I was recently reading an article about what happens when running a 1600-meter race. In order to run the 1600-meter race, you need to complete four laps as most outdoor tracks are 400-meters. The first lap is easy because you have lots of energy and the energy of the start of the race is enough to carry you through. By the second lap, you’re getting into the groove of the race – and the fourth lap is the one where you know you just need to power through and give it all you have. It’s the third lap that’s the hardest – it’s the one that can make or break a race for you.
As we hit the one-year mark of COVID impacting our lives in a drastic method with the promise of the vaccine being available for every adult who wants it by July, it feels a little like we’re in the middle of that third lap. How are we going to keep going through this with the promise of the finish line in mind, but not in sight? It’s here that we’re going to need the fortitude and strength that engaging with our spiritual practices provide.
This is the time that we take time each day to get out in nature, to meditate, to visit with each other (online of course!), and to get in touch with that capital “S” self that allows the best in us to come forth. Science backs this up too!
It seems that meditation or centering prayer is helpful when treating depression. Engaging in spiritual practices helps to lower blood pressure and our hypertensive levels. Nurses, with proper training, can help patients to lower their blood pressure by finding “inner peace.” Dr. Emma Seppala, author of “The Happiness Track”, tells us that when we volunteer or donate to charitable causes, we provide ourselves with a buffer against the effects of stress and that can lead to longer lives. Meditation provides us with the benefits of improved health, happiness, and focus as well as decreased pain and depression. As we enter the third lap of living with the pandemic, let us remember to dig into our spiritual practices as this is how we are going to get through this – together.