Let’s go ahead and fast forward past the scientific
evolution of the COVID-19 virus, how fast it has spread globally and how the
rest of the world is handling the pandemic. Let’s skip the debate of whether or
not we should be self or mandated quarantined. And finally let’s move past the
implications of it on our economy, our industries, our families and
Let’s just stop for a minute to just focus on you.
Being a provider who helps people understand the deeper meaning of life through psycho-spiritual counseling, I have been training for this very moment most of my life. And I have encouraged my clients to follow the path of non-attachment and freedom of suffering through breaking unrealistic belief systems upon which we all build our lives. That doesn’t mean this time is easy, but it does mean it is time to truly ask ourselves who we are.
My father used to always say, “I’ll tell you the character of a man by what he is afraid to lose.”
Many of us think that this means family, jobs, material possessions or status. But I will implore you to dig a little deeper and ask yourself what part of yourself, your character, you are losing or questioning at this time. Are your perceived freedoms being taken away? Are you being forced to face a situation at home that is less than ideal? Are you constantly looking for ways to keep busy to avoid being idle? Are you feeling levels of anxiety and depression you have never experienced before? And when faced with those questions, in the stillness of the night, who are you and can you face yourself in that dark? Can you face the unknown outcome of the future and be comfortable in it’s uncertainty?
Buddhist Monk and teacher Pema Chodran wrote, “If you are invested in security and certainty, you are on the wrong planet.” She wrote that many years ago, and this message has been taught around the world for centuries. The reality is that nothing has ever been or will ever be certain, and now, more than any other time in our global history, we are being faced with that reality.
The only reason this is different than most of times in recent history, is that we are all experiencing uncertainty collectively. At many times in our lives, we have lost jobs, money, loved ones, and even identities. But now, we are shifting perspectives together, and although it is affecting us all differently, we have an opportunity to see ourselves in others. We get to really understand each other’s pain and plight; each other’s fears and insecurities. This is our moment to shine and be leaders, where we get to practice love and compassion in a way we have never had the opportunity to do otherwise.
I will leave you with this final quote by spiritual leader Ramana Maharishi. When asked how best to treat others, he simply answered, “Easy. There are no others.”
Amita Nathwani is a practitioner and teacher of Ayurvedic Medicine. She is an adjunct faculty member with the Dr. Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine and has a private practice in Tucson, Arizona and Durango, Colorado. She is also a Tucson Public Voices fellow with the OpEd Project.