The current pandemic may be just the opportunity we so desperately need to sit beneath the Bodhi tree and regain that spirituality with which we were born.
Whatever words you use, hymns you sing, scripture you quote, or theology you follow, there are two great Spiritual Truths endemic to humanity that we need to, not only recognize once more, but embrace fully. They should become mantras for modern man:
I control nothing but myself.
There is Something out there greater than I am.
You do not control the corona virus or how it is presented in the news. You cannot prevent it from mutating. You cannot make your neighbor wash his or her hands. You cannot worry this virus into submission. It has no will for you to bend. It is not sympathetic to your anxiety or your schedule or even your ability to make ends meet. Neither is it doing this to you on purpose. It is neutral, indeed, oblivious to human feelings and endeavors. This will come as a shock to the vast numbers of people who expect their feelings to be considered by everyone and everything. If you’re anxious, it is because you choose to be anxious. The virus didn’t “make” you be that way. If you’re worried, you choose to worry. You control only you.
I know that it is hard not to be anxious and not to worry, but these are bad emotional/spiritual habits, and the more you practice resisting these twin temptations, the stronger you will be. You will relax. A calmness in your core will start to grow. . . .
You are not the pinnacle of Creation. You are special because the Universe did conspire to create you, but It did not name you the Boss of Everything. After all, we may have no other purpose than to house the million microbes that are swimming around in us, corona virus being just the latest. Call it God, Humanity, the Cosmos, Tao—there is Something that is greater than you. Recognize this fact. Embrace it. Submit to it. The more you paddle against the Cosmic Flow, the more frustrated—and exhausted—you will become.
Celebrate it. The Universe doesn’t need you to navigate this Grand Trip on which we find ourselves. It’s a Trip taken on a raft more so than a canoe, so quit paddling. Just try to maintain a steady keel. It doesn’t need you, but for some reason, It invited you along, anyway. No guarantees on the difficulty of the rapids or where you’ll ultimately land, but enjoy the ride. Every day. Virus or no virus; quarantine or no quarantine.
Do what you can to make the journey pleasant for your fellow passengers. You can control that.
You will not solve the medical crisis nor will you dictate policy. You can build that calmness at your core, which will naturally emanate to the others on your raft. The gloom and anxiety we feel over this pandemic is palpable. So too are individual acts of kindness and thoughtfulness and calmness. That’s palpable, too.
I’m not sure I am “enjoying the ride” as you suggest, but I like your reminder that we can only control ourselves — that is a very important Buddhist and Yogic tenet. I am grateful that, while I had to close my Yoga studio, I have found ways to teach virtually … something I never planned on doing. I’m grateful that technology exists that can keep us together even when we’re kept apart. Take care!
Sounds as if you’re making good where you can. That’s not only all we can do, it is the most we can do under any circumstance. 🙂
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