Like it or not we’re in this together
Things as they are…
We are living in unprecedented times. I don’t think any of us ever thought this is would be the “historic event” we we’re going to a part of when we thought of the notion. In the US, where I’m from we are dealing with shortages in items like I have never known. Going to the grocery store is starting to seem like a bit of a risky venture too.
Folks are pushing and clamoring to get more to hoard. None really know, or understand, what exactly their “me first” attitude means for everyone else. We have grown up’s acting like kids at a birthday party with a pinata over toilet paper of all things. The ridiculous lengths people are willing to go, to get more than they need, is almost sad. A feeding frenzy like behavior brought on by fear instead of actual lack.
Why? Why are we dealing with fear on this scale? Some would say the gravity of the situation dictates a high level of response. Others think it’s the fault of weak government response or mismanaged resources, Other’s would say it’s due to the level of media coverage that we’re able to delve into the minutia of every detail of this event. In my opinion, the truth hovers somewhere among all of those. However, one undeniable place the blame can firmly rest… is on us.
We humans, especially those of us lucky enough to have been born in “civilized” nations of the world, have become accustomed to relative luxury. At this moment we are perceiving a threat to that luxury. So much so that some of us are going to great pains to gather all the things we associate with necessity. Are we actually facing serious lack? Well, yes we are, but not by the grave nature of the problem. Rather, we are facing a lack brought on by our own hands. The concept, as I have recently come to learn, is called ‘the tragedy of the commons’. In simplest terms a group all acting in their individual best interests depletes a shared resource and creates a dire situation for all. Total bummer right.
This is not a new occurrence, actually, it has been leveraged by people selling stuff for the majority of human history. The actual issue… big surprise… is human nature. We are so afraid and insecure of things changing that we will fight to maintain “the devil we know” for fear of the one we don’t. In this case “the devil” we don’t know is a world without toilet paper, presumably.
What can we do? Open our eyes and practice.
How can we fix a problem that has been reinforced in us for all of human existence? By first acknowledging the fact that we are interconnected. This whole virus situation arose from someone eating bat soup in China. Talk about a butterfly effect. Someone picking something spicy from a menu in China has all the Karens of the western world screaming like Xena to horde all the toilet paper in sight. If that alone doesn’t highlight the fact of interconnection I don’t know what will.
Our actions big or small can effect the whole community around us, why not make the effect a positive one? Why can’t we inspire small moments of compassion? Something that is invaluable in this time of physical, not social, distancing is compassion. Keep in mind the less fortunate, those that have lost: loved ones, jobs, battles with chronic illness, or, people who couldn’t fight off a nasty virus.
Practices that can lead to a growth of this general compassion include, but are not limited to, Metta, Samatha, Vipassana, and you guessed it Mantra. Each practice has a different type of practitioner in mind. Metta builds compassion and empathy, Samatha builds calm, Vipassana builds focus on the body, and Mantra builds focus through the sounds we can make. For more click one of the links.
Hell something as simple as smiling to someone as your cars pass can help. Keep in mind every action, no matter how trivial it seems, can create a world changing reaction, let’s make it a good one.
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