If the Corona Virus Could Speak...


    Like most of us, I am staying home during the #Coronavirus quarantine. It has given me plenty of time for self-care and reflection - I offer my thoughts in this blog.
     
    Hopefully it will resonate and inspire. If you like it, please share the blog with your social networks, especially with leaders and influencers.
     
    It has been a while since we spoke, and I would love to reconnect with you so please do respond back and we can setup some time to talk on Zoom.
     
    I wish you and your family, lots of love
     
    Stay home. Stay safe
     

     
     coronavirus
     
    Mandar Apte
    March 30, 2020
     
    If the Corona Virus Could Speak...
     

    A few years ago, I had a key moment of truth - that I would not do anything about any social issue e.g. the mass shootings in US schools, unless and until it directly affected me or happened in my neighborhood school. I was so profoundly disturbed by this realization that I ended up making a documentary film that is now being used to promote nonviolence education in classrooms. The calling was intense and the experience, transformational.

    Over the past few weeks and months, nature has truly given the human race a big jolt through the ‘unseen’ Coronavirus inflicted COVID-19 global pandemic. Till a few weeks ago, it was China’s issue - some of us may have been genuinely sympathetic towards the Chinese people and may have even shared our concerns on social media and/or forwarded a few Whatsapp messages to our social networks, but then we moved on with our busy lives.

    Until now.

    In the past few weeks, the novel virus has catalyzed unprecedented actions from global leaders - that has quarantined more than half the world’s population in their homes, resulting in shared feelings of frustration, helplessness, confusion, anxiety, and uncertainty about the future. Travel restrictions, panic buying leading to supply shortages and social distancing have been the shared experience for millions - something that we will never forget!

    Amidst this catastrophe, we have also heard stories of how the natural ecosystems are reviving, indicating that perhaps the planet Earth as a living organism is now healing itself, as we, humans are going through the much needed inner climate change ourselves!

    I hope that this moment of crisis is serving a higher purpose for all of us, especially for influencers (parents, teachers, artists, civil society activists, etc.) and leaders (of for-profit, non-profit, governmental and non-governmental organizations) to recalibrate our personal and professional lives and RISE to the occasion.

    Reflect 

    This “forced” pause is making us aware of the things that we had ignored under the busyness syndrome. This includes giving due attention to our own health, and well-being and giving ourselves the rest that we deserve. It is reminding us to value our close family and friends whom we may have neglected amidst our materialistic pursuits.

    Imagine

    The global quarantine can make us feel like an addict at a rehab - usually a place associated with helping to break addiction patterns. What were we addicted to then?

    After the crisis ends, we will have the opportunity and responsibility to imagine what a new world order would look like - will we hold on to certain treasures of this newly acquired lifestyle and respect some habits from the old normals? Do we really need that expensive watch or five-star vacation or could we use that time and money on activities that are more transformational and create positive socially impact?

    Serve 

    Doctors & nurses worldwide have risked their lives to care for their patients, going beyond religion, age, sexual preferences, socio-economic status and/or political views. The virus has acted as a great ‘unifier’ and ‘connector’ reminding us of the value of service and that we are connected as a One World Human family (Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam). Several stories of compassionate acts done in the recent weeks have been inspiring e.g an 8th grader in Japan making masks, college kids buying groceries for elders, Cuba sending an army of doctors to help Italy, and many more. Will we design our educational systems to bring this attitude of selfless service (Seva) in our lives?

    Eternal

    The fear of death is always a harsh reminder of the most essential truth of life - that everything around us is impermanent. There is nothing Zen or Buddhist about this fact. No matter how rich or poor we are, we all will die one day. In order to realize this impermanence, however, there must be something that is stationary (Theory of Relativity). That stationary aspect is our ‘self’ or ‘spirit’ - the witness consciousness, the eternal presence. This self-realization of our true nature will help us honor and appreciate ‘every’ moment of life and will naturally guide our actions towards creating a sustainable world for our future generations.

    As leaders & influencers, we are being called to reset our humanity - starting with ourselves. 

    The Coronavirus has already spoken. We just need to have the courage to listen and RISE.

    Inspirational links for the sincere seeker:

    1. Online meditations to cope with the crisis by the global humanitarian leader, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: www.youtube.com/srisri

    2. Art of Living yoga & meditation workshops offered worldwide: www.artofliving.org

    3. Books: Ignore Everybody; Celebrating Silence

    4. Meditation app: Sattva

     
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