How are you doing? One moment your heart (like mine) may crack open and the next your fear for society and your family may overcome you. Then there is a settling down and recovery—so many of us have been here before. Maybe not the same exact pandemic peril but instability at watching a version of reality that we believed so true and to which we had so many thoughts attached become shattered. Only to find in just a little while (days/weeks/months—maybe longer) but eventually experiencing life lifting us up as if on the wings of a merciful angel and once attain we’re recovered. But each time we hold less intensely to what we perceive to be and label ‘reality’—our version of it anyway. The veil thins and our illusions and delusions are exposed to ourselves.
We’ve been unstable before and found our comfort in the role of the observer having to let go of what we once believed kept us sane. With that last line comes to mind the Jimmy buffet song lyrics, “It’s these changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes; Nothing remains quite the same; With all of our running and all of our cunning; If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.” When nothing remains the same, and when the veil thins and (sometimes painfully) our illusions are exposed humor does help. (Last night our family gathered in a webcam platform and created belly laughs which were quite healing and fun.)
More lyrics: If it suddenly ended tomorrow
I could somehow adjust to the fall
Good times and riches and son-of-a-bitches
I’ve seen more than I can recall
Yeah, on that last part sons and daughters of people who ignore social distancing! Ah, but there it is again – fear and projections overcome me again.
We’re living through dramatic change these days and rapidly. When I contemplate and meditate that whole process is about observing the mind and studying and learning from the way the mind itself is continually changing. Now we see that change on the outside as well as the inside. The nature of life ‘is’ change and we experience this in our meditation and contemplation but our human side, the personality that attaches to all that it believes is un-changing is now waking up due to the potentiality of this virus for which there is no cure and no vaccine. Yet, today, with my facemask securely in place and list in hand while walking through the produce section of one of our local grocery stores, two older gentlemen, one who is the produce worker and the other a customer were rather loudly defending their old realities (poo-pooing COVID-19).
Later at home in equal form, the woman across the parking lot had 6 children closely playing together in front of her apartment (only one was her own child) while she watched from her porch. A young mother with a toddler was amongst the group as well – no social distancing at all mind you! Apparently, the gig was up and they were back to the old reality.
In meditation, we begin to realize directly ‘how things are’ and we begin to see the very deep truth of impermanence and uncertainty. We see that form is impermanent and subject to continual change.
Turn on the news and you will see it how impermanence and uncertainty is televised in abundance. The amount of change, insecurity, destabilization, and vulnerability is quite visible.
People create an identity and then attach to that persona an idea of how they believe things are supposed to be.
Yet how things ‘are’ actually ‘is’ how it’s supposed to be – because this is how ‘it is’. To defend a different reality or to try to live an old illusion will only potentially cause more disappointment and suffering. And as I type those last words the images of people who are not socially distancing flashes before me.
The way things ‘are’ is always changing and that change really isn’t up to us. I can’t make people observe social distancing and they can’t stop the virus spreading by going back to a reality in which they closely gather and ignore the risks.
To ignore the feelings of fear and panic that may arise by indulging in risky behavior not only for one own self but for others (isn’t that the huge lesson associated with this virus?) is not wise or skillful. Those feelings of anxiety that arise are normal; and so to, first of all, best accept that and realize that those feelings are not to be identified with.
They are feelings and those who are very sensitive to energy are feeling those feelings, processing them right along with the world in which they are arising. It’s okay – it’s just what’s happening like in our meditation when we observe the thoughts and feelings, we don’t over-identify with those either. We realize that it’s just what’s arising and then dissolving again. We are not thoughts and we are not feelings.
Yet, again, like those ignoring social distancing right now and those refusing to wear a face mask, it’s the lower human nature to want to shove away a reality that one doesn’t want.
There was anger in the voices of the produce man and his customer in the grocery store. That certainly comes from loss – loss of the old reality and the resistance to change.
Can we learn from this all these changes rather than running from it (like those who refuse the mask and ignore social distancing) and becoming angry with it (like the men in the grocery store)?
This pandemic lifts the veil and shows us the true nature of reality. Pardon the pun but now can we take some of this veil and put it over our nose and mouth?