Isolation or incubation for connectedness...
Isolation. The new buzz word. But how new is it? In August 2019, way before Corona, Kris Kluver posted an article citing that up to 47% of people report feeling lonely or left out, doubling the number from a decade ago.
What’s going on here? Why are so many of us disconnected from others, leading to feelings of loneliness and isolation. Until three months ago, the blame has been put squarely on social media and technology. But is this true? It’s ironic that the “scape goat” is now the one thing that is actually keeping us connected and in many cases, leading to more connection that ever! Zoom parties, Skype calls, applications like House Party – I am actually taking time to talk to people more than ever!
Covid-19 has brought with it a new type of isolation – physical isolation – but it is merely giving a different name to the disconnect already rooted in so many people, the disconnect that stems from within ourselves.
When we are not connected with our Self, we will feel disconnected from others, whether we are physically isolated or not. However, the opposite is also true – when we ARE connected with our Self, we will feel connected to others, regardless of physical isolation.
The answer to this isolation pandemic then lies in the ability to connect with our Self, a state that can only be incubated through a regular practice of slowing down everyday thoughts and connecting with breath and stillness.
Have you ever tried to create stillness and silence? Try it now… impossible while an average of 70,000 thoughts race though your mind on a daily basis.
Incubation is defined as “the act of maintaining controlled environment conditions for the purpose of favouring growth and development… or to maintain optimal conditions for a chemical or immunologic reaction.” This, to me, seems like a 100% description of our current situation. But instead of considering it a prison sentence, reframe it as the ideal conditions for re-connecting with your Self.
Incubation is used in psychology as “the process of unconscious (in the subconscious mind) recombination of thought elements… resulting in novel ideas at some later period in time.” It’s considered to be the stage in the creative or problem solving process in which attention (consciousness) is diverted from the task at hand and focused on something else. After the incubation period a “flash” of creative inspiration or the solution to the problem comes to mind. In a nutshell – the exact outcome of a regular meditation practice.
When meditating, thoughts are interrupted by consciously bringing awareness to something else – the breath or a mantra. This gives the subconscious mind, which makes up 95% of our intelligence, an opportunity to “recombine thought elements” bringing solutions and clarity on how to deal with challenges in life and slowing down mind turbulence. And this in turn calms the primitive brain stress response and strengthens physical immunity.
Nature has given us the ideal incubation environment – a forced slow down, an opportunity to connect with our Self and to heal the world-wide pandemic of disconnection and isolation. Meditation is the tool for healing and when we realise that our physical world today is a direct result of our collective choices and thoughts in the past, can we afford not to do it?