'I read the news today -
there is fighting in the streets'
the lyrics speak to the reality of this day
March 30, 2020
Covid 19 as teacher
What are we learning?
Fear reaction of self-protection prompts a 30-year-old to push down an 86-year-old for violating social distancing. The 86-year-old woman died from the fall.
Armed neighbors in Maine cut down tree to block neighbor’s driveway to prevent his leaving to enforce social distancing. A crowd gathered to violently make him adhere.
I think of Farkhunda in Afghanistan stoned to death because accused of burning the Koran, she never did, she died a slow painful death at the close hand of the fueled hatred and fear.
What drives? Who leads?
The Contagion of fear and hate is far more dangerous than Covid 19.
Fear & Uncertainty in the Brain requires an identified 'other' to fight. We need to inform it with accurate information based on direct sensory experience to come back to our senses.
What can we do?
Train the Mind. Care for the Body. Direct the Heart. Moment by moment by moment by moment.
Biological Protection is an automatic reaction to preserve our life. It lacks information as it moves so fast. Slow down. Conscious Care can interrupt the automaticity and reMind the Greater Good. We are not made to take in so much information at one time. The plethora of images and headlines that we sleepily scroll through seeds in us a cascade of unconscious reactive behavior.
We are all susceptible. Notice when you get afraid, when you feel anger at someone not adhering to social distancing, or when you are trying to grab groceries and feel the anxiety of not enough and too many people too close. NOTE the reactive SENSE of this. NOTE the urge – to Act in some way, maybe just in the mind to be negative, or in the mood to be irritable, or in the emotion to fear, in the behavior to fight or flee or freeze.
Just this, and you are Conscious, creating just enough space to be a witness and not a participant.
Now, first Care for your own state with full appreciation for the conditions that create this natural biological response.
Second, give something to your ‘system’ that is supportive to its health and well-being: a full exhale and deeper inhale, move the body, take in good nutrition, rest, write, listen to music, dance the body, read inspirational wisdom, look at nature. Not to cover, but to widen perspective of body and mind.
Then you can extend out. Understand. "There, but for the Direction of Mind, go I."
Study your inner life engaged with the outer environment. Find this possibility as remedy for the sense of helplessness, loss of control, fear for safety. Then you will have used your time very well. I hear Roshi Joan Halifax at the end of retreat day chant, "Life and death are of supreme importance – Time passes swiftly and opportunity is lost – Let us awaken – awaken . . .
Do not squander your life."
I heard the news today – the essence of who we are is generous, kind, loving. Create the environment to reveal it, moment by moment by moment.
I give thanks to the many teachers over the many decades of my life. The wisdoms echo in my mind and body and support me throughout all times.