Facing the Virus with Inner Resources
Many of you will know that, in addition to being a well-rounded scientist, biochemist and naturopath, I do not limit my thinking to the purely physical and chemical material world.
I first came across the work and thinking of the philosopher, Rudolf Steiner, nearly fifty years ago when I read his book ‘Spiritual Science.’ To see those two words side by side in one sentence or title set me thinking.
During the next decade, I read and studied his ideas extensively. During this same time, I was training to be a naturopath and was also teaching biochemistry. I became actively involved in enterprises that included his indications on farming (Biodynamics), medicine, and nutrition (The Helios company in Australia) as I explored and tested his ideas. Ever since, this philosophy has been in the background of my life and has supported, guided and helped me in very many different ways. A client once said to me near the start of my professional days as a naturopath, “I have to look after my body, it is my home for this lifetime.” This is a sentiment with which I fully agreed and still do today.
I was therefore delighted and moved by a recent communication from the General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society, part of which I have added to and paraphrased below. I hope this can help you during this time of uncertainty and upheaval.
Steiner frequently commented on the paralysing effect of fear on our souls and how it inhibits our capacities to connect with our inner life. Fear can create boundaries that may not only separate us from our higher, or inner, selves but may also affect our relationships with those around us with both friends and strangers.
If fear is allowed to take root, it can begin to dominate our thoughts. From here, via many of the mind-body connections we have come to understand, it is easy to recognise that fear can weaken our immune system, affect out hormones and compromise our health in a variety of different ways.
When you can’t think of anything else for yourself other than the fear of the disease that is taking place all around you, and from which there seems to be no escape; when you go to sleep at night with these thoughts of fear, then unconscious after-images and imaginations – imbued with fear – can become embedded in our thinking and our experiences, both sleeping and waking. This provides a seedbed and a breeding ground for pathogenic organisms of all types, including bacteria and viruses and reduces our body’s ability to fight or counter them.
We are all being advised as to how to behave and how to reprogram our lives in the coming weeks and months. It behoves us to take this advice seriously, for the protection of ourselves and of others, and of the lifestyles and living standards that we value, both for the present and the future.
Clearly, this needs to be heeded with all due seriousness.
Stress produces a significant emotional state that can reduce our quality of life and our health. It is not easy to follow an internal dictum that might go like: “I must not feel stressed” – after all, the last words your subconscious hears is “feel stressed.” Trying not to think of worrying thoughts often only increases your focus on them. But try turning things around along the lines of thinking, “What is good about this?” This does not mean that you belittle the problem. On the contrary, it may help you to reduce the effect of the challenge, such as the virus (in this case) in many ways.
i.e. Ask yourself: “What’s good about this …virus situation? To which I might answer “….. without social life I will have more time for the research and writing I enjoy” or “I will, of necessity, learn more about internet communication…” or “I might spend more time really listening to other people” than being involved in finding and travelling to the best restaurant or social event.”
Are these ‘benefits’ worth the challenge of the virus? Absolutely not. But if it helps to calm my concerns, improve my mood and gives me resources with which to handle whatever has to be faced in the next months, it can only be beneficial. This outlook can also help others who might be feeling more sensitive.
There must, of course, be a fine balance drawn between courage, sacrifice and loving care on the one hand, and naivety and irresponsibility on the other. Perhaps we can all consider the benefits offered by having more time for contemplation, reflection and study. We may find more opportunities for conversations or projects that we may have not had time to consider recently. I recommend thinking deeply before you deny yourself this opportunity.