Soul Search: What Can We Learn from A Virus?

Anne Redelfs, MD

Soul Search: What Can We Learn from A Virus?

April 11, 2020 Uncategorized 0
Girl with Damaged Toy

We are not just physical beings! The “news” is frequently repeating the physical precautions we are to take to stay safe and well during this “global pandemic.” But we must attend to the psychological methods of protecting ourselves too, since we are psychological beings as well. The psychological body includes the heart or emotions and the mind. The shortcomings of our psychological bodies must be addressed if we are to minimize harm by all the many dangers in our world and maximize safety. One of our shortcomings is prioritizing the physical!

Looking into the mirror: One of the practices I have is to look at the problems around me as reflecting something within me. For example, I ask my soul, “What do people succumbing to viral infections or attempting to avoid this outcome with social isolation have to do with my psychology?” Broadening this practice, let’s look at the news stories right now as mirroring something of ourselves and see if we can learn some important lessons:

Viruses reflect something foreign and small in our souls: What is a virus and what might it mean in terms of our psychological bodies, our hearts and minds? A virus is a microscopic pathogen or germ that can invade and compromise a comparatively enormous human being. In my experience, when we suffer from a viral infection, we are being shown that our psychological bodies have been invaded by thoughts or feelings that are foreign to our human nature. These thoughts and feelings are petty and negligent to our human needs. For example, a common compromising belief I see most people suffering from is the notion that infections “happen” to innocent people, like themselves, who have done nothing wrong. I don’t know a single person who has not done anything wrong in their lives, myself included. For example, little awareness and playing small are qualities of young children. But as we grow, our lives naturally get bigger and more complex, and our attention increases. When we play small and don’t notice, we have not yet fully matured as a human being, psychologically speaking.

For example, most people routinely swallow or smoke things that are harmful to their physical bodies. Most people also routinely take in what’s harmful to their psychological bodies, what hurts their hearts or befuddles the mind. Digesting misinformation, such as fake news, is a prime example of what is toxic and damaging to a would-be healthy psychological body. We fear viral infections only when these viruses resonate with something harmful that we ourselves are doing, supporting, or allowing.

Viral invasions are not happenings, but communications that we’re taking in what’s hurtful to our human functioning and growth, and we would do better to correct some of these hurtful mistakes. These include limitations or smallness in our thinking, feeling, and doing. Small feeling is when we don’t allow ourselves the fullness of our emotions. Clinging to our positive feelings (or no feeling at all!) is a common problem in our country. So many of us label our guilt, anger, or sadness, as “negative,” and avoid these genuine human feelings. Perhaps we allow ourselves to cry after the loss of a family member, but not too much – we don’t want to be led astray by the “spirit of grief” or lose control, right?

This belief that we are in control of ourselves and our lives is another infectious belief–it’s very “small” or limited in its truth and usefulness. Just look what’s been going on for the past few weeks. I don’t know anyone who would say this worldwide quarantine was his or her will and choice. Yet, when we human beings are being controlled against our will, we have the opportunity of looking at where we ourselves are controlling, such as curtailing the fullness of our and others’ humanity.

Meditation: Please play some soothing music, close your eyes, and take a few minutes to sense inside and connect with that beautiful, brilliant soul of yours. Then ask your soul where you might be suffering from a “viral infection”–allowing the trivial to move your heart or occupy your mind. Where are you succumbing to smallness, such as playing small in some relationship or other aspect of your life? Where are you neglecting to meet your human needs, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually? This includes your need to grow in all areas of your humanity. Where are you neglecting to meet the needs of your fellow human beings, again physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually?

Let your imagination anthropomorphize the now infamous coronavirus–this means it takes on a human form. Imagine it transforming into a boy or girl. If it wants to take on another form, that’s OK too, whatever manifests in your mind. Allow it to speak to you and tell you why it’s in your life. What does it want you to know about it? What does it have to teach you? Does it have anything to add to your awareness of how you are playing small? Is there anything small about your emotional awareness or expression? What feelings are there that you are not allowing yourself to feel or others to know? Are there any small, false beliefs in your mind that need addressing? In what ways are your actions much smaller or more controlled than how your soul would have you act? Where are you seeing just a small part of a much bigger picture? Allow the manifested “virus” to say anything else that he or she needs to say, and when you feel complete, open your eyes.

Please share your experience with someone you feel close to. Then ask what this person is learning from this unusual time in world history. Pass a link to this blog to someone who needs this information. And, feel free to write a comment below. I’d like to hear from you! And remember: we are only afraid of germs harming our physical bodies when they resonate with the small or detrimental within our psychological bodies!

What is a soul gardener?

For much of my life, I’ve enjoyed growing fresh vegetables and herbs as well as plants that feed butterflies, hummingbirds, and nature in general. I find many similarities between gardening plots of land and tending the various aspects of our psychology that together comprise the soul. I call myself a soul gardener because I help you to get the soil of your psyche in good condition and to care for your plants that are in need. As the garden of your life becomes increasingly bountiful and beautiful, others will naturally follow your inspiration.