Community//

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Emerging from the crucible of COVID-19

Candle in the window
Photo by Anne Nygård, Unsplash.com

This message is about love. Not a romantic or familial or parental love, but a deeper, broader love that can be generated by the human heart, and sent out to all who come near. The kind of love we need right now. All of us. For the very real and obvious reasons.

Many of us are locked away at home, fearful to step outside in case we pick up a virus that could kill us, or else be fined for breaking the social-distancing rules. Some are in the grip of fear and anxiety. But ‘shutting the door’ from others cuts us off from so many, breaking the inner sense of connectedness that nourishes and grounds us in times of uncertainty and upheaval.

So what do we do when we’re out of the flow, behind closed doors, finding what it’s like living in solitary confinement? TV, books and social networking fill some of the gaps. Cooking takes up time, as does tackling that project that’s been on your to-do list for a decade. But if you’re a senior, like I am, long retired, there is an abundance of time. Having given my situation considerable thought, this is what I have come up with.


The world needs people who love…

Just as there are angry, violent people who give off a frightening force field, loving people radiate a benevolent, calm space around them. You realize you are safe, and in the presence of love, as soon as you encounter such an individual. I suspect that even from behind closed doors their loving presence can permeate out onto the street, through the neighborhood and into the homes of their friends, embracing them in a way that eases their loneliness and anxiety. Let’s imagine that it is so.
 
Perhaps we all have these two sides within us. But I want to be someone who loves, helping all of my friends, neighbors and loved ones, even those I don’t know, to get through this scary plague that’s turning our lives, our economy, our whole world upside down. I want to make a difference.

At this time in history, the world needs people who radiate love. But rather than think of love as an emotion, let’s think of it as an energy—the primal energy of the universe. “What we call ‘love’ is a radiation that pervades the whole cosmos,” wrote the great scientist, inventor, mystic and author Itzhak Bentov. This makes sense to me. As do the spiritual teachings of East and West, from people like Buddha to Jesus, who continually taught that the whole purpose of living is to become a vessel of love. So just how do we do that?

Here’s what works for me…

Sitting quietly on the couch, I take a moment to open my arms and imagine I am such a vessel. Or when I wake up in the middle of the night, as many my age tend to do, I take a deep breath and give thanks for another day.

Then I imagine my heart expanding. And with as much intention as I can muster, I send out a stream of light and love – first to my friends and neighbors, then to politicians (they need it!), to doctors and nurses, to people on respirators. I send it to young people who are either in denial or scared of this thing called COVID-19. To parents desperately worried about their children, so confused and irritable over being at home, not at school with their friends. And of course to those who are stressed out from the loss of jobs and income… overwhelming to be sure.

How will we emerge from this?

Sending out love is profound yet simple, I’m finding. All it really takes is focus, and intent, and a willingness to suspend judgment. Each time I do so, I like to imagine each of us silently strengthening the threads of caring and compassion that link us all together. So what if we all did it?

Love may be a much more subtle force than fear and greed. But it can create a healing and embracing atmosphere that could percolate everywhere it’s needed, all around our planet, tempering the atmosphere of anxiety that threatens to paralyze us in our current times.

This is more than an invitation. It is a call to come together, to open our hearts and see ourselves capable of generating an energy that feeds and supports us all. It may not change the course of the pandemic, but I believe it will make a difference within us, and how we emerge out of this crucible.

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