Some wise words from Ayya Jitindrya, an Australian Theravadin (Buddhist) nun:
What is Covid-19 teaching us:
• • That when fear arises and is not checked with mindfulness and wisdom, it can quickly escalate into madness, aggression and harm.
• • That when correctly perceiving the immanent risk of illness or death (which is nonetheless ever at our doorstep), it is teaching us to value and care for one another.
• • That when ordinary household and food supplies become thin-on-the-ground, it is teaching us to value our resources, to make what we have go further and not waste anything.
• • That when times and circumstances change dramatically, it is not ‘the end of the world’, but the beginning of a new way of being – we can discover our adaptability and ingenuity, rediscover our humanity and creativity, and our ability to focus and be content with the small necessities of life and love for each other, rather than the constant entropic becoming of getting something else or going somewhere else!
• • That in quietening down and being alone, if we can get over the initial hump of restlessness it does not have to be lonely, but an opportunity to breathe and settle and discover a certain kind of oneness, a connectedness at the centre of our being – (loneliness >> aloneness >> all-oneness)
• • That when governments across the world are choosing to value lives over economies, it is showing us that we can change the world and our priorities dramatically and quickly, when we accurately perceive the threat to be real and immediate. If we can do this so purposefully with Covid-19, we can do this all the better with the imposing and immanent threat of climate chaos that requires immediate action to protect the whole of life on earth. On a relative scale, the threat of irreversible climate change is a far greater threat than Covid-19 actually poses to humanity and the earth, our home. And to make the necessary changes, it is not required to shut down the world economies, but rather to stimulate incredibly promising, new technologies across the sectors of energy and industry and dramatically reconsider the way people and objects of trade move around the globe perpetually, at a dreadful cost to the environment. And this, as opposed to Covid-19, could be a fantastically exciting change to move through, one that surges with economic growth for communities everywhere, as we actually have the intelligence and capabilities at our disposal right now – we only need to make the decision and change direction at the level of government, policy and industry. Now we can all see how easily that can be done if the threat is clearly perceived, and the response is a global one.
May we all realise and fathom these great teachings at our disposal during these times of unprecedented change and challenge!
Love and compassion is a doorway to peace and clarity. Peace and clarity is also a doorway to love and compassion. On either side of that doorway, there is also true freedom and fearlessness to be found, no matter what the conditions displaying themselves. This is really the ultimate teaching.
–Ayya Jitindriya 25/3/2020