I’m back!– after a long year on the sideline, keeping up my spirits in spite of the isolation, respectfully wearing my mask in public without respect being returned in kind. (Respect, after all, features tolerance, and a person whose viewpoint is discouraged or ignored is a person who isn’t being tolerated or respected.) As a promoter of peace, it has seemed all but impossible not to cave to the power of the fear that has enveloped practically everyone I know. But in my heart, I know life should be different from this.
When a person is fearful, adrenaline makes broadening the mind impossible. If you wanted to, you could blame biochemistry for blood draining toward the extremities, fundamentally narrowing thought. For better or worse, instinct takes over in this fear state. Now others are for or against you, on your team or the one that opposes you. Fear is part of our survival toolbox.
This, to my way of thinking, has summed up our cultural mentality in the US long in advance of the novel coronavirus. Hypercompetitive, clannish, fragmented in our thinking, resenting marching orders but following them anyway, ruthlessly judgmental of those from different clans and tribes so that we must dismiss their every idea. Ruled by leaders who mirror these qualities back at us, we resent the reflection or assume too easily that it’s not ours. The Covid emergency has greatly sharpened this image in the mirror. Can we afford not to do something about what we see?
The prevailing meaning of Covid on the political left (of which I have been a fully participating member for most of my adult life) seems to be “be very afraid, you and your loved ones are going to die unless you do exactly what experts tell you and think exactly what they tell you to think, and make sure everyone around you does the same.” From what I have seen and read, that is a message that many on the left have absorbed, too often acting as if everyone that doesn’t believe as they do to the last detail will be foolishly endangering everyone. It is as if people believed that the wrath of the Universe would be rained down should any sign of withdrawn faith in the expert class be allowed to surface.
There are many things one could legitimately think about the current worldwide health crisis. There are many pieces of information to be considered that aren’t being considered. When people are shut down from speaking them, good solutions are lost.
This is a very messed up, unhealthy way to live. May I suggest a meaning of Covid that is hopeful, purposeful, healing rather than debilitating? If you would allow yourself to see Covid as a look in the mirror of the collective psyche, you as an individual could possibly gain an opportunity to release a crippling team mentality and once again just breathe, think, feel, imagine. Who knows, maybe your resulting explorations will be the very thing to change our collective human trajectory. You would find your way out of mental lockdown, that form of modern day imprisonment where you perceive the other team’s ideas as a threat to your very life. What a surprise it will be to find that that door unlocks from the inside.
Like Biblical plagues each worse than the last, the virus reflection is at least as scary as others that preceded it, but it seems to me that we will ignore it at our peril. The mirror is showing us who we have become so that we can change. Where is there healing from these deeply grooved patterns of thought that the mirror is revealing right now? Healing comes in many forms. Look around, look within, don’t stop until you’ve found the healing you need right now.