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An open Letter to All Practitioners I

Marts 2020

Dear all practitioners

We are in the midst of a global humanitarian crisis witnessing the vulnerability and profound suffering of so many people around the world.

Because of the coronavirus, all people in Denmark and large parts of the world have been forced into retreat. A worldwide retreat that remarkably, albeit accidentally, coincides with our three-month retreat by the Limfjord, planned long before the present situation.

Suddenly, themes that naturally arise during a retreat have become urgent for many people. Concerns about contagion and the fear of death (our own as well as that of our family, friends and those close to us) have become real and pressing, reminding us of the impermanence and fragility of life.

You might use this opportunity to look at your fear, anxiety and inescapable death. And integrate these provocative feelings with practice (be it yoga, relaxation, mindfulness, witness meditation, prayer, intercessory prayer, dedication, bi-directional consciousness, Dzogchen, etc.).

So why not try and turn this involuntary retreat into a voluntary period of isolation and contemplation, into days of intensive practice or a short retreat, with the intention to benefit others?

The persistent and responsible appeal of the authorities to show community spirit; the necessity to stand together to take care of the sick, the vulnerable, the elderly, the homeless, fits perfectly with the fundamental motivation for spending time in voluntary practice retreat: to deepen the inner work in order to be better able to be kind, helpful, warm-hearted and balanced in relation to other people.

Perhaps this situation is a dress rehearsal for everyone, and not least for those who have a spiritual practice, to remain in contact with the heart and a higher perspective, to maintain a calm centeredness, especially when faced with global crises and likely breakdowns.


In order to work contemplatively with this, you could proceed like this:

Sit comfortably, relaxed, and notice your breathing.

Now, feel your fear of contagion and possible death.

You also feel compassion and concern for those closest to you and for your friends.

Be aware of the necessity for everyone to take their share of the responsibility.

You feel your connection with all of humanity, compassion for people’s concrete suffering and pain.

You are aware of your own body, its vulnerability;
yet, you let your breathing calm down anyway.

As if your attention were a bird, you let it fly freely and do not let it land in any of the different feelings or thoughts or disturbing images.

The bird of attention is hovering above it all, watching carefully,
but does not focus and does not land.

Attention and our blue planet are floating, right now and right here, in the universe.

And this free floating is sustained by compassion and the sense of community with humankind, with the crisis, your neighbour, your loved one, and with the biosphere.

Sense the source of this freely floating attention.

Try to rest, relaxed and naturally, in the source of attention.

And let kindness and helpfulness spread from there to your fellow human beings.

Just like when you shop for your sick neighbour and place the food in front of her door.


With heartfelt greetings

Jes Bertelsen


Letter as pdf