Covid 19. Here we are, experiencing an incredible challenge of readjustment. The whole world is involved and grappling with it is a new deal for most of us. A spiritually oriented person for most of my adult life, I thought initially that I would find this change an opportunity to dig deeper. Well, that quickly became sheer necessity! I had no idea how wired I was into the physical patterns of attachment to dear ones. Being brought up in a large family, with hugging, arm-in-arm walking, and affection being the norm, I’m learning to ‘hug’ from a distance, to fill the six feet between me and others with warm love.
So how to go deeper, to find that wellspring of comfort and love that we in ECKANKAR call the ECK or Spirit?
We have some tools. Sacred words, the most universal being an ancient name of God, ‘HU’ (rhymes with you), can express the vibration and the sound of Divine Love. Sung on a single note on the outgoing breath, HU can be used aloud or silently, as a single utterance or as a song or chant for as long as needed or desired. Lately I have needed to sing it a little longer to calm myself and gain entry into the Light and Sound of God. But once I arrive there, I am filled with gratitude, relaxation and a desire to go further. Of course, I cannot spend my whole day sitting quietly chanting HU. However, I can pause in the supermarket when someone scowls at me or I accidentally turn into the wrong aisle, and inwardly sing a few HUs to regain my balance. Or when I get back in the car after a hyper alert visit to the hospital to drop my husband off for surgery, I can take a moment and sing HU to bring myself into harmony with life. I find it helps with the acceptance of what is going on.
So, our inner being is getting a real workout. We are, perhaps, finding areas that we thought we had put aside forever or no longer needed to resolve. Deep questions may arise. Answers are found when we can access profound love and gratitude for this experience called life. In ECKANKAR, we have a living master, a guide and support who not only teaches us through talks and books, but is also available for personal guidance in contemplation and dreams. His inner being, the Mahanta consciousness, embodies Divine Love to such a degree that he uplifts those with whom he comes into contact, physically, or in the inner realms. To reach him in your contemplations, it is helpful to focus on love, a beautiful idea or quote, or to visualise his face or that of someone you love. Sometimes this consciousness can be seen within as a blue light or ball of light. You may hear a voice or the sounds of the inner planes. If you receive direction from a voice in this state, it will only direct you to kind, loving thoughts and actions. Anything negative or hurtful is not a manifestation of the Mahanta, the Living ECK Master.
If we are to grow and benefit from this worldly experience of isolation, deprivation, and worldwide awareness, we need to dig deeper, to find the key that dwells in our hearts, and practice living in the Love that comes from the essence of life. Some call it God, Allah, Brahma. In ECK, we call It Sugmad, the Ocean of Love and Mercy. It can be found by using the HU sound to go within.
Erin Chard is a member of the Eckankar clergy, a long-time Victoria resident, a local artist, and a grandmother. Lately she has become involved with making sourdough bread. http:// www.eckankar.org/hu.html
You can read more articles on our interfaith blog, Spiritually Speaking, HERE
* This article was published in the print edition of the Times Colonist on Saturday, August 8th 2020