Like many of you me and my family and loved ones have been blessed so far to survive this pandemic. If you are not so fortunate know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and yours. A good friend of mine got it and for nearly two weeks he couldn’t taste, smell, or sleep due to severe body aches. I’m worried for the long term affects he may suffer. Survivors are showing nerve, heart, and lung damage. This virus, unlike other potential pandemics illnesses like Ebola or mad cow disease, has been difficult to define. Covid-19 has inconsistent symptoms and effects. It mutates. And the more science learns the stranger it gets. But the virus isn’t the biggest challenge of the pandemic.
Like all other challenges humanity faces the biggest challenge is the way we, as a human family, face it. The natural human response to threats are fight, flight and freeze. The fighters are seeking treatments and vaccines. Those who would run or freeze mostly look to deny the reality of the disease, or they rationalize with strategies such as comparing the percentage of death to other diseases and calculate an acceptable loss. The cold hearted simply want to push on and let nature take its course. Would such a person suggest not stopping a forest fire? Shall we stop using warning systems for storms, earthquakes and tsunami? Arguing as people die is a waste of time and energy. The real challenge of any disaster to take the kindest, most compassionate and loving actions we are capable of to help each other.
Our capitalistic society has made us feel helpless without commerce. Isn’t that interesting? Have we really become slaves to the thing we created? I think not. We just need to remind ourselves who is in control. Millions of people are acting with compassion; they are giving whether it is money to food banks or volunteering to help with food distribution or testing. Chefs are helping to cook, authors, actors, and many other professionals are raising money for charity. People are making or donating personal protective equipment to health care workers and first responders. Many good things are coming from the human heart.
The challenge of the coronavirus is answering the question; how may I serve? If all you can do is pray for the health and happiness of all people, do it. Send more love and warmth into the world. Light a candle or incense for all those suffering, include yourself in your thoughts of comfort, just be mindful of the flame. If you are not elderly or with underlying medical conditions that make you more vulnerable, think of something that moves your heart to action. For me it was writing this post. I’m also working on a book to sell to raise money to help the people of my community.
Maybe in facing the possibility of poverty we will have more compassion for the poor, maybe in facing sickness, and even death, we will gain compassion for the sick and dying, maybe seeing the way the the fear of uncertainty creates many many different irrational responses we will develop the wisdom to end mental suffering, maybe in wanting to help our neighbor stop suffering we become a wiser and more courageously kinder global family, a truly enlightened society. If this is what is born from the challenge of this virus it will be looked back upon as a blessing instead of a curse. The power is ours to choose.