The great saints and sages of all ages have taught that our experiences reflect our consciousness.
Those experiences may include earthquakes, wildfires, and other natural cataclysms – or fierce attacks by armies of the tiny invasive micro-organisms we call viruses.
Pondering the teachings of a great modern sages, Paramhansa Yogananda, I was struck by the similarities between the negativity being emitted by all nations in recent years, and the social repercussions of the Covid-19 viral infestation which have included fear, anger, blame, divisiveness, and feelings of separation.
Practical measures are urgently needed, of course. But other perspectives are also needed.
As our spiritual teachers have told us, times of crisis are times of “dangerous opportunity.” Every circumstance of our lives is a rich challenge to go inward and change ourselves.
Even as travel schedules are disrupted, schools close, and meetings are suspended, we are learning the meaning of “social distancing.”
Following upon the immediate, frenzied grab for survival goods, I’m feeling that the world has become a little less hectic, a little more quiet. There’s more time to travel inward, to reflect and meditate.
Our interconnectedness through electronic communication may help us work together to conquer this challenge. It’s a time to be creative, to reach out to friends and neighbors – similar to the apartment dwellers in Italy who’ve been singing together from their balconies.
Several of my patients have noted that they’ve felt an unusual surge of happiness at this time – possibly because they’ve been able to let go of the expectation that their lives will move forward along the old, familiar lines – perhaps due to feelings of gratitude for all the ways we are blessed.
Walking in my neighborhood, I noticed a novel sense of relaxation and a sense of shared experience as eyes met and people inquired about each other’s welfare.
While writing this, I received an email from a friend who enclosed a poem by Lynn Ungar:
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath-
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
–Lynn Ungar 3/11/20
If love and compassion went viral, I wonder what healing might take place in the world.
Even as our great teachers have told us, we were born for each moment in which we find ourselves. Let’s make the most of them!