From the bottom of my heart, I feel
We should cling to nothing.
Everything skips through our fingers.
All that we seek to hold on to dissolves.
Everything vanishes like mist and dreams,
Time is a strange thing.
When we don’t need it is nothing.
Then suddenly there is nothing else
To me, reading the above verse brings the image of thousands of dancing Shivas with their eye movements symbolizing unfolding events in the realm of time. The current unfolding is causing untold misery to mankind. Vladimir Lenin once said,”There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen." True to his words, it seems that decades worth of misery and death have been packed in a few weeks.
This misery is a pandemic caused by a Novel Corona Virus, less than one thousandth part of the thickness of the human hair. Covid-19 (Corona Virus Disease- year 2019) is an unceasing requiem causing an unsettling global crisis.
Since this virus is highly infectious, we have been asked to stay home. There is unpalatable anxiety and fear in our hearts. Our fear and anxiety about what has become and what life will be is the result of our karma. It is a result of the accumulation of our ruthless and criminal exploitation of earth and its resources during the last hundred years. Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist Monk, said “Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.“ Instead our violent pounding has put the earth on a ventilator. As the result of ruthless plundering of earth, we now live uncomfortably close to wild animals, and as a result we are exposed to new set of viruses. Our actions have produced four Zoonotic (originated in animals) diseases in this century including Covid-19.
We know how to measure time, but have no idea about how it will unfold. Therefore, the forces of apocalypse gathering elsewhere elude us and show up as a virus. The destructive power of this virus has brought us on our knees, deflowered our ego and undone our threads. The scare of it is so high that we fear touching our own faces.
Past is prelude. Our civilization has gone through such catastrophes in the past - such as Spanish flu in 1920’s in US and Western Europe or the plague in Mumbai in late 1800. In each incident, we were saved by combination of magic and miracles – the magic of science and miracle of empathy. No doubt that the science in near future will do its magic by finding an effective vaccine against it. I also see the miracle being performed by people with empathy. While washing hands we are realizing that one hand washes the other and in our aloneness, we are sharing each other’s loneliness. The collective activities such as making masks, serving free food, etc show that we are perfecting the art of making Mandala ( Buddhist multicolored art depicting that the whole universe is connected by Karuna, the compassionate action).It gives me optimism that this darkness may lead us towards a gently shimmering future.
What if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb,
But the darkness of the womb?
Remember the wisdom of midwife:
“Breath,” she says. Then: “push”
It is my hopeful prayer that we will work towards restoring the harm done by us for future generations. We will not forget that while we were locked up, animals came out exhibiting their playful nature without fear of us humans. New Delhi’s air became cleaner by 70 percent, and the birds came back with full force. Dolphins and turtles have started coming close to the beaches in California. In the dark liquid of the night with the help of binoculars, one can see migrating birds. Maya Angelou must have imagined a phenomena like this before penning,”This is a wonderful day, I have never seen this one before.” My prayer wants us not go to our old ways once we come out of “Spiritual Lock Up”, so that the earth will continue to heal. It is my hopeful prayer that we will once again drink joy from the restored beauty of mother nature. The poet Kitty O’Meara, a retired schoolteacher, wrote a poem a few weeks ago. The poem went viral. It expresses the sentiments of healing beautifully. I am sharing the poem for your reflection:
And the people stayed home.
And read books, and listened, and rested,
and exercised, and made art, and played games,
and learned new ways of being, and were still.
And listened more deeply.
Some meditated, some prayed, soe danced.
Some met their shadows.
And people began to think differently.
And the people healed.
And in absence of people living in ignorant,
Dangerous mindless and headless ways,
The earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again,
They grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images,
And created new ways to live and heal the earth fully,
As they have been healed.