The coronavirus pandemic has often felt like a collective, near-death experience at a global scale. It’s been a wake-up call to our fragile systems and way of life that’s shaken us momentarily awake to the present in every country around the world. A chapter has closed on life as we’ve known it, but this crisis is also unveiling an unprecedented opportunity for planetary transformation. Dickens might as well have written the opening sentence for our new collective story:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
For so many of us, this truly is the “season of darkness.” This disease has caused immense suffering, physically, emotionally and financially. It can be difficult to envision a new way forward when we’ve been thrust into a heightened sense of fear and despair. But in crisis also comes opportunity, and how we choose to respond to this emergency will change the very course of human history.
Unfortunately, fear tends to be the default reaction to major change. In evolutionary terms, this was a valid response in the midst of day-to-day survival, but even in these present times, our cultural conditioning would have us focus on the worst case scenarios. When we react from a place of fear, however, we stay small, spread so thin in the materialistic paradigm that we lose track of the spiritual essence of ourselves. We’ve become accustomed to the frenetic rat race of trying to pay the bills, buying the groceries, cleaning the house, worrying about our jobs, fixing the car… Of course, these are all very valid concerns. If we aren’t able to meet our basic needs, we aren’t able to thrive and transform. But is this the “normal” we want to return to post-pandemic; an endless number of material tasks we face just to keep life going?
Getting Reacquainted With Purpose During a Pandemic
Immersed in a daily schedule of social obligations, social media, social standards, we get disconnected from our core values and highest purpose. What COVID-19 has gifted us, however, is a chance to pause for inner reflection and get honest with ourselves. Sheltering in place has simplified our lives to the basic essentials. We’ve been shaken to the core and are no longer able to turn to the next social engagement to ignore our sacred connection to Source and the magnitude of our global connection and our responsibility within this intricate fabric of humanity.
There’s a bigger spirit we’re all part of, and that is what we need to preserve and contribute to by getting reacquainted with our authentic selves. Nelson Mandela said, “There’s no passion to be found in playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” He certainly manifested that in his own life and all of us can do the same. We have unlimited potential within ourselves if we only realized, believed and nurtured our unique gifts. To follow what calls to us often requires us to ignore what society tells us, but if there’s anything we can take away from these times, it is that we can rewrite the rules.
We can use this time to truly change the world for the better by asking the hard questions required of us to collectively create a new way forward.
- What is the meaning of our life and what is humanity’s purpose beyond replicating our numbers to the point that it is unsustainable?
- What is our true passion that will help us reach our highest potential, as individuals and as a species?
If we are going to find the answers, the first thing to do is to shut off the outside static and influence of social conditioning and get attuned with our true inner self. Then we can explore what really resonates as a loud “YES,” an inner excitement that we can feel, leading us down the path toward purposeful living.
Taking Purposeful Steps Toward Collective Healing
Of course, this is easier said than done in the midst of a pandemic. Living in Madrid during lockdown, and suffering the virus myself, created a real wake-up call to remember what’s important in my own life. Struggling with health and unable to connect with friends, family and nature while having to self-isolate doesn’t support a positive and hopeful state of mind. There have been good and bad days, but despite the challenges of this healing process, it’s been nothing short of transformative. When you feel this kind of alien presence in your physical body, challenging you on your most vulnerable aspect of life, my goodness it really cleans out the petty stuff. My situation is nothing special, but it’s hard not to consider the meaning of life and how to live authentically, when confronted with a serious illness.
We’re all struggling and suffering in different ways, but we can still take important steps toward collective healing. What’s important is to do the best we can, try and be as much help as we can, to empathize, sympathize and be as compassionate as we can. It’s not a perfect process, and a long way from it, but it’s how we begin to build a new way of living in a time of social distancing.
That’s just the first step in how we can positively respond to this momentous time in human history. I do believe this is the “spring of hope” to quote Dickens again. When we feel in tune with our inner purpose we can go on to contribute to the collective purpose. As strange as it seems, this virus, this unseen enemy invading the world, is also a unifying factor. The Institute of Noetic Sciences has done a lot of work with the Global Consciousness Project, researching how a collective, broad-scale, worldwide event influences our collective consciousness. This is a golden opportunity to see and understand and measure just how much that consciousness affects us. If we’re in this together, our collective consciousness can come into focus to create love and joy, the true spirit of humanity.
The wisdom traditions have said there have been three great miracles in the history of humanity: the birth of the universe, the appearance of life and the dawn of human self-reflective consciousness. And now through the course of human history we’re at the cusp of the fourth miracle, making the turn from the materialistic paradigm and into the consciousness paradigm of energy and innovation. It really plants in our minds this idea that we can collectively affirm a new way forward– that we are a healthy and thriving species living in harmony with the most beautiful and abundant planet known to humankind.
The next steps we take as individuals will shape our collective transformation as a planet and species. As Picasso once said: “The meaning in life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
Yes, we’re living in incredibly challenging times, but we’ve also been given the honorable task to be a part of one of the most important moments in human history. While we adapt to new ways of living and interacting, we can also find solace in returning to the higher sense of purpose that connects the fabric of our humanity and find our way to give back to ourselves and our future.