In January 2020 I gave a talk entitled ‘A Time of Crisis or a Time of Transformation?’, part of which is included as an article on this website. This was before Coronavirus became virtually the only news, before Lockdown, and before the resultant dire economic depression and mass redundancies that are happening now. Although I was upbeat in that talk, wanting to focus on the positive things that were happening in our world, I did speak about the environmental crisis and of a world that seems to be ever more chaotic and unfair, with political, economic and social structures that are not fit for the purpose of serving the greater good. Coronavirus has revealed this to be undeniable.
Underlying all these crises we face, including the pandemic, is a crisis of consciousness. Our world has been dysfunctional for some time now, and so have we! We have been irresponsible in our use of resources, our over-consumption, and our pre-occupation largely with satisfying our own desires. Hyperactive, we’ve grown used to competing and allowing ourselves to be distracted instead of facing and dealing with what really matters.
Coronavirus has forced us to slow down and take a long hard look at ourselves. It has shown us the price we’ve been paying for wanting more and striving for more in a world where success, wealth and power are highly valued. We’ve become used to endless growth and prosperity at the expense of things that truly matter. We haven’t been satisfied with ‘enough’ because somehow the ego, with it’s sense of disconnect from the world around us, leaves us feeling that something is missing in our lives. We think we can transform ourselves and so try to fill that void with all kinds of distractions, obsessions, and addictions, whether it’s alcohol, drugs, sex, shopping or watching TV. We constantly expect and want ‘more’, a kind of compensation process for something indefinable that we feel we lack.
Something has changed however. We have begun to see the inequalities in our world more clearly, we realise that we don’t need to consume continually in order to be, and we don’t need to be constantly distracted. What matters is health, wellbeing, security, family and friends, community and perhaps simplicity. Many of us have spent more time in gardens and parks, able to observe nature more closely. We’ve experienced less noise, cleaner air, and less stress. Suddenly we’ve found more time and life is richer.
Coronavirus has restored our sense of connection to nature and to humanity. What most of us want is a world that works for all, a sense of contentment and peace. We want to flourish and thrive. Rethinking our lives, we can explore ways to both heal ourselves and help others. We can become more aware of who we truly are, and at the same time be more considerate of others and what they may be going through. We can show love by whole-hearted listening, by how we speak to people and what we say, by generously sharing of our time as well as what we have. We can make better choices about how we live our lives, aware of the effects this has on others as well as the planet, for everything is interconnected, as we now can see so clearly. So if we wish for anything, let’s try to aspire to a life well-lived, and do what we can for the good of all.