COVID-19 is the big news of the day. It’s on every channel, all over the internet, in many of your emails, and so on. While we might be getting many educational emails about what we can do to make ourselves less susceptible to the virus, and even how to boost our immune system to keep us safer, there isn’t much out there on how to boost our inner spirit… the spiritual aspect of our being.
While we have the extra time — time that we are not going out and spending on our usual activities — we might want to consider spending at least some of that found time on reflection; thinking about how life was prior to the self-isolation or -quarantine and asking ourselves if we really want to go back to how things were. Or are we perhaps finding a less hectic, less daily stressful life something we might want to keep… even if life gets back to “normal”?
Are we now maybe more able to relate to others as members of the one human family, understanding the struggles or hardships of others as we ourselves cannot go out to work and may not be fortunate enough to keep getting a paycheck? Can we at least find time now to do some of the things we wished we had time to do before our self-imposed quarantine? Spend more time with your spouse or other family members quarantined with you, have more meaningful conversations, maybe get caught up on our reading, or even draw up our last will and testament,
and our revocable trust? Why do we keep putting any of those things down to the bottom of our list?
Since we more or less have to be isolated and stay home, and there’s no danger of not being told what’s going on in the world or how to minimize the threat to ourselves, wouldn’t it be a good time to leave the news on the TV and settle down with thoughts of world peace? And how about thoughts of closeness to others — connection — during this time of social distancing of up to six feet away or more?
And maybe we could dwell a bit on all we have, whether on our material goods, good health, others to love, or our connection to God. There is
always time to complain, if one so chooses, and to drape oneself in the “poor me” garment of self pity, but how often do we take the time to relax in the reality of our blessings? How often do we make ourselves an example to others by focusing our positive energy on the optimistic outcomes that we envision for our own self and for others in these dark times?
If you’ve never given prayer a chance to “do its job,” now might be a good time to try. Pray for others, for a solution to end this novel coronavirus pandemic, or even more, for people to learn from this outbreak and rebound with new and better living habits, new and better lifestyle choices, and even with a more loving sense of closeness to the rest of the world, genuinely seeing them as our brothers and sisters.
Is this perhaps the opportunity we have been given to see things differently and possibly sway society toward a more peaceful, loving togetherness — toward a lifestyle that doesn’t want so much, can get by on less, and chooses to get back to making the family (whether related by blood or just kinship) a desirable unit and one that draws us together rather than something that pushes us apart? Perhaps even those who lead us will discover better ways of leading us, and ways of shaving down the overwhelming debt that continues to grow because of those who continue to ask for and take huge sums of money that they do not need and have not earned, sometimes way into retirement till death parts them from that lucre. Greed, just like anger, hate, and fear, cannot be good for your immune system. Let greed go, and fill your spirit with love for others, caring about others, and a sense of brotherhood toward all. Yes, some might even ask for a salary cut, or give their abundance, their surplus, to those who do not have the good fortune to have the financial blessings you have. This is never mandatory and only works when it’s out of the goodness of your heart.
This is the time to reflect on what we have been contributing to the world, or even just to our own little piece of real estate — which, just like a virus, will eventually find its way even across oceans to other continents. So ask yourself, Do you harbor hate and anger, for whatever reason, maybe even toward those who flout the admonition to remain at home, choosing instead to go out for a walk or a drive? Does your hate and anger run deeper, maybe toward all of China, or our own government, or all the wealthy who don’t ever have to worry about running out of toilet paper?
Are we angry because we now have to live in fear? We do not “have to.” Dwell on that for a while. If we harbor those negative feelings of anger and fear, we are actually cutting into — diminishing — our immune system. No, I am not giving medical advice; I am giving what I believe to be good advice for all time, not just now during this pandemic that is changing the world. Negative emotions affect us from the inside out. Where there is no smile on the inside, no genuine smile will ever reach your face. Where the heart is loving and peaceful, it will radiate out to your whole essence.
If you are not used to being loving and feeling peace in your heart, now’s the time to practice. When this COVID-19 pandemic is over, we might just end up with a “better crop” of human beings. And as Tiny Tim would say, “God bless us, every one.”
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Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email
her at firstname.lastname@example.org.