There is a very distinctive characteristic on the adversities we meet every day. They trigger us to look out and compare our situation to others. What happens to our peers is our cornerstone of measurement for where we stand and what happens to us is inflicting a racing contest in fear we are left behind. Our whole lives is built in the detriments of competitive lust. We are happy if we get ahead of our peers independently of what we gain and we feel a looser if the new Merćedes we got, falls behind the better car version of our neighbor. We look outwards to define our standing and we search for external signs that we are doing well.
But what happens when a collective disaster hits our lives like the current virus pandemic. How do we define our reality then? It’s a comic-tragic scenario to realise that people have no clue on how to react to it. They look around in panic to get a sense of general consensus and follow along. Is everybody else panicking? Is everybody running to the supermarkets? What’s the proper way to react in this? Is it consider selfish to stack my basement with 100 piles of toilet paper? Nobody else looks sure of how to react either, which makes it even more panicking..
The difference with the pandemic we’re facing is that it is a multifaceted threat. And our physical health is only one of its aspects.
The current scenario brought a change nobody would have anticipated. It’s a pure blatant breakage of our reality as we know it. All its pillars and architecture collapsed within a matter of a few days and got upside down from its core. There is no more certainty we are gonna find food on the table, there is no certainty we are gonna have our jobs or money, or our habits any more. It’s not even sure we are gonna have all of our closest people present in our lives either. Every little piece of our world as we know it, obtained a big question mark in front of it and we found ourselves having no stable prop to hold on to.
We can all feel the narratives breaking up one by one like little bubbles. It doesn’t matter if you did good all your life or how helpful and supportive and understanding you are of others, there is simply no discrimination in the eyes of the virus. Everybody could get it no matter how rich or poor or where he is coming from and everyone runs the bleakest of possibilities. The one of dying.
Because this virus did not only damaged our lives, but brought us face to face with the possibility of our own death..
But how could someone react to this without panicking? How can you not turn selfish and narcissistic and devour as much as you can with every possibility you have? How can we not close down to ourselves and get into not only a physical quarantine, but a mentally one as well?
Asthe first incidents of coronavirus started spreading around the globe, I remember how oblivious I was in the possibility of having to face with it personally. It was all happening so far away from me it seemed safely distant. I could relate to it and the pain it caused, but still, there was this ‘magic veil’ blanketing me into thinking I wouldn’t have to deal with any of it.
Only it wasn’t long before the first case appeared in my country and it wasn’t long afterwards that we had to witness businesses closing down, have daily transmission occurrences and counting victims in numbers. The worst-case scenario became reality and changed the way we perceived everything. It was only a matter of a few days for the situation to go out of hand.
But the most surprising aspect of the situation, is to observe how this diversity makes it so that our worst fears bubble up in the surface. It feels like they are constantly trying to find ways to get into our head and get the better of us.
The collateral damage of the pandemic is not being physically ill but getting mentally distorted and paralysed by fear.
Taking out the system’s pillars is shaping an existential crisis within us that makes it very easy to lose sight of our core strength.
What I came to realise is that one of the biggest fears we have to deal through this is the fear of being left alone. Being unsupported and vulnerable in a world we initially thought was there to ceaselessly and irrevocably provide for us and support our needs. We were like a baby living dependent and reliable to its mother only to discover one day that this continuing unconditional support is disrupted.
Learning The Humbleness
These scenarios break the narratives we have forged throughout our lives. The ones that say that by being good and doing this or that you can control the outcome and take the upper hand in your life. The one that says it’s up to us to facilitate our good living, and that it’s up to us that things will keep given to us no matter what. Our world shrinks into a field that is governed by much bigger powers and we come to the eventual understanding that we have a much more limited control on things that we previously thought.
Distracting Our Fears
It’s not unexpected to see how people apply different coping mechanisms to confront the situation. Is it a coincidence that people evolved into enlightened monks from one day to the other? That so many people offer advises and phycological support left and right, in posts and videos discerning how to not panic and how we should be looking after each other? Do they really have the answers to any of it? Do they really gasp the situation and offer their unconditional wisdom?
In times of cognitive dissonance, the unconscious is always offering ways to cover the discrepancy and sooth us into the illusion that we are still in control. It is simply unfathomable to admit that we are really in no position to handle what is going on and we have lost the thread. Most of all it’s an oxymoron to realise that the people that suddenly offer the most advice feel the most uncertain of them all. It’s nothing but an attempt to distract this feeling of ambiguity by assuming the role of the wise-man.
There is a Teaching in Everything
As always, there are things to take in from any scenario we encounter and most certainly the current pandemic is one of them. Through it all, we get to learn this new awareness of the collective consciousness. Suddenly there is an indication that world doesn’t revolve around us and we individually are not as imminent to the whole equation as we would like to be. We understand there are things out of our control and we learn to look into our standing with different eyes. By capitalising on what we can control and what we do actually have power on. We get away from the self-centered, limited view into a more elevated one. The one that surrounds the whole world and all the living things on it. Through it all we get to learn gratitude and appreciation, because the food we taste will have a much richer flavor in it from now on. The friends we talk to will offer a much bigger blissfulness and euphoria just for being there for us and the world around us will suddenly look somewhat more colorful..0