The ruckus caused by the pandemic begs for a cathartic sort of expression that seems, even now in isolation, to escape most of us. How this is possible with all the free time we have, I do not know. However, this, I understand; it is coming. Our paradigm of essential needs, wealth and happiness is about to change, if not already to some extent. In our house, the wheel has already turned in terms of how we now eat food. A book I have found exceptionally influential in these times is Man’s Search For Meaning. You can read the in-depth review here before buying or downloading and find my reading list and book reviews here.
A recession is approaching, and now more than ever, we will slowly but surely be more aware of what is truly essential. We will come to appreciate more the labour of the grocery store attendant. We will learn to live on only what we require as people continue to lose their jobs, as their savings continue to decrease and their investments continue to tumble and for others, fluctuate.
A hint of darkness taints these uncertain times, but what is sure as day is that we will be blinded by light someday. There is a silver lining to the Corona Virus pandemic. Because of this isolation, our very definitions of the words luxury and indispensable will change. Small things will bring us joy, and we will not need the grand and majestic for us to live a luxurious life. This is a reset and we must accept what is about to come.
Put aside the propaganda behind motives, agendas, plots and schemes. Let us dissect this time and discover the treasures that lie beneath the virus. The things we stand to gain outweigh the losses, pathos evoking as the losses may be. If for the sole reason that humanity’s core values are altered to fit the sole direction of the truth that has always been in front of our eyes, the only things we ever needed to survive will birth a new society and keep them alive. A post-pandemic world appears as blurry as a psychedelic inducing smudge on a glass window.
How can we see that far when every day we wake up isolated again and again, for (days, weeks, months?) unsure about what to cook for dinner because we don’t know how far we will make it? Major upheavals in the emotional, psychological and spiritual realm are about to occur. We are yet to face the greatest challenge of our lives, which is facing ourselves. Fortunately, there exist, for example, books that can settle out heated spirits taking refuge in the courage presented by others before these times. Here is a good example:
The silence that is yet to dissolve into our conscious selves will cling us to each other like water molecules to one another. But the good thing about challenges is that one can rise from them. They are put in our paths for us to realize just how much steel we are made of, just how much the universe, God, Allah is rooting for us. There is something in this pandemic for everyone to rise above. Something that stirs a more profound desire in you to touch the face of God, or his heart. It might be time to let go of your clinging to material wealth, or maybe time to realize the extent to which a toxic relationship had scratched, clawed and clung to you. Perhaps for you, it’s that now, old emotions have started to brim over and having no one but your own company is the exact loneliness you need to feel and feel intensely. For another, it might be that their careers will bud at this time, paradoxically so. These are unprecedented times and our seat belts, tight as they may be, might tear quite a bit.
Here is a thought: maybe we needed to change the seat belts after all and a little wear and tear is what will finally push us to do so. It will push us further into ourselves, learn the meaning of open giving and what it means to spot a silver lining in a dark thunderous storm. It will teach us to practice a bit more gratitude, prioritize love, and trust that the safety net of a richer life will catch us amidst the ebb and tide of these ravaging pandemic waves.
Most of our troubles before now seem like a microcosm to our current reality. This is our opportunity to feel untethered from the noise of our former lives, the clamor of pestering notifications and constant pokes of deadlines that only seemed to disrupt us more than make our lives better. Purge your senses of the previously absorbed tension for right now; nothing is business as usual. The virus has grazed the capitalist schemes that have, for so long, ruled the world and our internal affairs. After it is gone, I can only hope for better soldiers with better values that come out on the other side of this fight. Find inspiration from the Roman Empire Marcus Aurelius who faced a similar situation during his reign and ended up writing Meditations, a profound philosophical book that will change the way you think. (Really)
There is poetry in the eerie, apocalyptic silence of walking outside by yourself today. The grains of materialism are surely running through our fingers as we’re speaking, watered down by the enforced lock-down. We are tableaux, pawns and horses amidst queens and double rooks but we are playing together, now in this desperate time of re-connection. Time will jiggle us like jelly, sift and churn until what is required is left. Humanity will flow once more, like water in an open slide, to a new kind of pleasure. The kind where you don’t mind to let your toes sink into the soft, supportive fluffiness of wet sand.
The main difference between life pre-pandemic and right now is that what was fleeting remains elusive and the eternal gems of life now have a flashlight cast upon them. The car sits in the garage untouched for days; the phone buzzes today three times more with familiar faces than ever before. Nothing is permanent, not the good or the bad. But change is the constant we should always look forward to for things will continue to disrupt our perfect plans for as long as there are plans and things capable of causing disruption. It is a law of nature that needs no loudspeaker but escapes us like a mosquito in the night, past ears that have been shatteringly deaf and amidst eyes as open as a guiding windshield. Now, do you see how futile every minute is? How yesterday you had a paycheck and today you don’t, and you’re still here? How you burst with vitality now but tomorrow the weed of the virus could grow in your lungs and how, at that moment, everything will feel exactly as it feels now; uncertain.
Here is my final invitation; identify the difference between real and fleeting happiness. Catch it, nature it in this time and when all this is over, let our appreciation of the real and truly vital things wear the crown. Let that be the bewitching broom that sweeps the dust of ignorance away from our lives, exposing the silver lining that we are yet to appreciate.