How I Became Enlightened During Quarantine

In the span of time beginning in the middle of March and into the first week of September, I, along with presumably many others, went into a modern retreat that took the form of “quarantine”. In this period of isolation, I lived in my childhood home with my parents and my dog. I didn’t have a job either, so a part of me expected to have fun not having to work. Except, this wasn’t an ordinary summer vacation. Every day I was riddled with anxiety about the virus and I was paranoid for my own mortality and the mortality of those I love. With all of the uncertainty of the virus, it was easy to drive myself mad with worry. I spent a lot of my free time consumed with distractions; anything to relieve the stresses of the world that I was taking on. It wasn’t until the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement and rallies that I used my free time to educate myself and others about the racial injustices that are prevalent in the United States. My eyes began to open to a new world of empathy and I found a fire in me that's eager to help the world. I realized that I want to be apart of the shift towards justice and peace. And that shift towards a brighter future starts with a shift in consciousness: dissolving the false sense of self that is the ego, and realizing that we are not each other's enemies. The power of love is stronger than hate. 

no justice no peace protest sign Photo by Clay Banks from Unsplash

Over the summer, I read A New Earth and The Power of Now by Eckharte Tolle which shifted my perspective, which I termed, enlightenment. In this book, I learned about the ego, but more importantly, how to dissolve it. Everything we identify with, our societal roles, gender, name, likes, and dislikes, is a false reflection of the self. We are not these roles. However, we are the being, the awareness that sees through this illusion. We are the soul that dwells inside the body, the energy of the Universe. We are not our emotions or our thoughts. Any negative feeling that arises in the body is able to be corrected when you become mentally aware of it. When you feel these negative emotions welling up inside you, pause and take a breath. Realize that whatever you are about to react to is not worth your energy and the disruption of your inner peace. Focusing on the breathing gets you out of your head. You become aware of the process of breathing. You feel the expansion and contraction of the lungs and notice how it's a microcosm for the expansion of the Universe. The Universe goes through periods of expanding and contracting, a pattern that reflects the processes of nature. The expansion and contraction of the heart and how flowers bloom are a few microcosms of this larger process. 

I found myself reflecting on all of the things I’ve tried to identify with in the past. I thought of myself as a writer, a girl with depression and anxiety, a sponge. I was constantly absorbing other people's personalities because I didn’t know my own. It wasn’t until I read this book that I understood that I don’t need to identify with anything. That is not who I really am. I am the being, the awareness, the soul gazing through the physical eyes, the Universe experiencing itself. I am grateful for this shift in perspective as it is so relieving to be free of societal labels, to know that you don’t need to identify as anything. The ego is never satisfied, and that is why capitalism is successful in this country. The ego tells us that we need to buy and have more in order to be more. The truth that no one will tell you is that you don’t need to have something to be someone. You already are. So just be. It’s as simple as being constantly aware of everything going on around you. In this enlightened state, you realize that there is no I. There is only we. We are all connected. Our souls come from the same energy source. The ego creates the sense of self, but it is an illusion. By being aware, free from all distractions, you will be successful in elevating your level of consciousness and begin to realize Universal Truths, such as the connectedness of all life. You will be able to realize the falsity of the ego, and then dissolve it and all you are left with is the being. The joy of true presence is a gift, and I am eager to share these new realizations I’ve found with all who seek this internal and external peace.

 

Summer Girl Hawaii Yoga Hiking Exercise View Tessa Pesicka / Her Campus