There are levels of truth. This is known to us all. You live in a building, at a particular postcode and also on the planet Earth. All statements are likely true, yet all the statements are very different from each other. Truth is also dynamic, not static. This is usually recognised when more data becomes apparent; once, for example, everyone believed that the Earth was flat and the sun revolved around the Earth. If truth is dynamic and has different levels then can there be any truth out there? Of course there is, you may find it becoming deeper and it may even change after a while but there is definitely your truth out there. Often when it comes to truth – perspective is everything. Careful thought and the ability to distance yourself from your own perspective can allow you to gain a deeper understanding and reach a deeper level of truth. It is important to understand that we have all been conditioned by the stories we have been told, the Narrative you work from. Your Narrative contains your fundamental truths and you are likely to protect those because whenever one of your fundamental truths is shown to be wrong then you, personally, can begin to feel very insecure. Convenient lies are much more comfortable than inconvenient truths. It is important to recognise that truth often has a very large emotional context that may work contrary to the intellectual observations.
When considering the global pandemic of Covid-19 we realise that there are many new perspectives to understand. It has been a long time since we, as a species, have lived through a global and deadly pandemic and there are many new truths to comprehend. On one level the pandemic has caused many businesses to collapse, loved ones have died, people have suffered financial ruin, many have struggled with the endless loneliness and depression. The cancellation of sporting events, concerts, plays, cinemas, live music and a multitude of other events has removed that sparkle from our lives. On an individual level the pandemic has dramatically changed the way we live: many are not working now, the children are not at school, we have drastically reduced access to dentists, doctors surgeries and hospitals and are now learning to live and communicate with each other via the internet. We rarely leave home and when we do we are very concerned about our own personal space, those two metres around us become very important for our safety and they must not contain anyone else from outside our household. Shops, restaurants and bars closed and much of our shopping has to be done over the internet. Only key workers are expected to attend work and we are brought face to face with the realization that those who still have to go to work, because their work is vital to keep the country running, are also those people who seem to be paid very poorly. Many have also lost their jobs, businesses have had to close and there has been much disruption in the country’s economic outlook. The pandemic has certainly been inconvenient.
However, it has had far deeper and profound effects on many people on a very personal level. Have you noticed the deeper effects that the corona virus has had on yourself? The virus is, of course, a clear and present danger to you and all those you love. The thought of yourself or those you love being struck down by the disease is terrifying: after all it is entirely possible that this eventuality could lead to the death of someone you love, or maybe even your own death. What can you do to protect yourself and those you love? This call for action has been responded to collectively, we have chosen to isolate ourselves away from this deadly disease. In truth, this means isolating ourselves from other people. How has this affected you? Is the comfort you derive from taking action to protect yourself and your loved ones greater than the disconnect you feel from separating yourself from others? Perhaps you feel that this disconnection is worth it? Have you noticed that you have stepped away from hugging someone who desperately needs that comfort? Human touch is, after all, a basic need that we all have. I have noticed in my trips to the supermarket two extremes of behaviour over this period of lockdown. I am delighted to report that the vast majority of people have recognised that this period of self-isolation is unhealthy and they have engaged in much deeper communication with their fellow humans. The greetings I have received have been considerably warmer, the conversations longer and the caring shown to me has been deeper. And yet, there are others that I have passed on my journey through the aisles, that I know are holding their breath! Concerned, as they are, that I may be inadvertently breathing out deadly, viral infused breath. In fairness to them, I may well have been! So whilst some people’s reactions to others, during this crisis, are to extend as much kindness as possible, others are viewing strangers as nothing more than a mobile skin-bag of potentially deadly viruses. Have you noticed this? Where are you on this scale? Perhaps you have a moving scale: those who you know and those you are familiar with, friends and family, neighbours, work colleagues and those you see regularly: are they people you greet warmly and make connection with? Whereas strangers you are more likely to shun, you hold your breath as you pass them in town? Would you consider those people from Asia more contagious than, for example, those of your own country?
