POSTCARD#366: Bangkok: Thailand reported 6 new coronavirus cases and no new deaths on Friday, May 01 taking its tally to 2,960 infections while fatalities remained at 54 since the outbreak began in January. On a global scale, the presence of covid-19 in our lives shows that when humanity is united in a common cause, social transformation is possible. Looking at changes in social behaviour, economy, and the role of government, an opportunity arises again to see the power of our collective will when we agree on what is important.
Here in Thailand, Jiab tells me she attended the death ceremony (the pouring of water) of her Great Grandfather when she was five years old. Death is no ending, death is going home… it’s how it is understood in most Asian societies. I imagine the same for III World societies everywhere. In the West however, it is usually hidden away and thus COVID-19 has revealed the reality, death is part of life.
We are the survivors after the War – as it is/was after any war, those who remain, understand that life is sacred. Each person, young or old, sick or well, is a sacred, precious, beloved being. What does it really mean, all the hugs, kisses-on-both-cheeks, handshakes and high-fives we are removed from right now (and may be adapted in some way in a more permanent basis)? It means let’s be connected by whatever means as an expression of love and spirit.
What makes it difficult is the Western belief in the separate self in a world of Other, me separate from you… driven by power and the fear of losing it. The obsession with money and property, extensions of the self – expresses the delusion that the impermanent self can be made permanent through its attachments. Some would say the exact opposite of the Buddha’s Teaching.
What’s coming is a wave of revelation; situations just taken for granted in the past are being reappraised, seen with compassion. How can we find out about those who cannot work from home? The hotel staff, the taxi drivers, the bus drivers, the janitors and cashiers. What can we do about those who have lost their jobs due to the covid-19 shut-down? What is the best way to help vulnerable people? The homeless? How can we be connected with people in the slum districts in inner cities?
The covid-19 shut-down activates compassion, leaders and activists start to emerge, campaigning for the situation of the helpless, in so many words… something is stirred. If we have it in us, we can see quite clearly, the ‘normal’ that once was, is gone. We just can’t fall back into the same rut; monotony and a sense of lack. What can we do abut this? How to be part of this new connectedness in the covid-19 separation?
What’s coming is a new vision of what society could become – one that is less authoritarian and fearful, and more collaborative and local. Unseen altruism, resourcefulness and generosity that arise in situations of grief and disruption.
Necessary to be careful all the way through to an agreement: “… with the decimation of small businesses, a dependency on the state for a stipend that comes with strict conditions. The crisis could usher in totalitarianism or solidarity; medical martial law or a holistic renaissance; greater fear of the microbial world, or greater resiliency in participation in it; permanent norms of social distancing, or a renewed desire to come together.”
Excerpts from Charles Eisenstein’s “The Coronation” included in this post.
Thanks for pointing out the vision of a positive outcome of this current situation. It brings a much needed perspective to what is going on and helps to see that there is so much caring and sharing, even though we can’t share it physically (yet). We can however share mindfully
I’d been contemplating this strange shut-down state then I read the Charles Eisenstein article, linked by Ben Naga, and got some pointers in there. So I reduced it all down to the basic message, hoping to inspire those younger than me who have the social-activist streak. They are the ones who shape the future
I’ve started reading the article. Very nice overview, with lots to ponder about. So thanks again for sharing his and your vision! 🙂
Sorry I missed your reply. It’s really a comprehensive read. Thanks for your interest.
Lovely post tiramit… which way are the people going to choose? Or is this the final split of Earth we have heard about❤️ hope you are enjoying this time, embracing your head and observing how it all enfolds❤️ much love Barbara x
These are strange times we find ourselves in. It’ll take a few years to establish something fair and good… or maybe it’ll take forever
Thank youT for this thoughtful piece that is so relevant right now to me. As are you and. Jiab, I am sheltering at home except for trips to grocery store and pharmacy, with the occasional stops to take home a pizza or other dinner food. Oh, and I am visiting my husband in his memory care facility. He is actively dying now, but the end could come any time from a few hours to several months. I am so grateful for the dhamma that tells me of impermanence and non attachment. I am honored to be on the path with him now and hope I’ll be able to see him off when he leaves for that other shore. Hospice is with him and providing extra help. May we all be peaceful, happy and light in body and spirit!
‘light in body and spirit’
Reblogged this on Ben Naga and commented:
Freedom and power is being taken away But that can only succeed if we allow it. There is a choice, potentially a rather stark one too.
Thanks for the reblog Ben. It’s no good just having a smile and ‘peace’. Our new leaders, will have to confront those who have control, driven by power and the fear of losing it.
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There is a strange contradiction in all of this.
“Death is part of life” and “living in harmony with nature” and “surrendering the illusions of control”.
Mankind living in fear, ramping up attempts at order and control to unprecedented, even inhuman levels. People who cannot touch one another.
We are the wasps being blasted with a big spray can of poison, and we are scrambling in agony to escape it, yet simultaneously trying to save our nest.
It is a bizarre time.
Sorry I’m late in reply to your comment. My feeling is that the contradiction is part of the transition, eventually the whole thing will settle into the ‘new normal’. More than likely power held in the same hands but different in appearance and the struggle will go on for a long time. There’ll be a profusion of small groups at the edge of society and it could be interesting to see what happens there.
One thing is, being Scottish (Slange Var) I don’t know what it feels like to be an American in fear of losing everything, self-isolated as things are in the US. Also I haven’t experienced a death among my friends and family. Even after more than thirty years in Thailand I don’t have any friends who contracted COVID-19. I asked Jiab and she doesn’t know anyone either. So we are far away from your reality, you have our sympathies