Let us start by refreshing our understanding of the present times. We are living through a crisis the modern world has never seen before. Heads of nations, CEOs, and religious leaders, all have publicly shown their humility in the face of this ongoing crisis.
The pandemic’s many facets and impacts on the economy, social fabric, and health will keep unfolding in the coming months. So above all, be easy and compassionate with yourself first. If you are taking care of yourself and your own circle, you are doing more than enough already.
As we navigate these times, our best bet is to keep charging our batteries. Conversely, nothing is worth exhausting these batteries. Nothing, except being on the frontlines. If you are doing that, Kudos. (If you know of someone on the frontlines where we can be of any support, please do let us have the privilege.)With that humility, we move to explore the fourth of EMPS, the Spiritual battery. (We earlier shared on emotional, mental, and physical batteries)
Spirituality at a meta-level and quite simply can be seen as tuning into the spirit of things. And then it keeps finding resonance with the deepest part of oneself, the corest of the core…tuning into the highest thought, the clearest word, and the grandest feeling of oneself.*
In Indian traditions, it is navigated with an overarching claimer: Neti, Neti! Roughly translated as this is not it…this is definitely not the last that you’ve seen of it! Like a flower with a thousand petals, it keeps unfolding.
Spirituality can be fraught with danger. Dangers of hubris, denials, and false projections. Speaking about spirituality, like this here, can also be quite dangerous!
Thankfully, we are talking about something completely different, the Spiritual Battery! So we can focus on two basic aspects of it: Sleep and Serenity. Though it is completely ok to also look at these as indicators, and not just aspects of one’s spirituality!!
Let this be an invitation to sleep revolution, and a reminder if you are already a part of it.
When in doubt, sleep. Sleep till you get the clarity. And the highest clarity is that sleep is the most critical part of our existence!
Between sleeping a little lesser and a little more, always choose sleeping a lot more,
not just a little more.
Since you’re reading this you are likely an educated professional. You are more likely to be sleep-deprived than otherwise.
There can be an underlying medical condition in some cases, making you feel the exhaustion even after 8-10 hours of sleep. Conversely, there can be sleeplessness. Urban professionals are prone to many vitamin deficiencies and lifestyle diseases. It is highly recommended to address it with the help of the right medical intervention without any delay.
Sleep as much as your body needs, not as much as society pressurizes you to. And then sleep some more. It is one big favor which you can do to yourself and a huge one in these stressful times of Covid-19.
Sleep does an infinite number of extraordinary things for you; for your physical, emotional, and mental batteries.
Want to increase immunity? Sleep does it. Want to reduce stress? Sleep does it.
Want brain thinking sharper? Sleep does it.
If anyone still makes you feel bad about any aspect of your sleep, ask them who won the 2017 Nobel Prize for medicine and for what? Take a high-brow pause, since hardly anyone knows the answer. Then tell them about the winners: Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael Young for their decades of work on Circadian Cycles or Bio-Clock. Essentially on, hold your breath, SLEEP.
After that, you can tell them about your sleep preferences and pretend these scientists recommended it. (Odds are, you will be right.) Nobel Prize, you see, is the magic word that impresses, even intimidates people, into accepting things. Sometimes, even the bigger truths of life!
You can then watch the enemies of your sleep fade away as you close your eyes and go back to that snooze.
AND be respectful to your sleep preference coded in your body. At the very basic level whether you are a night person struggling to get up in the morning, or a morning person, bright and sprightly in the wee hours. Respect the reality of this instead of feeling something is wrong. You can then go on to create better ways for meeting the world halfway when necessary.
AND bring some more of the best practices around sleep quality in your life. The quantity will optimize eventually.
Like, going for minimal and redshift lights (orange/yellow) from sunset to sunrise, and maximum and blueshift lights (bluish/white) during the day. Anywhere you are! This helps regulation of melatonin, the primary neurotransmitter regulating sleep in human beings. Modern lifestyle and lighting don’t align with how melatonin induced and stopped sleep in the human species for 300,000 years before electricity arrived.
Like every day soaking in a couple of hours of 10,000 lux light, which no normal artificial lighting can give you. It is however available in the outdoors under the open sky.
Like ‘going to bed’ instead of ‘hitting the bed’.
AND put up this quote at a prominent place in your home:
“If you love someone, let them sleep!”
Follow the spiritual or religious practices that bring you serenity. In fact, increase your connection with a power higher than yourself. Enhance your surrender to a ritual or wisdom bigger than your individuality. In these times of Covid-19 distress, certainly by a few notches more.
And/Or create white spaces in your life.
White spaces can be in the physical environment around you by removing clutter or being minimalistic. Or in your calendar, in your days and weeks. These can be specific chunks of time where you do nothing. Absolutely nothing. This unstructured time is profoundly spiritual.
Being with nature is one such white space. Green and blue and brown space, a big spectrum actually!
If you feel uncomfortable or downright anxious (quite likely) in such white spaces, doing nothing, go to EMPS Energy Part 2: Emotional Battery Yeah, you need to work on your emotional battery for sure if you can’t be ok with some downtime, some blank spaces, which are superchargers of super performers.
Find your bias.
Follow your bliss.
and/or keep the doors open to anything extremely personal which brings you a fulfillment that nothing else does. It can be a simple delight of whistling or watching the trees sway, or looking at the clouds take different shapes.
Or listening to a certain kind of music that no one in your house or your neighborhood likes. The more irrational, the better!
Irrational delights create micro bliss. These micro granules of bliss are all around us. Seek help from children to find them if you can’t find them on your own, including the child that you yourself were.
Some of all this is automatically happening during the different flavors and phases of the lockdown. People have started sharing that they are doing things they always wanted to do, or revisiting hobbies that had stopped for many years. We want to nudge it for everyone a little more.
The same is true for other batteries too. We know first hand of very senior executives who have increased the time they spend on recharging these batteries. In addition to daily morning yoga, there is an evening treadmill along with the calls. Connects with extended family and friends are happening more frequently. You can clearly see the energy differentiator playing out.
You can take on doing 2-3 of these nudges for each day, and 3 to 4 times a week may be sufficient for each battery.
Be authentic. Start from whereever you are. Know yourself before you stretch yourself.
Tune into your regular regimen.
Also take on something new.
If you end up doing it the other way round, that’s fine too.
Take the feedback from your body, mind, emotions, and sleep.
Recalibrate instead of beating yourself or completely giving up.
Self-flagellation is not the same as taking responsibility. In fact, it is the opposite of taking responsibility. It is the inability to take feedback and an overall absence of being authentic.
A Golden Rule connecting this with Serenity:
If you have to try too hard,
or too long, or too frequently,
it is NOT a Serenity charger.
At least, not in the way we take on things. Check if what you’ve taken on is really worth losing what really matters in life.
Change what you have taken on,
or the way you have taken it on.
If your circumstances or your internal system guides you to do nothing at all, that’s fine too. Do Nothing till you get a call from inside.
Let us conclude by reemphasizing the need for EMPS charge for everyone, irrespective of their age, gender, or level in any organizational hierarchy. It is relevant for each one of us, even if the calibrations may differ.
The beauty of these batteries is that in the process of charging them mindfully,
we also keep expanding our capability to charge them.
In a virtuous cycle, this phenomenon happens only in the natural and organic systems. So while entropy is all-consuming and omnipresent, the only thing that defies it is evolution and the recharge called by various names.
Giving in to human evolution by humbly doing our bit is what makes us alive and unique. We are organic and we can be anti-fragile.