Despite the doom and gloom that is portrayed in the media, I think it is important to notice, and point out the possibly unpopular perspective that there is something deeply good going on with all this COVID-19 stuff. I’ll admit that this may be localized – it is not and will not be like this everywhere in the world. However, I am seeing very positive changes in people, and I wonder what truly good long-term changes may occur that we will trace back to these historic events. I’m convinced that there is a deep goodness going on underneath the fear. We are, whether we like it or not, being forced to see what really matters to us.
Suddenly the priorities of the planet have shifted. Our collective compulsive economic fixation has been knocked off its pedestal. The almighty dollar has been attacked by a very real plague. And money is not preventing rich people from being affected, or from dying.
Meanwhile, many of my anxious clients are finding peace they didn’t know they had in themselves. Because they are not slugging through soul-numbing commutes to jobs they despise, they are actually caught up on sleep. They are relaxed. The pressure is off of us to perform, to produce. The whole world is slowed down. The whole world is taking a big breath. Maybe even a sigh of relief.
How might this be the best possible thing to happen to us right now?
That inquiry, which Byron Katie offers us for any time of challenge, is a beautiful way to notice the assumptions we are making and to consider ways that this is doing good. I don’t want to undermine that many people are, and will suffer. But that doesn’t mean that there is not great good in this as well. We are hearing hugely positive news about environmental healing that is amazing and encouraging. We are seeing acts of generosity and solidarity across streets and cultures. We are phoning old friends.
Without going into possible negative futures, can you notice how truly ok you are right this moment? This is a chance to disconnect a bit from the way that we pursue external experiences and objects as a means for our happiness and fulfillment. Can you find peace in the only place it has ever been, in your own quiet heart?
But this is also revealing the true colours in many people and groups as well. Despicable acts of greed and deceit, of selfishness and inhumanity are coming out of this pandemic. And that is a good thing as well. We want those things to be revealed – in others and in ourselves. How else do we know who to vote for next time, where we want our money and our trust to go, and personally, where our weakness and our pain might have been hidden from us?
Crises force old things to come to the surface, like an earthquake breaking open the earth like a warm bread roll, making a crevasse that shows ancient rock. What are we seeing more clearly in this? What is it teaching us? I would urge us all to take some of this extra time and sit quietly in ourselves, either in meditation or in journaling, or in a calm walk in the trees. As a culture, our priorities need to shift if we want to continue. It is obviously not sustainable the way we’ve been doing it so far. We have swept things under the carpet for a long time, and some countries have big bumps that they are now stumbling over.
Take a few deep breaths in your day. Nothing has to happen. Just be present with it. You don’t have to write a novel or build a new deck. But somewhere, I would bet that there are beautiful minds creating masterpieces of every medium because they are stuck at home or laid off from their day jobs. Making the most of the day doesn’t mean being productive in the corporate sense of the term. In fact, the greatest thing we can do for ourselves and humanity is, arguably, to be able to sit in peace.
What we do, who we are, ripples out from us in every action and every action left undone. Don’t think for a second that you don’t matter, because without you the universe would certainly fall apart. Look at how necessary we are, how crucial every part is, and how there is wisdom in our collective movements – not just humans, but the whole tapestry of life.
What if, as Einstein (and others) suggest, God doesn’t play dice? Meaning, what if the universe truly doesn’t make mistakes?
See that there is perfection in this moment.
But only in what is really real. Not in what we project, in what we imagine – in all the conceptual ways we think about a past and future self or world.
Right now. You are deeply, truly ok. Even in fear, even in sadness or anxiety. Our deeper experience shows us our real self underneath these fleeting emotions. Notice it. And let it move you to act in integrity with that sense. We are all connected.
We are all connected.
If nothing else, maybe this whole coronavirus thing will at least show that to more of us. We have no borders in reality. As my teacher Rupert Spira would say, the differences are on the map but not the territory. The rich as good as the poor, the black as the white, the us and the them. It is not just a cliché to say that we are all in this together.
We’ll figure out tomorrow when it comes. And we will figure it out together. I will reach my hand out to you and when you can hold it again, we will both be even more grateful for the connection.