Unless people learn to differentiate between the essentials and the non-essentials, peace will always elude them. – BKS Iyengar (1918-2014)

Anyone who has taken more than a few yoga classes in their life has likely heard talk about how we are all connected. The teacher uses words like “universal consciousness” and phrases like “being one with everything.”  It all sounds like mumbo-jumbo, or at the very least difficult to verify the reality of such claims. However, the appearance of the coronavirus and the ensuing pandemic really brings home exactly how deeply we are interconnected on a physical level. 

This interconnectedness is profound. It is a true matter of life and death. Though the virus is an unseen force, at least without a microscope, the way it moves from person to person is very real and its effects tangible, albeit in a destructive way. Personally, living in this pandemic brings into clarity just how much life on this planet is interwoven and how much we affect each other in ways we don’t even see. This is not an abstract realization but grows out of the real, lived experience. It is something you know because you are a part of it.  

Newton’s Third Law tells us that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. When you look you see this happening in the world around us everyday. You see a force that’s rising up to counter the force of the virus.   This is the force of the people organizing sewing groups to create masks and gowns and other PPE for health care workers. This is the force of people organizing to bring food to older folks too scared to go out to the store. This is the force of others using online video conferencing to help bring a sense of community and connection to those who are forced to shelter at home without anyone to keep them company.  You see the force of so much creative energy going to caring, supportive work. Not work that is imposed or directed by some hierarchical system, but growing organically, bringing one person together with another to fill a need.

So much spontaneous compassion is a beautiful thing to witness, and this time, in this crisis, it feels different. This time feels like those ties will bind people together beyond the immediate situation. This crisis is so universal that no one can escape its effect, people from all walks of life across the entire globe will feel its touch in one way or another.  The effects of the crisis are so profound, from the complete disruption of every society on Earth to the tragic personal effects for those who have contracted the virus, that this time there is a real chance for the human race to evolve. A chance to evolve into a more caring, empathetic and loving family. A chance it won’t be just an empty platitude that you hear in a random yoga class somewhere, but a real connection. A chance that a real sense of family will develop where we all belong and we all live in ways that affect each other constructively, ways that are uplifting and supportive. Now is the time for a true universality, real and lived.

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