Reflections on the Coronavirus

I was hesitant to write some of my thoughts during this time of change and transition. The main reason is it seemed odd to me to offer my metaphysical musings as we are all looking for physical solutions. Food. Economic resources. Material comfort and the like. But I realize there is no time like the present to focus on what is important to us.

We are definitely doing this on a macro level. What is essential to human culture and society we are asking. Is this something I can do without. Then maybe it is a good time to begin to live a simple and more sustainable lifestyle.

At the micro level we can ask the same question. What is important to me. What gives my life meaning and joy and strength and vitality. And when we find the answer, we can then find the courage to make sure that we do those things. For what gives us joy is our gift not only to ourselves but to our world. And we are all the poorer without it.

But during trauma and crisis and times of transition it is hard to remember that love is essential. That joy is essential. That a smile is essential. That creativity is essential. You get the idea. The teacher said it this way “we can not live by  bread alone….” That means that there is an intangible nature to life. Spiritual if you would. You can’t name it, but you know it when you experience it.

Trauma and crisis and transition bring our focus rightly to the material, but life is not only trauma and crisis and transition. The teacher has something to say about this as well when he offered ”that he came to give us life and life more abundantly.” The abundant life is the full life. Life in all its fecundity. Flourishing life. Life that beams in all seasons and at all times. So, during the harvest we sing songs of triumph and during a drought we shout the blues.

My other thought is about how this time of challenge will affect our emotional and mental and spiritual well-being. For some it will be exasperating, it will be one more inconvenience and difficulty and chaotic event thrust upon their already overwhelmed life. For others it will be like the polish rabbinic tale of the rabbi who advises his charge to bring his livestock in to his home when he complains that his home is chaotic and devoid of peace and quiet. We, like the man in the tale may experience a moment of liberation when we realize that the majority of our complaints, in the grand scheme of things, were of little consequence.

For the majority of us, however, we will find ourselves somewhere in the middle. And the blessing of this state is that we will now realize that we are a part of a vast continuum with stress and anxiety on the one end and liberation at the other. And with our eyes now open to this reality we may find that we are a part of an expansive and infinite world full of possibilities. May we all, especially at this time of challenge, experience the greatest of these possibilities.

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