Already we discover that this pandemic has changed our day to day living and it has also had a big effect on how we treat other people. Nothing happens in isolation, when something happens there tends to be a knock-on effect. The knock-on effects of this pandemic are quite widespread. The next obvious problem is the economy. With hundreds of thousands of people not working for months the economy has suffered. Individuals have suffered because many have been made unemployed, businesses have suffered because they can no longer trade but they still have to pay certain costs: rent and taxes; even if they are not producing. Again, we are faced with choices: should I return to work knowing that I will be risking higher exposure to the virus? Or should I remain isolated, safer but always knowing that this will eventually lead to serious hardship as the money runs out?
As time passed and the pandemic infections reduced, presumably because the citizens practised social distancing. As lockdown has been eased we are presented with other questions. The current question is to mask or not to mask. In the polarized internet-world the arguments are vociferous; with passionate views expressed from both perspectives. For some the extra barrier is a logical and caring step towards re-integration. For others, this mandatory restriction is a step too far and impinges on their personal freedom excessively. The interesting aspect to this particular argument is that both sides have merit, both sides have a measure of truth. The question I hold is: does everyone value the truth(s) in the opposing arguments? It becomes an argument about values: on one side, there is the argument that all life is sacred and any step towards preserving life, however small, should be taken and hence masks should be worn. On the other side is the argument that life without the freedom to choose, within limits, becomes devoid of meaning and hence not a life at all. Again, both values have merit and your answer becomes very personal depending on the detail and nuance you understand and the values you hold. Freedom and choice always carry risk to yourself and others and yet freedom and choice are core values for most people in society. Preservation of life are also core values for most and yet are there limits as to how far this value is taken? After all we all know that our death is assured; a life is not only measured by its longevity but also by its richness.
There is much discussion about leadership. People have been very vocal and perhaps overly zealous at discussing the latest government announcements. My question would be: is there any need for government control at this time? After all the government has never found the need to restrict my behaviour to such an extent before and my freedoms have never been so curtailed. Again, so many truths to pick from! Many people are of the view that this viral pandemic is so deadly and so unprecedented that it is important to clearly define the correct behaviours necessary and then enforce those behaviours. Others feel that a set of unenforced guidelines are all that would be necessary. Still others believe that there should be no change from business as usual, after all the economy has suffered enormously through social distancing and lockdown. If you had to design the response to this pandemic what choices would you make? Another way of viewing this is to ask the question: how frightened of this pandemic are you? I do know that around the country people have been frightened and isolated by the pandemic: this is in-humane. Fear and isolation can have quite a devastating psychological effect on individuals and it still remains to be seen how this has affected the nation as a whole. Ironically, I also know that living in fear and isolation can significantly reduce the function of the immune system!
I would not wish to be responsible for implementing a response for the pandemic, it would be a thankless task. Many of the myriad of demands that you have to work with are, with the pandemic in mind, mutually exclusive. Keeping people separate and keeping the economy moving is just one example. We have chosen to keep people separate and the economy has taken a huge hit: GDP in the UK has been forecast to fall by as much as 30% in the first 6 months this year with a 14% overall drop in the year. Keeping people separate will likely lead to a rise in domestic violence and mental health issues are some other examples of how decisions taken can have poor results in other, yet somehow connected, areas. How would you balance all these priorities? Perhaps the mandated wearing of masks is a stroke of genius! Their efficacy, especially how this has been handled in the UK, is likely to be very small, if at all. But it does give people agency: something that they can do to protect themselves. In a time of crisis giving people something to do can help allay their fears and give people confidence.
My personal concern, when considering something like this pandemic, is always with humanity as a whole. I have dropped my fear of death many years ago once I realized that I was sure to die. Fear is such a destructive and distorting emotion and if something is certain then why fear it? It is not common for someone to have this attitude but I have found that it does help me understand certain things more clearly and it often gives me a slightly different perspective. We see the distortions that fear of the pandemic brings most particularly in our social media discussions. My heart goes out to those that are responding so obviously from a perspective of fear. I am especially sympathetic to those who are saying “I am so frightened of this disease: you must do that!” Whatever “that” may be. A state of fear that is so pronounced that it makes you dictate the behaviour of others must be a huge burden to live with, I am sure it would be difficult for those so afflicted to find and notice all the joy and love in their lives. The happiest of lives must, almost by definition, be ones where you are open to acknowledge all the joy and love that surrounds you? Fear stops me from noticing all the joy and love that surrounds me and is the reason I try to eliminate it, or at the very least minimize it within my life.
