Many believe that life’s struggles happen for a reason. And if that’s true, what is the reason that this pandemic has happened? And, why are we all being impacted in such different ways?

There’s the obvious surface stuff that is having a huge impact. Things like kids being home from school, concerns about finances and jobs, being cooped up with each other, trying to work from home, uncertainty, health care concerns, and global chaos to name just a few.

But there is also something deeper that this global virus is attempting to teach us.

Ancient wisdom has been predicting that a global awakening would occur and shift humanity to its next level of consciousness. And that time is NOW!

In the book, “When the Soul Awakens: The Path to Spiritual Evolution and a New World Era” the authors identified that personal awakening happens in stages. As they explained, “The spiritual journey proceeds in stages, each of which has a specific goal. The goal of the first stage is to ‘Know Thyself,’ an adage harking back to the ancient Greek philosophers and the Oracle at Delphi” (p. 28).

So what does this have to do with coping amid a crisis and dealing with differences?

From a spiritual perspective, the Universe has created an opportunity for many to grow and evolve in the 1st stage of awakening which involves a journey inward to understand ourselves.

How do I as an individual deal with stress, uncertainty, fear, lack of control and freedom, rapid change, disconnection, disruption, and all the things that have been thrust upon us in the past couple of weeks?

Close to a year ago I was working with a spiritual mentor and sounded like a toddler with endless “why” questions. I had been working with clients offering mindfulness-based life coaching and I could see patterns of differences between people. I was curious about this and attempting to make sense of how and why we’re all SO different. I was asking her questions like:

Why are some people stuck in their heads while others are more grounded in their hearts? Why do some people struggle with feeling out of control while others can naturally go with the flow? Why do some people always have to be on the go, while others are happy to be a hermit with a book? Why do some people express anger outwardly while others suppress it to the point that they don’t even know they have it? Why do some people focus on the past, while others focus on the future? Why do some people feel like they won’t survive if they can’t help or be of service to others? Why…

She smiled and asked me if I was aware of the Enneagram, an ancient personality typing system that helps us understand ourselves and others. She thought it may help me answer many of the questions that I had.

And so, because of my personality type, I followed the breadcrumbs and began learning about the Enneagram.

The more I learned the more I realized that the Enneagram provided a map and way to understand ourselves. It was a huge eye-opener and eerily accurate.

According to the Enneagram, there are 9 different personality types, and we are all different and motivated by different things.

Let me give you a concrete example. I am motivated by having a sense of freedom, adventure and my greatest fears are being bored or stuck feeling discomfort of any sort. Another personality type is motivated by something completely different; like doing things right and keeping things in order. Their greatest fear is feeling out of control and being seen as not being “perfect.”

Without awareness and the ability to witness our personalities, they are like a straitjacket, causing inner turmoil, relationship troubles and limiting fears that prevent us from living a more authentic and peaceful life.

If you’ve ever felt stuck it’s likely related to the box that you don’t even know you’re in. And because our Souls want to bust out of the box, you get uncomfortable inside if you don’t listen and make some changes.

Continuing with my example of being fearful of boredom. Before I became aware of my straitjacket, I went to great lengths to prevent boredom and it was beginning to affect my health because I had to always be busy. For me to grow I needed to learn how to sit with boredom and turn inward. That’s why meditation felt like poison to my stuck personality and then became my prescription to get out of the box. It opened up a new world for me.

But you may have a different poison and prescription. If your poison is needing to be perfect and in control, then your prescription is learning to surrender and feel more peaceful inside.

To come up with the prescription you need to know your poison.

The amazing thing about the Enneagram is that not only does it help you understand why you may be struggling it helps you see opportunities for growth.

How do you know if you need to grow?

You know it when your current way is feeling constricted and is holding you back in some aspect of your life. You have an inner knowing that the way you’re doing life isn’t working.  You’ve lost your inner spark.

This global pandemic is shining a light on what isn’t working in our lives- at least I know it is for me.

Now is the time for each of us to do our part in this global awakening. And that means developing a healthy and thriving relationship with ourselves. Redirect at least a portion of our attention away from the fear of what is going on out there and become empowered by focusing on what is needing to grow and shift inside ourselves.