The vast resources of the spiritual and religious traditions offer us sustenance and inspiration during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Spirituality & Practice Team is recommending one of these resources on our homepage each day. This index, which is being updated daily, lists three foundational resources, followed by links to the daily posts organized by category.
Spiritual Practices for the Coronavirus Pandemic provides links to spiritual practices to disarm fear and uncertainty, use while taking preventative measures, handle social distancing and quarantine, be present with illness, and sustain hope.
E-Courses to Help During the Coronavirus Pandemic lists S&P programs available on-demand that will help you learn how to handle difficulties, stay healthy, and develop your contemplative practice. The e-courses have been developed by well-known spiritual teachers and their already reasonable fees are now discounted by 30%.
Summer Special: Three E-Courses on Finding Meaning amid the Pandemic will run during June, July, and August 2020 and are available as a discounted subscription (pay for two courses and get the third one free): (1) Creating Sanctuary for Yourself and Others by Terry Hershey and Patricia Campbell Carlson, (2) Time Outside of Time on sabbath practices with Wayne Muller, and (3) Dark Nights of the Soul by Thomas Moore. Each month-long course will include two Zoom "Community Gatherings" with the teachers and other participants for more reflection and sharing in small groups. You can also subscribe to each course individually.
The Spiritual Literacy Film Series consists of 26 half-hour films which will inspire and comfort you during the pandemic. Use films on such spiritual qualities as compassion, gratitude, and wonder for meditation and reflection. Each is available to stream as a video-on-demand for $1.99 to rent or $5.95 to purchase.
Be Like the Mountain by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Equanimity is a state of inner balance that enables you to remain calm and centered in the midst of turmoil, such as the times we are living through now. Read more about this sometimes difficult concept to understand and try using a simple saying and some affirmations to practice it.
Change Your Play by Piero Ferrucci
It is possible to face hardship with a different attitude and transform it into a chance for learning and growth. Here's an exercise to help you identify resources of strength, intelligence, will, love, resilience, and energy so you can activate a different modality during this difficulty.
Coping with Negativity by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Spiritual practices can be antidotes to the negativity afoot in our private and public lives. Here are a few to try during the pandemic.
Chronicle Your Losses by Lama Surya Das
Every loss -- and people are experiencing many of them these days -- leaves us with feeling that need to be processed. Here are some questions to reflect upon after you identify some of your losses.
Crying Out to the Holy One by Joyce Rupp
There are dark times in all our lives when we may feel separate from God, and this may be one of them. Here is a personal ritual for when it feels like you and God are in "separate bedrooms." It includes a prayer, a meditation, and questions for reflection and journaling.
Doing a Jigsaw Puzzle by Rami Shapiro
This fun indoors activity can also be an opportunity to reflect upon the unity of life and our connections with others. No one puzzle piece makes sense on its own. When we, like the piece, take our place, we discover the integrity and meaning of the whole.
How Not to Worry by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
The coronavirus pandemic gives us lots of things to worry about. But we don't need to let these worries sap our strength or deplete our emotional will. Here are some ways to deal with your tendency to worry -- from not jumping to conclusions, to using concerns to connect you with others, to turning worries into positive actions.
Lamentation by Abigail Hastings
Posted on June 1, a National Day of Mourning and Lament, after COVID deaths in the United States passed the 100,000 mark, this Call to Worship proclaims that we are knitted together in suffering that connects us to a Truth perhaps too terrible to look at or contemplate alone, and yet "every morning now is mercy."
Listen with All of You by Arjuna Ardagh
Whether at home, on the phone, or connecting digitally, you can hone your listening skills by giving your undivided attention to not only the words you hear but the mysterious presence from which those words arise.
Living as One Human Family by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
We can get so caught up in what's happening to our families or our neighborhoods during the pandemic that we forget this is a worldwide crisis. Here are some simple ways to acknowledge our connection to others around the world and increase our capacity for empathy.
Locate the Hidden Strengths Within by Donald Altman
Self-assessment is always a good spiritual practice, but too often we focus on where we are not fulfilling our aspirations. This practice shifts the focus to your strengths. What qualities do you possess that are helpful in this time?
The Luxury of Solitude by David Kundtz
Did you incorporate periods of solitude into your daily life before the pandemic forced it upon you? Now you can discover how a time of your own, a time alone, prepares you to be more authentic when you are with people again.
