Gladly nestled in my rural cottage, I’ve had ample extra time this week for two of my favorite things: meditation (it’s better than just sitting around doing nothing) and contemplation about the state of our world. While dropping into this quietude, three preternatural revelations came to the fore as lessons we can take from the COVID-19 havoc.
#1: THE POWER OF OUR RIPPLE
If you’ve ever doubted whether you—as one person—can make an impact, you now have tangible evidence.
We’re seeing how the ripple effect of our respective handshakes, actions, words, and emotions can instantaneously be transmitted and disbursed.
This same power to proliferate can, of course, be used for purposes that serve our positive evolution and general wellbeing.
While fear is a potent emotion, it’s not our worst enemy. Our widespread demise would come more quickly through apathy, indifference. Lack of empathy leads to the degradation of the human spirit. Uncaring ways can literally ruin us, along with our home planet. It is already. What we may be finally experiencing is how caring can heal, cure and save us.
#2: THE CONTRARINESS OF COMMODITIZING WHAT’S NOT OURS
In less than one century—a smidgeon of humanity’s existence—we’ve become almost blasé about the idea of monetizing that which is given to us freely. Food and water. The sun’s rays and the earth’s minerals and fuels. Plants, animals, fish.
We’ve wrangled all of these natural resources and much more into our capitalist model, thereby making ourselves reliant on the system for even our most basic needs.
One example: No March madness this month; all sporting events and concerts canceled. But are we lamenting the lack of entertainment or the bank that it brings? I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t do our part to spur the economy (that’s another subject for another day), but it seems an opportune time to reframe all this.
And don’t think Ma Nature, from whose font of abundance this all flows (well, maybe not the NBA), isn’t keeping tabs on the balance upsets and injustices. Kid you not, she holds the gavel. We could be completely obliterated in a minute—the vanity of achievement quickly wiped away, the results of our toil made history. Mass extinction is not unprecedented on our planet. Just saying, more gratitude for and free sharing of our gifts might be in order.
#3: THE FUTILITY OF BORDERS
Dally as we may in our self-delusion, what this pandemic is showing us is that borders won’t ultimately save us. The notion of nation-states is a grandiose fictional story that enough of us tell ourselves to believe it’s true. But fact remains that you can’t slice off the air from one county to another.
Our world has become too small to not consider—just consider—a global constitution based on basic human rights, a different way of slicing the pie.
And as we get wiser, fewer are going to follow a world leader who says “me first.” Whether it fits your lifestyle and politics or not, we’re all in this together. As COVID-19 is teaching us, lack of solidarity and cooperation is becoming dangerous.
I don’t have any answers, as I’m still living these questions, as you are. But this I know: True wisdom refuses all trite solutions that suggest either that we know it all or that we can know nothing. Dark times can grow us in ways we ordinarily wouldn’t dare, and this may be one of them.