To be truly human is to be connected. It is those connections we have with others that is the source of our deepest and most profound love and joy. The more you can connect with others the more opportunity for love and joy you will find. Anything that stops people from being able to connect to others will always cast a shadow over our humanity and must be resisted as much as possible. Perhaps this explains both my despair and joy over the last few months of lockdown. Despair that every safety announcement, guideline and restriction seemed to me to be a step away from connection. Keep away from people, do not travel, stay at least two metres away, only 6 may gather together… These all drive people away from each other and generates fear. Wearing face masks also reduces our ability to communicate; some may doubt this but body language is considered to be over 50% of our communication and words merely 7%, the rest taken up by tone of voice. Masks are a barrier to communication and therefore a barrier to connection.
The most terrifying development to our current world that is full of discrimination; discrimination on the grounds of politics, of sex and sexuality, of religion and of race is that we are on the cusp of discriminating against people because they maybe, just maybe, carriers of a virus. It is a strange discrimination because the virus is invisible and therefore absolutely anyone could be carrying the virus. Yet our thinking processes do not extend that far or that clearly, we simply discriminate against those people we do not know as if that is sensible grounds from which to treat people with fear and hostility. Those people we know can come closer and are welcomed warmly, those we don’t know need to step away and have the barriers of distance and masks before we are willing to engage with them. This can only cause further acrimony within our societies.
My heart has been lifted by joy too. As previously mentioned, I have noticed that people have made extra effort to connect with each other despite the new rules of separation. Greetings have been more heartfelt. Conversations have been deeper and more meaningful. It is as if we have recognized the threat to our all-important ability to connect and we have been making extra efforts to ensure that the connection has still been made. I have cherished those efforts and I give heart-felt gratitude to all of you who have made this effort, you have added much needed love and joy at a time that desperately needs these blessings. The question I would ask you about how willing you are to connect to others is: If you encountered someone who desperately needed a hug, would you hug them and who would they be? Your partner? Your children? Your parents? Your housemates? Your friends? An acquaintance? Anyone?
We at the imaginalCollective have been watching the pandemic very carefully, not least because it is very hard not to as it seems to be the only item of conversation and news at the moment! Our concern is, of course, the Earth Changes that are occurring. They have not stopped over the period of the pandemic either with Arctic and Antarctic ice at new lows for this year, Siberian heatwaves, floods in Eastern Asia, drought and locusts in Africa, an early start to storms in the Atlantic, three hurricanes landing on the US mainland and wildfires in Greece (again). Is there a connection between the pandemic and the Earth Changes? The scientific community have concluded that pandemics are likely to become more frequent as time moves forward, arguing that as humankind encroaches ever more into the wild spaces of the world then there is more opportunity for us to come into contact with viruses. That the viruses are more likely to mutate to human beings as a host simply through exposure to humans and we are so numerous. Also, the emergence of the virus from Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province was a predictable event according to Dr Zach Bush MD. He states that when you see extinction level stress due to the extreme disruption of soil, water and air (which was happening nowhere in the world faster than central China due to the adoption of western farming practices combined with an enormous amount of air polution from the industrial activities of Beijing) the response is adaptation…
“biology goes into an explosive effort to find loop holes, to find alternative biologic pathways to avoid the toxicity – to try not to go extinct”Dr Zach Bush MD
After decades of demonstrating that we lack the ability to make any sort of significant steps towards ameliorating the extent that we, as a species, are damaging the natural world: our emissions of CO2 are still increasing year on year, our use of fossil fuels is ever increasing and our destruction of the natural environment has continued without a pause, despite the scientific advice. The excuses given have been mainly connected to the economy and the fact that it is too expensive to make the changes, too complex and there is plenty of time to enact the necessary policies. However, the pandemic has allowed for dramatic and immediate changes:
- The lockdown has caused a huge drop in pollution.
- People have significantly slowed their purchasing.
- Some communities have drawn much closer.
- The slower pace of life has given people time to stop and reflect.
