I feel incredibly blessed to be living at this time. Sometimes that feels like a risky thing to say. Then come numerous negative and critical thoughts, with questions like: How could you say such a thing? Don’t you realize how much pain people are going through? Aren’t you paying attention?
I remind myself that COVID has hit everyone’s life a bit differently. So unique are the impacts depending on your particular blend of work, location, family/kids, etc. that it’s really hard to understand what the person you pass on the street is going through without asking them to reflect on it. And you don’t, because of ‘social distancing,’ which is actually more ‘physical distancing,’ and less ‘social distancing.’ Anyway, I think most people would rather not reflect on all the ways the pandemic and associated lockdowns have upended their lives. The thought can be overwhelming, and our collective emotional resources are at an all-time low, so why add any unnecessary burden like critical thinking or discursive discussions.
Further, despite the inordinate emotional cost of just getting out of bed in the morning, we have an important presidential election bearing down upon us with potentially huge impacts on the psychological health of the nation (any possible the world). In truth, stakeholders in the US election go beyond the electorate and include international business interests, geopolitical strategists, and environmental policy makers the world over. If you can’t vote in the US election, you can still spend money on misinformation and other forms of advertising to influence the modern American consumer to swing into alignment with your political agenda. It’s already happened at least once.
In this and other cases, technology has changed the nature of our reality in important ways that we are just coming to terms with. For example, Facebook ‘fact checkers’ who have marching orders to keep their corporation out of litigation are pissing people off left and right who think they are actually checking for facts. Scientists, professionals, politicians, media icons have all been banned from the platform for posting things that the government will potentially come after the corporation for with greedy hands looking for judgments imposing huge fines to ease the burden of their depressed revenues due to lockdowns that they themselves imposed. I blame whoever came up with the job title ‘fact checker’ for this terrible misconception. Really, many people are righteously insulted that their years of training, research, and peer-reviewed analyses, not to mention their professional reputations, are being mislabeled and insulted by millennials working for minimum wage that aren’t required to have finished any particular collegiate course of study yet have the power to label anything you post on Facebook as ‘false information.’
So yes, people are pissed off and exhausted with FB and COVID and the experience of LIFE generally right now.
But the question remains—if it will set us free, what is truth?
Certainly science doesn’t purport to prove anything. People forget that everything we know is a likelihood, a thesis, subject to change as the quantum universe continues to evolve. Remember that the dimension of time can only be shown by applied mathematics using an imaginary number. We had to make something up to fit time into our equations for how the universe works. So time doesn’t really exist, just relative movements in a universe that we are still grasping to understand.
Our experience of reality is irresistibly colored by our perceptions, such that two onlookers viewing the same scene can walk away with very different understandings of what happened. Eye-witness legal testimony is often woefully inaccurate and it’s one of the easiest forms of evidence to get thrown out of court. My cognitive psychology professor made a healthy consulting fee out of debunking it, and it was probably the easiest money he’s ever made.
Yurii Perepadia, a graphic designer and illustrator from Ukraine, created the following optical illusion, which everyone experiences slightly differently depending on how much you use your peripheral vision to take in the image. Try for yourself and show someone else:
So where my rambling is taking us, if you’ve made it this far, is that we have to trust in something much larger than ourselves to get through this time with any semblance of sanity. We can’t really trust ourselves as individual units in this vast unknown universe. We are at serious risk of getting torn apart mentally, emotionally, and spiritually if we find our psyches built on a foundation of sand rather than stone when the tide comes in (I checked, and I believe flooding is next after scourge and fires in the apocalypse).
What we DO know is that we are spiritual beings having a physical experience. There’s simply no other explanation for consciousness. Seriously, go look and tell me what you find.
And we can start caring deeply for our own mental and emotional health by tapping into that eternal part of us that easily rises above the current state of the world, and sees a much bigger picture. This is why I feel blessed. I’ve done the work, and continue to do the work, to keep my head above water, focused on who I am as an eternal being, and put everything into perspective and relationship with my God-self. That is my source of strength, resilience and power.
Is that true or just a convenient story? Well, I’ll leave you with these words which I keep on my altar from a Tibetan lama (teacher): “Whatever, on its destruction or intellectual analysis, ceases to convey an idea, like a vase of water, is relatively existent; all else is ultimately real.”
With this definition of truth, not from science but from a wisdom tradition, go forth and rebuild your foundation friends. Build your foundation on what is ultimately real, and find that a new day dawns in your life brighter than the one you find yourself in today.
Happy Equinox friends!