As we now enter another week of our (unpleasant but very necessary) near-global isolation in order to slow the spread of COVID-19, hopefully most of us have started to acclimatize to the new “normal”. Up to this point, no doubt many of us have had our share of frustrations, stress, uncertainty, confusion, fear, anger – maybe even unintentionally lashing out at the one’s we love. Of course we will forgive or support those who are struggling more than others. Of course we will forgive ourselves as well. And of course we will get through this. But could there also be another message being sent to us through this crisis, something far beyond the stress, fear and uncertainty?
“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.” ~ Herman Melville
But along with all these challenges, stress, fears and disruptions to our lives, there is also something undeniable and remarkable being revealed to all of us. This COVID-19 Pandemic has sent us all an important message. A message well understood by most Eastern or indigenous cultures and spiritual traditions. A message well understood by various religions and spiritual traditions around the world for thousands of years. A message well understood by anyone who has had a Near Death Experience. A message well understood by anyone who has had a psychological awakening experience. A message well understood by the field of transpersonal psychology. A message well understood by most people who have explored the depths of their own consciousness through psychedelics. A VERY IMPORTANT MESSAGE, even well understood and acknowledged by quantum physicists.
“We are all the leaves of one tree. We are all the waves of one sea.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh.
That very important message is that we are all fundamentally interconnected and interdependent. Try to recognize and accept that message, deeply and in the very essence of your being. And if you take it seriously, your life will be very different from that moment on. How you view and relate to others, how you view and relate to yourself, will be fundamentally transformed. You will undergo a paradigm shift in perspective.
“Across most if not all religious, spiritual and mystical traditions, the ultimate state, the supreme realization, is one of Unity – the separation’s we observe through our sensory systems are illusions. Even in the world of quantum physics, “at that deepest subnuclear level of our reality, you & I are literally one.” ~ John Hagelin, PhD
More than ever, now is the time for every human being to recognize this fundamental dependence on and interconnections with, every other person on this planet. We can easily see now, how a few people with a contagion half-way across the world in another country can, in a very short period of time, infect millions of other people in hundreds of countries across the entire globe. Effectively putting the entire planet at risk in only a few months. Just pause for a moment and reflect on how fucken scary and potentially existentially threatening, that is. One single killer pathogen with the right properties and infecting the right few people just at the right time and place, could wipe out a third or more of the population in a relatively short period of time. If that does not wake you up and pause to think about your own brief and fragile existence, or that of your family, I don’t know what would. However, that exact same multi-leveled interconnectedness which has allowed a pathogen to spread from host to host so rapidly and threaten the lives, health or well-being of so many, is also what will save us now. By temporarily breaking down one of those levels of interconnectedness through social-distancing and self-isolation – our shared biology, our shared interconnected biosphere and physical environment and proximity which allows host-to-host transmission – we will halt the spread of COVID-19.
“It’s because you and that other are one. This is a metaphysical realization. Primarily separateness is secondary. And unity, identity is the prime condition.” ~ Joseph Campbell (paraphrasing Schopenhauer)
Although we have temporarily severed one aspect of our multi-leveled interconnectedness, that disconnect on one physical level has also revealed another metaphysical level of interconnectedness. It is that metaphysical realization of unity, that you and the other are indeed one, which motivates those hero’s of human spirit among us – the doctors, healthcare workers, first responders, essential service providers – to altruistically and selflessly place themselves in harms way for the sake of the rest of us. It is that same metaphysical realization of unity, that you and the other are indeed one, which has also motivated millions of regular human beings around the world to join together in solidarity to offer support, volunteer time or resources, or in some cases provide us with entertainment to get us through each day. Like the Italians singing on their balconies, or communities around the world letting out a howl at 19:00 each night to express their thanks and gratitude for all the front-line and healthcare workers.
“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” ~ John Muir
Yes this is a very real and scary health crisis for all of us. Our lives have been collectively disrupted on a scale not likely seen in our life-time. But at the same time, the very best and most noble aspects of humanity are actually shining brightly through and all around the world right now. And it is this most perennial and metaphysical foundation of our deep-seated interconnectedness and underlying unity – the message of COVID-19 – which will continue to inform and evoke our compassion, kindness and humanity towards others, which will ultimately pull us through. And not merely to survive, but to thrive and evolve as well.
“We all are so deeply interconnected; we have no option but to love all. Be kind and do good for any one and that will be reflected. The ripples of the kind heart are the highest blessings of the Universe.” ~ Amit Ray