WHAT THE COVID VIRUS CAN TEACH US

As a young woman, I spent 3 years in a spiritual school.  It’s not the path I follow now, but that training was extremely useful and shaped to a large degree, how my life would unfold.  As part of our training, we had to memorize a book entitled THE BOOK OF THE LAW.  Of course, these 40 years later, I can no longer recite it verbatim, but one line has always stuck with me: “Make no difference between one thing and any other thing, for thereby commeth hurt.”  What does this have to do with our present situation?

I think Covid is asking us to live in the moment, fully and consciously; to welcome the agreeable and the disagreeable in equal measure.  If we reject what doesn’t suit us, we reject half of life itself.  Everything that is coming to us now has meaning and value if we but chose to see it – fears, fatigue, boredom, beauty, rest, appreciation of nature, time, family, frugality.  Can we accept all that is?  In “normal” times, we don’t really have the time to consider these deep existential meanings.  Our lives are full of activity and distraction.  But now that we have time to contemplate, we can ask ourselves, “who is it that can accept all things; who is it that can make no difference between things?” It certainly isn’t the wounded child in us or the insecure ego, it is our higher self, the sage within. Touching this part of ourselves is what brings peace, understanding and wisdom. Now may be the moment to contact this part of ourselves.  Witness what is happening without panic.  Act but don’t be reactive. Be detached but be responsible.  Through this perspective, make no difference between one thing and any other thing.  The Buddha asserted that to be associated with what one likes and doesn’t like brings suffering.  So much effort is put into the struggle to obtain what we like and the fight against what we don’t like.  It’s exhausting.

What if we try not to concern ourselves with anything other than what is presenting itself in the current moment?  If we can do that, we can be happy and live without fear.  Try not to harbor thoughts of what is not, but embrace what is. Wanting what “is not” leads to complaining and depression. And if you practice complaining and depression, you will become an expert at them. Be open to what life is offering. As you practice welcoming any situation that life is offering, you can live a full, not a half life.

Another aspect of “Covid 19 as Teacher”, is best explained through the concept of dharma.  Dharma is that which sustains; it is what allows the world to exist.  Dharma is also balance.  The laws of the universe weren’t made by humans.  They are intrinsic to nature and its up to humans to uphold and defend them.  We haven’t done this and nature is saying STOP!  Nature has given and we have taken, without gratitude and sometimes even with violence.  We have violated the laws of giving and receiving and as a result, have created a terrible imbalance.  Mother nature has offered land, air, water, food and we have polluted them.  We kill off entire species and we kill off each other through endless wars and other violence.  We have destroyed dharma.  Wasn’t it then inevitable and necessary that something drastic would happen?  Mother nature had to prevent herself from dying.  She had to act.  If the planet dies, we all die.

During this time of confinement, let us realize our mistakes in order to avoid further ones.  Dive within.  All answers are there.  Nothing in this world is stable.  Peace will come only through finding our soul within.  My own spiritual teacher Paramahansa Yogananda teaches that we must become anchored in what is changeless.  Meditation is the most efficient way to do this.  He, like so many other great souls, counsels to not ignore problems but face whatever life puts in front of us while keeping our minds on the divine within. He said “Stand unshaken in the crash of breaking worlds.  Fix the mind on the reality within.”  The purpose of experience (currently Covid 19) is to awaken the goodness (Godliness) of our souls. Those qualities of goodness are fearlessness, love, service, peace and faith.  Tests come to help us build those spiritual muscles, and we will never be tested beyond our ability to overcome.

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