For the first time in history all of us are globally feeling alike, sharing the same experience. The Coronavirus, with all its harshness, is creating a worldwide feeling of empathy, of each experiencing in our own flesh what it is like to live without having immediate access to our basic need and desires, with the shadow of death as part of our lives. Plages and pandemics have happened before, but our ancestors’ awareness was limited to the happenings within their own four walls or their neighbourhood. At the most they would read in the newspapers or pamphlets about the more global situation, but that information was partial and at best a few days old. More recently the telephone allowed our parents and grandparents to stay connected with their most beloved ones in times of global danger such as the two world wars, but those calls were exceptional. Through the further evolution of technology, today the Coronavirus has spread in the five continents, and in so doing has created a worldwide awareness of everybody’s present situation – all human kind is now doing the same thing at the same time, all of us caring for one another, feeling a sense of solidarity like never before! Amazing, how wide our awareness has grown. We have had to learn the had way how to be one mind – but isn’t that the way we usually learn?
l feel for those who are sick, who have lost a dear one, who are struggling financially. I personally know how desperately painful and unfair it feels when fate hits you unexpectedly. The only way I found to cope, to keep your head above the water when you feel you are drowning, is to widen your perspective as much as it takes to contain the present situation in a more meaningful context, thus growing bigger than the situation instead of getting swallowed by it. This wider perspective happens by creating a distance between you and the current situation, it is like becoming a spectator of your own life, just like when you watch a film in a movie theater, where a tragedy or a horror film still touches you very deeply, but you can separate from it. There is the film and there is you, and no mater what happens around you, no mater how much your present situation hurts, you don’t get lost in it, you preserve your sense of self. This is what resilience is about. To me it’s about making a choice – to trust or to fear.
Where there is no trust, there is fear – that’s how our brain works. All it knows is to think, incessantly. And when it has nothing specific to think about, as a standard setting it starts looking for problems to keep it busy solving, or creates its own scenarios to find rational solutions for. Once it finds a solution, it moves on to look for the next problem, and the next, and the next. When it can find no solution, it gets stuck. That’s when the fear initiates and we start having anxiety, sleeping problems, obsessive thoughts and behaviours,… we all know what I’m talking about. So in situations like now, when life hits you without a logical explanation, the brain gets stuck in its never ending loop of thoughts and fears, which finding no way out only accelerate and grow worse. Trusting becomes almost the only way out of the labyrinth of fear.
Of course a certain degree of fear is necessary. It’s part of our survival instinct, making sure we stay out of potentially dangerous situations. Without a degree of fear we wouldn’t make it back home every day and without a degree of trust we wouldn’t even dare to leave the house. Both are necessary to be able to live. This is the great burden on humans, especially nowadays when we have buried that strong shared conscience of a God greater than our immediate reality. Their trust in God gave our ancestors hope, allowing them to go on with their lives in times of hardship, while maintaining a sense of inner stability, thus that broader perspective I was talking about earlier. Today we have replaced God with our priorities – making enough money, getting likes on social networks, our looks, our holiday destination or whatever it is that we have each turned into our golden lamb, thereby allowing the material to replace our inner stability, or expressed more bluntly allowing control to replace our ability to trust.
Without trust our personal cross becomes too heavy to carry. Without trust our fears and worries, that endless by-product of our mind to find solutions to, make us loose more and more the overall perspective, thereby trapping us in an irrational – but to us perfectly logical – limited reality. The way out of that dead end nightmare we all have already experienced at some point in the past, and the challenge to overcome this pandemic emotionally, is to remember that we don’t control everything, it doesn’t all depend on us, and letting life take its lead, while trusting in ourselves, our family and friends, our co-workers, those around us. It involves giving up control and opening up to sharing the construction of our future. Letting go our rational judgements of a ‘right’ vs. ‘wrong’ action and embracing the illogical possibility that, although we have no plan right now, we will know the right thing to do in the right moment, even though we have no clue about what, when, how or who will make things be alright again.
This is trusting, leaving the part of our lives we cannot control in the hands of that uncertain something that will make all the loose parts of our current situation fit, just like it has always somehow happened in the past. Trust is the broader perspective, the antidote for anxiety, sleeplessness and insanity. It requires learning to mind-dance, finding back our own rhythm:
- thinking and trusting
- facing reality while protecting ourselves from unnecessary toxic information
- putting the focus outside, on what is happening, as well as inside on our inner strength
- overcoming the loss or separation from our dear ones by embracing the love we have shared
- functioning in an efficient logical way and accepting what is out of our control
- doing what we have to, while respecting when we need to rest
- turning our passive unproductive thinking mode into an active self motivating mode
- lowering the volume of our rational voice and increasing the volume of our intuition
- letting go expectations and embracing the unlimited possibilities of the unknown
What a relief it brings to upgrade our mind to the level of awareness! Once we break free from the mind’s biassed reality we constructed ourselves with the pressure of judgements an expectations, we access our stable inner balance. Our priorities naturally shift from chasing never ending, mostly self imposed goals and dreams, to acknowledging the beauty and value of all we have and striving for a greater well being as a teamwork with those around us. Not many innately have this altruistic vision beyond the personal benefit. They have existed since the beginning of man kind, always ready to engage whenever and wherever needed, heroes risking their lives selflessly to keep us, the mass of people, alive and well.
The Coronavirus is teaching us solidarity, potentially upgrading humanity to become one unified global conscience. I wonder if – no, I trust that – this wake up call will make a difference, inspiring the hero in each of us and creating a more caring and empathetic society!
Thank you Elisabeth, a really helpful article – especially the ideas of resilience and widening our perspective.
Lovely and thoughtful, thank you for sharing!