Making a Vow by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Change is not easy, especially when we are facing difficulties. Making a vow reinforces your intention and affirms that "you can do hard." It gives momentum and importance to your efforts.
The One Good Thing by Patricia H. Livingston
Our brains are wired so we recognize danger more often than ease and joy. But we can retrain them to see the details in our lives that make us happy. And then we can cheer others by sharing our stories.
Opting Out of the Blame Game by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Is the pandemic some country's, some government's, some people's fault. If you find yourself obsessing about this, these practices are for you.
Practicing Patience by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
The pandemic is forcing us to be wait and accommodate ourselves to others, to tolerate delays and let things unfold in their own time, and to accept that we personally are not in control of the timetable. This is when patience practices can really help.
Practicing Visio Divina with National Parks and Monuments
Many of the U.S. parks are closed, and people are not traveling. But there is another way to gain solace and inspiration from these places. This gallery opens with instructions for a four-part visio divina practice, followed by photographs from 24 parks and monuments to contemplate.
Prayers for the Neighborhood by Tom Cowan
Even when we don't see and interact as often with our neighbors, we can connect with them through a simple ritual.
Reducing Our Attachments by Chagdud Tulku
The pandemic has caused many of us to simplify our lives. In spiritual circles, this is often called reducing our attachments. Here's a simple exercise to help you break down the habit of holding on to behaviors and things.
Reflect on a Piece of Turf
The area we can safely traverse during a day may be smaller these days, but we can still experience the wonder in our world by focusing on something like a small piece of our yard or a nearby natural area. Albrecht Durer's watercolor painting of grasses, weeds, and flowers invites and trains such attention.
Resurrection as a Spiritual Practice by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Posted on Easter 2020, this practice is for any day and people of any spiritual tradition. It suggests 37 ways you can make rebirth and renewal a part of your life – from paying attention to noticing beauty, making connections, bringing hope to the world, working for justice, having reverence for life, and more.
Sacred Writing by Jamal Rahman
In times of anger and sadness, this exercise honors both your feelings and your responses to them. A second step allows your higher self to express itself fully.
Save Your Tears by Forrest Church
If you find yourself sad and weepy as you hear of the suffering in the pandemic, remember that a full cup of tears is proof that you have felt deeply.
Seeing Every Act as Significant by Joseph Telushkin
Jewish philosopher Maimonides suggests that we regard ourselves as being equally balanced between good and evil. Therefore, one good act will tip the balance toward good in our own life and in the entire world.
Smudging to Purify by Evan Pritchard
Purification is the first step in any ceremony or healing process. This practice comes from the Algonquin (Native American) tradition. As you learn about it, find a way, perhaps from your own tradition, to create a shield around yourself.
The Spiritual Value of Repetition and Routine by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
As many of us are sheltering-in-place, we are establishing new daily routines. This is a good time to incorporate practices into our spiritual lives that involve repetition of prayers, mantras, or special activities.
Spiritual Work with Memories by Frederic Brussat
Posted on Memorial Day 2020, this mini-retreat encourages you to harvest your memories of loved people, places, and experiences, and create some new meaningful ones in this time of pandemic.
Sweetheart by Bernie Siegel
The requirement that we engage in physical distancing does not mean we need to be social distancing. Now is the time to remember and connect with all the sweethearts in your life.
Talk a Walk by David Kundtz
Exercise is good for the body, and it's also good for reflection, decision-making, problem-solving, and crisis management. During the pandemic, take regular walks for clearing and refreshing.
Teaching the Spiritual ABC's by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Parents and caregivers who are homeschooling children during the pandemic can also pass on their spirituality at the same time. Here are some good spiritual practices to try.
Tonglen for Activists Seeking Solidarity in Isolation by Kathy Bozutti-Jones
In tonglen practice, you breathe in a quality or situation and breathe out something to relieve or balance it. This tonglen meditation covers common distresses and goals during the pandemic.
You Are What You Give by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Generosity is a spiritual practice that reflects an attitude of heart and mind. As nonprofits and other groups struggle to finance their pandemic outreach efforts, they need our donations and gifts more than ever.
Beasts of the Southern Wild directed by Benh Zeitlin
Six-year-old Hushpuppy faces the difficulties of poverty and climate change and proves she knows how to be a survivor. Our gallery shares her lessons, many of which also apply to how we can deal with the pandemic.
Begin Again directed by John Carney
"In this world of troubles / My music pulls me through," sang rocker John Miles. This romantic drama about a street musician discovered by a producer captures and conveys the healing power of music.
