Photo by Christiaan Huynen(unsplash.com/creative commons)
In our current fight against COVID-19, some hope has emerged with the development and distribution of multiple vaccines. The global rollout of these vaccines obviously holds great promise that one day very soon we will be able to put this pandemic behind us and return to some semblance of “normalcy”. However, as we begin to do so let us remember the profound spiritual lessons that we have learned during this challenging time. The past year has forced each of us as individuals to take a long and honest look at ourselves. The many hours that we have spent in solitude has afforded us with a rare and temporary respite from the hyper fast paced material world we inhabit.
Greater time spent in solitude has led many people to reflect more deeply on what holds meaning in their lives. More time alone has surely been a source of extreme mental suffering for some. However, for others it has been a fruitful time to quiet their minds and re-channel their attention from outward egoic concerns (like money, jobs, and social status) to the inner realms of spirit. Since the start of the pandemic, I have talked to many people who say they have used this time to start a regular prayer or meditation practice. I also have spoken with others who relate how this period has sparked a renewed sense of love and gratitude for the natural world. Still, other inspiring souls I have crossed paths with say that this pandemic has pushed them to follow their dreams and spend their time doing what they love. Over the past year, a very dear friend of mine has spent his time at home starting an uplifting you tube channel that now has nearly 25,000 faithful subscribers! Another close friend of mine has honed his love for woodworking and now hopes to abandon his office job and sell his wood work for a living. Other folks in my orbit have spent this time planting wonderful gardens, experimenting with off-grid living, and diving into various forms of creative expression. And in moving fashion, other beings I know have used this time to fully commit themselves to serving others. Of course, the spirit of service is perhaps the greatest spiritual practice of all.
Most profoundly, COVID-19 has taught us that we are all interconnected and that our intentions, thoughts, and actions have karmic consequences that impact us all. As one world, we have truly suffered through this trying ordeal together. As the world charts its recovery from this time of great suffering, the following question emerges: how will we incorporate the higher wisdom that we have gained from this shared experience? The fate and soulful evolution of our species hinges upon this question. Deep within me, I have a mountain of faith that we are all up to the enormous task of becoming the wisdom that has blossomed from our collective experience of suffering. Despite the heavy and tragic loss of life left in its wake, COVID-19 may soon be regarded as one of the latest light posts on the path of humanity’s spiritual awakening.
Forrest Rivers is a writer and teacher who lives in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. His new book, COVID-19 and Humanity’s Spiritual Awakening is now available on Amazon HERE.