Borne out of Pain, Suffering, Death: A Reflection for Easter by Social Initiative Forum Project Leader Joan Sleigh
Text: Joan Sleigh [ZA] | Photo: Nicole Asis [PH]We all experience ourselves united as part of the drama of the Coronavirus pandemic – suffering and compromised to greater or lesser degrees depending on where we live and how our governments are able to handle the situation.
We are very privileged in Dornach because only spatial distancing is enforced, not a severe lockdown. Apart from this, the work continues, partly via the internet, but mostly in the Goetheanum itself.
A very different reality is challenging our society, where severe lockdown is enforced by police and military crackdowns, and people are exposed to enormous social and existential crises, as for example in South Africa and India.
Yet, at the same time, new and highly creative ways of building social and spiritual bridges are emerging – enabling intercultural awareness and support through digital networking, empathy, and appreciation across racial and cultural barriers.
With a deceleration of modern frenetic lifestyle and a stop placed on an economy driven by consumerism and profit, it has brought sudden stillness and tranquility to nature and society as if all are holding their breath and pausing to reconsider.
We are challenged to stand firm in the growing tension field of escalating crises and the creative possibility of a transformed future. But the opportunity for change is what we may consciously discern, create, and manifest in the potential of the unknown.
Rudolf Steiner suggests that “The grief and pain we suffer can be turned into strength to support everything we are called upon to accomplish” for the dignity of human life. “It is often the case in life that when a group of people finds themselves faced by a common disaster, they are united by it in a way that gives them strength and energy to go on together in effective common action.” (1)Recognizing and contemplating the interconnectedness of all things prompt individuality to become common humanity. While requiring the courage of the individual, it can also build the capacity to participate in the processes of renewal and resurrection, borne out of pain, suffering, and death.
“We must eradicate from the soul all fear and terror of what may come to us from the future. We must acquire serenity in all feelings and sensations about the future. We must look forward with absolute equanimity to everything that may come, and we must think only that whatever comes is given to us by ‘World Direction’ full of wisdom. It is part of what we must learn in this age, namely to live out of pure trust without any security in existence, trusting only in the ever-present help of the Spiritual World. Truly, nothing else will do if our courage is not to fail.” (2)
With this contemplation and in the light of Easter, we wish you all the courage and dignity needed for the inevitable change in which we find ourselves.
With warm greetings from the Social Initiative Forum Team,
Joan Sleigh | Social Initiative Forum Project Leader
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1 Steiner: Awakening to Community, CW 257, Lecture 6
2 Text compiled from 2 lectures given by Rudolf Steiner in 1910