Cast Away directed by Robert Zemeckis
Tom Hanks stars as a FedEx employee stranded on a deserted island. He models creative ways to handle being isolated from people while keeping his spirits up.
Films about Baseball
Opening day for the 2020 baseball season has come and gone. You can still enjoy America’s pastime with these movies about the players and the challenges in the sport.
The Four Seasons of The Good Place by David Glidden
For those looking for something to binge-watch, we suggest this situation comedy with a philosophical understory that asks some deep questions: What gives meaning to the lives we live? What happens when people die? And can philosophy provide the answers?
The Martian directed by Ridley Scott
An astronaut left behind on Mars models how to cope with isolation, anger, and disappointment. As he devises ways to survive, he learns to appreciate the little things that contribute to his living – for him, duct tape; for us, face masks.
The Shawshank Redemption directed by Frank Darabont
As concern grows over the high numbers of coronavirus victims in U.S. prisons and detention centers, our hearts go out to the incarcerated. This film revolves around two prisoners who discover how hope can give their lives meaning. One scene is particularly powerful as music provides a moment of grace.
Badlands by Bruce Springsteen
Does this sound like our times? "Badlands, you gotta live it everyday / let the broken hearts stand as the price you've gotta pay." Yet here are some affirmations: "I believe in the love that you gave me / I believe in the faith that could save you / I believe in the hope and I pray that some day / It may raise me above these Badlands."
"A Cure for Sadness by Mirabai
This poem by the sixteen-century Hindu mystic poet proposes that recognizing beauty in what is right before us can be an antidote to the misery and despair we hear about and see.
A dragon was pulling a bear into its terrible mouth by Jelaluddin Rumi
This poem by the Sufi mystic Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks, encourages us to notice the presence of helpers in the world and to give our weakness to the One Who Helps.
The Good News by Thich Nhat Hanh
We are hearing a lot of bad news during the pandemic, yet good news abounds as well. The revered Buddhist teacher reminds us in this powerful poem that "the good news is published by us" and "the latest good news is that you can do it."
Have You Not Heard His Silent Steps by Rabindranath Tagore
In difficult times, we seek reassurance of the presence of the Divine. A mystic poet reminds us that in "sorrow after sorrow" his steps press upon our hearts.
Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye
This poem by a Palestinian-American poet explores kindness as the deepest thing inside us. In his commentary, Roger Housden calls it a rending yet redemptive poem which reaches down to the roots of our humanity, which lie in the great heart where we all cry together.
Living in Hope by Suzanne C. Cole
This short poem raises up hope for times when we feel alone or sad, when circumstances overwhelm us, chores bore us, and it feels dark. Then hope, like beauty, peace, and love can restore us.
Tears by Svein Myreng
Here's a poem to reflect as hospitalizations and deaths mount. Tears make a path where joy and sorrow merge.
A Prayer for Those Affected by the Coronavirus
This prayer, written by Mary Ann Brussat in late January 2020, calls upon the God of Mercy to give us patience, comfort, and protection.
Praise Song for the Pandemic
This prayer by Christine Valters Paintner, founder of the Abbey of the Arts, recalls all for which we can be grateful during the pandemic with praise and blessings.
Tiny Prayers from the Epicenter
Written by Micah Bucey, minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City, this collection of prayers covers health care workers, faith leaders, those who are afraid, artists, our bodies, elected officials, those who have died from the COVID-19, with more prayers to come.
Children's Books for Support during the Pandemic
It's easy to envision a fairy tale that begins, "Once upon a time there was an illness so terrible that children had to stay home all the time." At such a time, children and their caregivers need to use their imaginations, and books can provide support. We've put together a collection of children's books on appreciating nature, dealing with emotions, developing useful practices, embracing loss and grief, gaining perspective, and staying home.
Embracing Boredom by Frederic Brussat
Some people are getting bored as they shelter-in-place and are risking their health and others' by venturing out to stores and socializing. This blog post encourages us to see boredom as a spur to curiosity, an opportunity to look internally and make leaps of imagination.
Emotional Intelligence curated by the S&P Team
Our emotions are one of the richest sources of energy we possess -- and they can also trip us up, especially during difficult times. Spiritual teachers advise that we pay attention to both positive and negative emotions and work with them. Here are a month's worth of book excerpts to help you improve your emotional intelligence.
