During the pandemic, we face many challenges. As a teacher of spirituality for over two decades, I have accompanied hundreds of people on their spiritual journeys. I want to share what I have learned with the wider public and offer this class online for people who may need a course like this in a time of stress and anxiety. Because just as we thought the pandemic was under control, since we have so many people vaccinated, the Omicron variant arrived!
The pandemic has put so much pressure on our lives. We have been put through a human experiment that has not been orchestrated and is unpredictable. All of a sudden, we could not go to schools, restaurants, and churches. We are uncertain whether we can spend Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays with families and friends.
We have not lived through such kind of life. We have to find ways to help children learn and spend their time at home. Children feel stress, anxiety, grief, and worry during an ongoing pandemic.
Adults do not fare better. In January 2020, I had digestive problems. During the pandemic, while many people gained weight, I have lost weight. I did not go to restaurants. I taught my courses online and I seldom met other people except my partner. I could not even see my grandchildren for a year until I was fully vaccinated.
Psychologist Adam Grant calls the feeling of “languishing” the dominant emotion of 2021. Some of my friends and students have told me that they are depressed and anxious about having a stable place to live, job security, and the future of the country.
What kind of spirituality will help us go through this demanding phase of prolonged anxiety, with a feeling that things are not going in the right direction? I want to offer a master course on “Spirituality for the Contemporary World” for students and people in the community who want to have a space to talk, to learn, and to support one another. I will introduce some of the readings and practices I have found helpful so that we can craft a resilient spiritual life to face the challenges of the pandemic, racial injustice, and climate change. I will invite pastoral and spiritual leaders, artists, and poets to promote an enriching and stimulating learning environment.