The Coronavirus and Our Mental World
If we surrender to the dictates of many of our politicians as well as the medical experts on infectious diseases and follow the orders of “safer at home,” then we are under a mandate to calm our minds. Even still, when we look at the news and see the glimpses of the overwhelming challenge of our physicians and hospital workers, how can we remain calm? Perhaps many of us deal with the threat of COVID-19 by going into denial. I have heard personal stories of individuals who continue to run errands throughout the day as if they are invincible. Large gatherings/parties/church services in various parts of the country still take place in abandon of the threat to life. We all would like to think that this virus only attacks the Other. Yet, if we pay attention to the devastation within families and how death has overcome persons within the ministry, medical care workers, children, and even those deemed healthy, perhaps we will take pause.
Personally, I try to stay updated, even though I am at the mercy of the reports from the media. I try to deeply understand the statistics and process even what has not been highlighted. For example, I heard California’s Governor talk about the devastation of the virus upon the minorities within the state as he recounted the percentages of Asians, Latinos and African Americans who have been overtaken by COVID-19; I realized upon my quick calculation that minorities added up to over 60 percent of the total cases yet the Governor made no statement that the other 39 to 40 percent were Caucasians. And, yes, in cities like Chicago and Detroit, the devastation to African Americans from COVID-19 is severe. When you consider Blacks make up only six percent of the Golden State population but are 12 percent of the coronavirus deaths in the state, the threat is strikingly disproportionate; but one cannot dispute the effect on the entire population.
It is so interesting that there are always exceptions to the rules as we see many who have been on ventilators for over three weeks along with stories of several individuals 95 and even 100 years-old who have recovered from COVID-19. I even heard the story of an individual who was sitting at a dinner table with five others, two of whom were later diagnosed with the virus within a couple of days, yet the others tested negative. There is no logic; it is mysterious as to who unfortunately becomes diagnosed with this infectious disease. What has been recently learned from the CDC, to offer some solace, is that the statistics reveal that .4 percent of those diagnosed positive will die, not even 1 percent. Even still, it is the 35 percent of those who are asymptomatic that are responsible for 40 percent of the transmission of the virus.
What are we to do during this Age of COVID? For those of us who are “safer at home” and free of the virus, perhaps we can recognize the call to become reflective, focused, meditative? During this time, I have become thankful for the technique of meditation, where one of the boons is the development of a heightened intuition. Perhaps in the mastery of this tool, we will sit in our meditative mind, our intuition, as we know what to do, what not to do, where to go, when to go, and where not to go. It reminds me of the story of the man in meditation who received the message that on that particular day, he was to die. He, subsequently, began running through the streets so death could not catch him. Of course, he was, eventually, overcome by the Grim Reaper. Just before his last breath, the man heard the voice of spirit say, “As the God of Death, I could not have taken you if you would have continued to meditate.”