- The fright of a deadly pandemic has caused people to reassess what is truly important to them.
The book Change, available on this website, highlights three changes we should be making in order to minimize the effects of the Earth Changes: 1. Create a stronger community. 2. Stop buying stuff. 3. Grow your own food.
It must be noted that to implement these actions would require a person to work on themselves first. Internal work is always necessary before external changes can be made effectively, especially on such a wide scale. This is, perhaps, something to be picked up and discussed in another blog.
The pandemic has shown that two out of the three best practices are very possible indeed. We can engage more effectively with our neighbourhood community and we can stop buying things under the right circumstances. This is a cause for celebration, so long as it continues. At the very worse, we already know that we can change and change very quickly once the need is there. I would argue that the need is there right now but there is still lots of work to do to gain agreement for these steps.
James Lovelock, scientist, environmentalist and futurist, postulated the Gaia hypothesis. This theory proposes that living organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings on Earth to form a synergistic and self-regulating, complex system that helps to maintain and perpetuate the conditions for life on this planet. In other words: life itself creates the environment for more life. It is a small step from this point to imagine Gaia with its own consciousness, or perhaps even a collection of consciousness. It is a small step yet too far many. Truth can have many aspects and facets somewhat like a huge jewel; if you concentrate too much only on a few particular facets then all the rest of the jewel of truth becomes impossible to see and easy to deny.
Despite your own views on the extent of consciousness we can still speculate: how does Gaia perceive the pandemic? Perhaps Gaia is concerned by the damage being wrought on Her delicate biosphere by Her most intelligent creation so far? Perhaps She is feeling vindictive, determined to stop the damage by culling the perpetrator? I suspect this is unlikely, yet quite possible. Humankind clearly represents a clear and present danger and yet also contains huge potential; worthy enough perhaps for greater investment. If there is this greater intelligence and consciousness would it not try and communicate in some way to us? This is an easy question for those whose spirituality is based on the teachings derived from nature and Gaia Herself. Within your own spiritual views what is the meaning of this global pandemic? Surely it is some form of communication from the Great Spirit(s) of your own spiritual teaching? What do you imagine that They may be trying to tell you with the pandemic?
I think the message would be to stop, slow down and consider. As a species we have spent most of our recent energy on becoming; perhaps some time spent on just being is what is called for? Are you clearly aligned to your purpose? Is your life prioritised correctly? Do you need to be doing all this doing? Can you see why you have been asked to stop and slow down? I think we are being shown that everything is connected. After all, if a not-quite-alive chain of DNA (a virus) can hugely change your life then what effects on other things is your complex life causing? And, more importantly, are the affects you are causing caused by conscious decisions in your life? The answers to these questions are not easy to find, they take time. You may have the loud demands of this world shouting in your ears but the answers to these deeper questions are more often heard during times of stillness; when was the last time you took time away from the noise to listen to your quiet voices? Those voices that can only be heard in stillness yet always seem to whisper ideas much closer to your soul’s purpose. The Kogi People, a native South American tribe sent a message at this time:
Message from Mamo Manuel, Kogi People, Colombia
We are a key moment in time, these are the times where Mother Earth is speaking through her beings, and also through the invisible beings that manifest themselves through diseases at these times.
And this is a lesson that we are learning as human beings. The time has come for us to learn and remember the original law, the original ways, of behaving ourselves in a good way, and to do the work for Mother Earth.
– That we behave well with our Mother that feeds us.
– That we behave well with our animal relatives, with our plant kingdom relatives.
– That we behave well with the water that runs through the rivers, with the water that is in the ocean.
– That we behave well with our relatives that fly high in the sky and that we behave well with everything that surrounds us.
And most of all that we behave well with our thoughts, because we are in a moment in time where Mother Earth is teaching us her goodness and beauty, and her way of teaching us now is reminding us that we should change the wrong ways we have been relating with nature and all other beings. These are times not only for the beautiful thought but also for the times where we relearn to do things in a beautiful way.
Perhaps Gaia has decided to take a more direct hand in events and has shown you what you need to do most: be still and connect. Perhaps She is saying: “Is there enough joy and love in your life? And are you sharing it?”