I thought that it might be important to look and consider where we can act positively in our lives. Now these domains so to speak are not only here due to the challenge we are facing, they exist at all times, but with the situation now, exploring them seems very relevant and appropriate.
For me, what I think is important is to take a moment and, recognize the different levels or dimensions that we can act on and what our actions are doing and, and how they impact our lives and impact the lives of others. And although it is not that difficult, it can be important and valuable to kind of assess where our energies can go.
Creative and Constructive
So, the first level that we could call for action is what we could call the domain of the creative or the constructive. It means to take out time to build something new, to construct a new project or a different approach. For example to take time out to start/finish a book or take time out to make some new videos or to do more online work or anything on the lines of building a new approach, creative action, which is very important. This can even be establishing new ways of community building during this time via the different forms of social media. And it really is the place where we have can have impact on the world around us.
Learning and Development
The second domain is the domain of learning or development.
And that’s when we take time out and improve our system or improve our skills in the system, improve our capacities. Let’s say with learning a new language, improve our understanding of new perspectives. Taking time out to learn or, or develop a new understanding concerning certain themes or subjects that we want to develop. And this is very important work as well, obviously, but it’s different than the creative and constructive and it’s in the sense it does create, but the creation is in a development of skill or understanding of a new ability in some fashion.
Resourcing and Nourishing
The third level is what I would refer to as resourcing or nourishing. That points to taking the time out to get good sleep, to eat well, to care for our bodies, care for our systems, care for our living spaces.
To nourish or find different ways to access support for our systems to be able to get good sleep to do yoga nidra or visualizations or anything that benefits the health of our system.
And this is very important obviously in this time, but in an all times actually and these domains that are mentioning aren’t specifically for this time period, but it’s for all of our activities. Just that being in touch with them helps us learn how to direct our attention into some of these new areas more consciously than before.
So, this third area is the question of resourcing or nourishing ourselves.
Connecting with Nature
The fourth domain can be really a subset of the previous. It is the time we take to connect with Nature in a conscious direct fashion. To take a walk, have a “forest bath”, watch the sunrise and sunset… To be in communion with this wonderful alive world that we live in and in a way are. We are a part of this Nature. We belong here, (even though it may not always seem that way…) we are a part of this movement of Nature and in feeling into that we can consciously benefit from the support that Nature offers: Water, Air, Sunlight, contact with the Earth, a connection with the life in the natural world.
Distraction and Entertainment
The fifith area is the area of distraction or entertainment. When we go on Facebook, when we watch a movie, when we read a book to distract ourselves or entertain ourselves with a particular theme or particular image, anything from binge watching a TV series on Netflix to rereading the Lord of the Rings. This type of distraction is important for us because it helps us in a way detach from our reality for a moment and let go of the questions that are constantly engaged in everything that we’re doing. But this area is not really very nourishing or resourcing and it’s not about development or learning and it’s not constructive or creative, but in a way it has its own place in supporting ourselves with being able to handle the needs and responsibilities we all face. I had one, one spiritual community that I used to work with, and they used to call these moments as Dharma breaks, a break from the Dharma, watching a movie, reading a book. And in that sense, you were kind of letting go of the responsibility so that you could just be entertained or distracted for a moment. And I think this is a very important domain as well.
Contemplative and Evolving
The sixth domain, which I think is very important. And actually, in a certain sense, almost the most important, is the contemplative or evolving domain. And that’s when we give ourselves time to consider those deeper questions of who we are, and why we are here. It is the domain where we go to reestablish a living relationship with our life vision to connect with the most vital, essential nature of who we are and, and how we want to live, to take time out to commune with this place, to be in touch with this place of connecting with our deepest being. In a way it’s a little bit like communing with our own soul or our soul communing with life. And this place is vitally important because it’s the ground for everything else that arises up in our life. It also deals with establishing an integration of ourselves, looking into all of our dimensions of our, of our psychology and our emotional being, our physical being. And through this our integration stimulates our evolution.
So, this place where we align, where we contemplate, where we allow ourselves to, to question and to stimulate our own evolution is a vitally important, and for us to give time to do this is really necessary. And this is essential.
Healing and Theraputic
Now I can say this next domain, the seventh, is kind of a subset of both of the resourcing and nourishing as well as the contemplative domains. It is the healing domain, the therapeutic domain. It means to take time out to heal, to address some issues that we haven’t looked at. To take time out to address, maybe some blind spots or some shadow work or some past trauma or karmic situations that we have not given time or attention to. Address and to feel into the areas that need healing or reorganization. And in a way this is part of a resourcing or nourishing domain as well as part of the evolving domain to a large extent, but its main purpose is to heal. It requires us to give attention to the trauma or karma that maybe is unaddressed or unfinished in in our systems.
And the last domain the eighth, that I would like to offer is a domain of unplugging. And in this domain, we literally just unplug, unplug from any movement or any direction or any desire or intention. It’s the letting go of all activity, but not in a way that we’re being distracted by a movie or a book but rather by letting go of all activity and fundamentally just being present. This is the “doing nothing” domain, which is incredibly, incredibly important as it allows for us to meet the moment, the emerging moment with no agenda whatsoever, to face life, to face the unknown in a way that we have nothing in our hands and to be completely and totally available to what life is expressing both inwardly within our own minds and hearts and bodies as well as externally in the situations that we’re experiencing in the moment. The moments we are are living. So, this unplugging, doing nothing seems like it might be the least valuable of all the domains, but actually it is the most valuable and it’s hard to recognize this because there is nothing here, nothing here that we can point to, nothing here that we can repeat. It’s just about simply being fundamentally here without hesitation, without a plan, without any masks, without any filters, without any projection. Being here to the deepest degree that we can allow ourselves to be. So, this is what I would call the unplugged or the available space of being, while being involved with nothing, letting go of our agendas and simply being present.
So, all these domains are vitally important and oftentimes they can overlap and be occurring simultaneously. You can have a creative domain that happens to stimulate contemplation and evolution and even to a certain degree be entertaining and distracting as well as increase your learning and help you develop. But that doesn’t deny that these domains or these levels or these lines exist, and it’s important to acknowledge them so that that they can be honored and included in this time that we are facing and dealing with the situation, that we’ve all been included in.
We are one system
The last thing I’d like to mention is that, as we do this and we engage in these different domains and these different levels of our own experience we can recognize that we’re involved in a systemic experience, an experience that includes everyone. This is a very important and powerful perspective to access because it brings us closer to the reality that we all actually share, that we are one system. We are not separate and on many levels of our experience, we are connected to the universal and collective as well as the individual. And when we wake up more to this, we move out of the divisive competitive and aggressive forms of behavior that we have lived in. We start moving into more collaborative, co-creative and connected states of Being. And this is where we need to go in order to be able to face other questions that hit us on a systemic level like climate change and the loss in biodiversity as well as the unbalanced structure of society and the addressing of the theme such as systemic racial and sexual inequality. And there’s a lot here that we’re waking up to, and in this sense, this experience of facing the Corona virus is helping us learn how to do that. And in that sense, this moment can be a tremendously positive and inspiring experience. With you all in spirit, Patrick