Compassion: The Mental Antidote to the Coronavirus
As I write these words, most people around the globe feel stricken by fear.
Specialists do their best to advise government officials on the best course of action to take.
I bet you that you never heard the term “social distancing” as much as you have during the past 3 days. Ditto for me.
A family of 4 covered their mouths as my smiling, energetic, relaxed self walked by them during my afternoon cardio yesterday. I saw an annoyed woman make a wide berth around me today.
People are afraid. Many older and infirmed – and a few younger folks – have passed on from the virus. Infected people seem to largely recover but the panic grows.
What can we do?
Practice compassion for all of the fear-filled people of the world.
As we observe the practical steps governments around the world take to keep the virus in check, practice compassion toward your fellow humans to make life easier during these troubled times. Terrified souls scan less than optimistic case studies. Fear rears its ugly head the moment one person in another New Jersey community around me contracts the coronavirus.
Fear masked as anger arises the moment some folks see groups of people ignoring the social distancing edict, choosing instead to party and to seemingly put more folks at risk.
Elderly people fear death by virus, while younger individuals with weakened immune systems desperately tell folks to remain home bound, so as not to put their lives at risk.
People fight over toilet paper. Canned goods fly off of the shelves.
What can we do?
Practice compassion for the mass panic. Be empathetic to those who fear the virus.
Initially, I gave little attention and energy to the virus. Sure I slammed the news media; I understand what really transpires, behind the scenes. But I've gradually evolved into simply practicing compassion for the fear-filled folks out there focused on disease, death and bodily decay.
Having faced many deep fears in my life, the virus does not trigger my fears because I have cleared a hefty chunk of my fear-store. I've embraced and released the 8 year long, terminal illness of my mom. I've cheated death at least twice during my world travels, once in India, once in Bali. After facing down a spitting cobra, sitting in a cage with three 400 pound tigers and handling an 8 inch long centipede, I have faced, felt and released many deep fears that most folks never had to experience.
But as we always see; no matter your life experience, you need to pay the fear piper eventually. Living in your comfort zone all but guarantees your deepest fears get triggered by the death of loved ones, the end of marriages and mass pandemics like we currently experience.
In these moments, just be mindful that most of humanity feels afraid. I initially felt a little annoyed by the mass panic; that was my shadow, to own. Now I give most of my attention and energy to health and love so I filter afraid folks in a different light.
I get it. I have been afraid many times in my life. Before I REALLY dove into life and soaked it up like a sponge, I clung to a horrible fear of dying. Most folks feel terrified to die because most folks feel genuinely afraid to get the most out of life. We should practice compassion for everybody who feels afraid now, who feels annoyed now and who seethes with anger at the seeming lack of mindfulness in the world now.
I have been afraid. Even though I am not scared now, I still have my fears. Knowing this, I can empathize with my fellow human beings.
Be compassionate for your neighbors. Most human beings seem to be experiencing a super scary time right now. The love you dole out dissolves some of the mass tension society suffers through and slowly triggers the global healing we need right now, from the inside-out.