An Excerpt from Awake Mind, Open Heart by Cynthia Kneen
A story about how the great Tibetan poet-yogi Milarepa invited a demon to “Tell me about yourself” yields this advice for our own times: Lean into what frightens you. Don't look away. Even if you are afraid, don't run away. Open to what you are feeling.
An Excerpt from The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
Spirituality — the belief in connection, a power greater than self, and interconnections grounded in love and compassion — is a key component of resilience. And resilience is a very needed quality during a pandemic.
An Excerpt from How to Be Happier Day by Day by Alan Epstein
Change is in the air, and one of our teachers of this is the weather. Living our lives day by day, we are part of this universal system. Really experiencing the weather is a way to get out of yourself and enjoy an adventure.
An Excerpt from The Smell of Rain on Dust by Martin Prechtel
As the number of deaths from the virus shock the world, it is a time to grieve. An indigenous teacher explores the many meanings of grief -- what it is and what it is not -- and concludes that it is a sacred art.
An Excerpt from When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron
Sooner or later, observes the Buddhist teacher, we are going to have experiences we can't control -- little things and huge societal impacts, like this pandemic. And the way to resolve our resistance to these events is meet them face-to-face.
An Excerpt from You Are Here by Thich Nhat Hahn
Every moment, even in the midst of a pandemic, can be a wonderful moment, once we free ourselves from preoccupations about the past and the future and settle into the present.
An Excerpt from Zen Heart by Ezra Bayda
Fear is so prevalent in many people’s lives these days – the basic fear of losing safety and the helplessness of losing control. A Buddhist teacher explains how to practice with fear to create a more spacious heart.
Making Reading Sacred by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
If you reading more while staying at home, here are some of the ways we make this activity into a spiritual practice through enthusiasm, gratitude, hospitality, meaning, and openness.
Passages on Solitude by Kent Nerburn, Esther de Waal, and Jeremy Langford
Solitude, although it may not seem so when you are alone in your home, can be an expansive practice, bringing us in touch with the pulse of life. There are lessons to be learned in one's "cell." Here are some ways to practice solitude.
The Spiritual Path of Grief by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Here is a collection of quotes from the spiritual traditions of the world about how people have navigated this painful path. There is wisdom here for those all of us affected by pandemic deaths.
12s Gallery: Patience by Darren Polito
Patience is a virtue, we've learned, and it can also be a life-saving practice. As countries debate whether to relax COVID mitigation measures, a key consideration is whether the public can be patient. Here are some quotes to reflect upon to assess your own capacity for patience.
The Call to Unite
This live 24-hour global event began Friday, May 1, at 8 pm EDT. Spiritual leaders, singers and storytellers, dancers and painters, public servants and poets participated, including Elizabeth Gilbert, Alanis Morisette, Krista Tippett, Marianne Williamson, Oprah Winfrey, Roshi Joan Halifax, YoYo Ma, Kabir and Camille Helminski, Richard Rohr, Eckart Tolle, Byron Katie, David Brooks, and many others. Go to the "See All Videos" section of the site to watch segments on song, spirit, courage, practice, and hope.
Love, Forgiveness, and Compassion Conversation Cards
These cards, created by S&P’s partners at the Fetzer Institute, are available to download and print on both sides of 8 ½” x 11” papers. The 52 cards with quotations, questions to discuss, and actions to take will enrich your conversations at home or in a virtual meeting as you share how to incorporate more love, forgiveness, and compassion into your daily life.
#Naming the Lost
This 24-hour vigil was held on May 20 - 21, 2020, from 2 PM - 2 PM ET, and archives of the entire vigil are available on the website. We encourage you to visit it for compassion practice. Participants from many different religious traditions from around the world read the names, ages, and locations of those who have died from COVID-19. The organizers explained: "The lack of collective mourning during the COVID-19 crisis has left many feeling even more isolated and alone -- and created a gap in the public conversation about what it at stake and who is suffering at this time. We know that every person who has died from COVID-19 and its impacts was so much more than a number or a statistic and we felt it was important to honor them and the people around them by reading their names." On the website you can sign up for updates and notice of future events.
One World: Together at Home Playlist
On April 18, 2020, musicians and entertainers from around the world, organized by Global Citizen, joined together from their homes to present a global broadcast and digital special to support frontline healthcare and essential community workers and the World Health Organization. You can stream the entire concert here or use the link to access the playlist on Spotify.