We have used language to separate ourselves from each other through a litany of pronouns—you, he, she, it, they—which together mean “other.” Yes, we say “we,” but it is usually used in a sense that cordons off “us” from “them.” The greater “we” that encompasses all of humanity is rarely part of our vocabulary. World events in the form of a deadly virus are now compelling us to open our hearts to that inclusiveness. We can no longer separate ourselves from one another, and that includes all of Nature as well. Our survival depends on seeing “we” everywhere. We are being radically schooled in oneness.
The coronavirus has come at a time when the world desperately needs a shift in consciousness. The planet is barely surviving because of wars, hatred, and environmental destruction. The divine hand of circumstance has stepped in to halt our disconnected slide toward implosion. This virus is slamming us hard, forcing us to allow the walls of separation to fall away completely. It is showing us clearly that there are no borders or boundaries between us. There is no other. Around the world, thousands are dying. Italy is especially hard hit, and it now stands as a global example of extreme loss as well as resilience and hope.
The Italian people are reaching out to the rest of the world, saying, “This is what we did and didn’t do—learn from our unknowing but fatal mistakes. Pay attention and take drastic precautions now. Stay home; self-quarantine.” Simultaneously, in the midst of their pain and grief, the Italians are demonstrating the most amazing grace and capacity for love. In their separate apartments, they stand on their balconies and sing to each other. They sing life into one another’s hearts. Throughout the world, people watch videos of them, and their hearts too are touched and uplifted. Those beautiful voices singing out into the night remind us of the beauty of the human spirit and our connection at the deepest level. Are we returning to harmony and balance at last? Are the divine scales being repositioned so that humanity has another chance at compassionate cohabitation on this planet?
Like so many of us, I have believed in my heart that this time would come, when a paradigm shift would change everything and bring us back home to our souls, our divine/human selves. I am acutely aware of the fear, uncertainty, and sadness that is currently circling the globe. Yet something else is happening as well: kindness. People, especially health care workers, are reaching out to help others. A friend of mine, a retired nurse in San Francisco, gives out homemade hand sanitizers and other supplies to the homeless. Helping is hardwired in her training, her DNA. So many others like her. Another friend in Boston takes an empty subway train across town to volunteer at the Food Bank. We are a compassionate species, we humans, in spite of our conflicts and cruelties. Perhaps this is the moment when love definitively phases out hatred and fear because no other choice remains.
As I watch unprecedented world events unfold, I can feel a tremendous letting go within myself. In the past year, I have had to surrender attachment to any plans, preferences, or certainty again and again. Now the dial on “Surrender” has been turned up so high globally that none of us can ignore it. No one knows what will happen next. For me, it feels as if there is nothing I can do but live mindfully in each moment, with gratitude for life itself. That’s all that’s possible. And there is a peace in that, the peace at my core, in my soul. Perhaps that is what we are all being moved toward: the “peace that passeth understanding,” the divine thread that connects us to something greater than our own individual lives. In truth, crisis comes to give us that gift, to show us that the most beautiful experience, and most profound truth, of our human lifetimes is oneness with our fellow beings and with God. Peace on Earth, at long last.