The beginning of the pandemic was difficult and stressful for me as it probably was for most people. I wasn’t allowed to work and in-person sessions in his teachings were suspended. I could see the reason behind all of it and was glad that we decided to be safe. Still, the two major things that were important to me and that structured my week were gone and I felt a sense of loss. I started following a rigid schedule including practicing his teachings for an hour every morning to keep up and stay fit and I encouraged everyone to do the same. Before long I was exhausted. My worry and anxiety grew and I held on to my schedule even tighter because I didn’t know what else to do.
I was so happy when the first invitation for the Saturday chanting came. I could hardly do any chanting because I was crying so much. I suddenly realised how lonely and fragile I felt. Seeing people and realising that they were still there was such a great relief. Over time, I started feeling calmer and the regularity of the chanting helped a lot with that. I still didn’t know when the situation would change but it didn’t bother me as much any more.
The first lockdown ended and I was allowed to work again – but again I was worried because this time, my work interfered with practicing his teachings. I have irregular working hours and irregular working days. So even though I was happy to work I was also sad that I was not able to attend the Saturday meeting so regularly as before. I tried my best to keep up my self-practice but found it difficult. I felt constantly interrupted by outer circumstances. I was deeply frustrated.
During the second lockdown I was able to join the Saturday meetings more regularly again. I was still worried about my job situation but had come to accept that there was nothing I could do about it and just had to go with whatever happened. The message I heard repeated on Saturdays was “Don’t worry. Just keep doing it and don’t worry“ and I began to realise that there was something I could do instead of just feeling powerless. This time I didn’t go back to my rigid schedule but I started practicing a little every day. Practicing in the living room felt strange at first but I kept doing it and it became more natural. My focus shifted and I began to realise that I didn’t have to keep up with anyone or prove anything. I could just practice for no other reason than to enjoy it. Then the feeling changed. The feeling of connection through the whole body was so clear, as if I could see the Tensegrity model inside me. The feeling was so clear that everything was connected and working and moving together. In the past I had often heard – and said myself – that in his teachings everything was connected and moved at the same time and finished at the same time. But thinking it and feeling it are two very different things. This new feeling was a revelation that filled me with joy and peace. It is also a very calming feeling.
I love chanting in a way I had never thought. In the past, it was mainly a social activity for me in the morning at the beginning of a programme that I enjoyed. Through regular practice, this has also developed. My voice becomes stronger and it is no longer important whether others are in the same room or whether I am practising alone. I feel strong and powerful when chanting as if nothing could shake me.
I learned a lot about myself during the pandemic. I was convinced that I was not a performance-oriented person, and I also liked very much about his teachings that there was no competitive thought behind it and instead we all practised together. Without the feedback of instructors, however, I realised how much recognition and encouragement motivate me. I always want to be the good student who is praised by the teacher. During the pandemic, there was no feedback on my practice from anyone and I discovered something new. The feedback came from inside instead of outside. "How does it feel?" took on a whole new meaning for me. I had heard the question many times and asked it many times, but in fact, for the first time in my life, I began to use it as a guide in my practice.
Even if I can't always practise at the same time of day, I make it a priority to practise every day. I am calmer and feel more stable in body and mind. Things are still unstable and unpredictable around me, but through my self-practice I have found a stability and continuity that is not affected by external circumstances. This feeling makes me stronger and I am grateful for the patience and guidance that have helped and allowed me to experience it.
In the meantime, the second lockdown is over and the restrictions are being relaxed. I am working again and can no longer attend meetings as regularly as I would like. But I am no longer so worried. I attend whenever I can. And I continue to practise whenever I can during the day.