My heart has been broken and remade so frequently over the past few weeks I am beginning to feel as though I am molded from clay. Ready to be formed and adapted to whatever dose of terrible news that is offered by the media.
For a long time, ever before a global pandemic overran us, the online space has felt impossibly ‘full’. It is an addictive TV show constantly thriving on reruns as we all rehash the same content, over and over again. Far from reminding me that we, as human beings are One, this has bored me for months. Worse still, it has numbed me.
Social media posts of bad news were an anesthetic to the real troubles of the world. More often than not, I felt pity, not empathy. At first, when COVID-19, crept into all societies without discrimination, I was jolted, but still asleep. This was bad, yes. But I still had a life to live, things to do and arbitrary targets to hit. However, slowly I have been defrosting, as the days go by.
Deaths, recoveries, pain, economic losses, anxiety, relief, joy. They are now sharp knives that remind me each day of what it is to live intentionally.
For once in my adult life, statistics stop being numbers for all of us, are starting to mean people. Our people – no matter what nation they are from.
Startlingly, our ability to empathise and grieve without personal attachment to the person is not just doable, but natural.
I have done a lot of thinking over the past few weeks about what exactly has changed in so many of us. After all, what makes the threat of a coronavirus any more ominous than the threat of heart disease?
Perhaps due to my anxiety or worries for the world, my sleep pattern has been woefully disrupted – and my dreams have been chaotic, to say the least! Yet I do believe that inspiration, which is just another word for answers, finds us in the perfectly quiet moments. So, I stumbled across my answer in a dream.
It was a short dream, a brief snippet, in which I was a man, drowning, clinging to another man. The riptide was powerful, tugging me under and my panic was raw and world-ending. With all of my strength, I held onto the neck of the other man, his back to me. It did not take long for it to become obvious – He was not drowning, but I most certainly was.
Yet here’s the kicker, in perhaps the last moment of life afforded to me in this dream, my perspective and point of view shifted. I was no longer looking out of my own eyes at the back of the man who could not save me. Now, I was the other man, seeing the shore ahead, within reach.
I was both drowning and saved at that moment.
When I awoke, I realised something fundamental that we rarely acknowledge but has been proven true during this pandemic.
We Are All One. There is a Oneness within us. It is this lack of separation, regardless of distance, race, gender or economic status, that inspires our empathy, our love for those we do not know.
It is also the illusion of this lack of Oneness that drives so few in the world to hoard so much of the world’s wealth, with little regard for others. That is perhaps the true corruption, the belief that we can be anything other than Together.
If we accept that fact, that We Are All One, as true then another intrinsic truth arises that we cannot ignore. If we were to live as though everyone, even those who wrong us in the worst ways, were a part of our soul in need of love rather than condemnation, then we would never lack. There would be Enough.
There would be no need for panic shopping or hoarding of good because we would never leave any part of Us, without.
I cannot help but wonder at how much kinder our world would be if we believe, together, that 1) We Are All One and 2) There Is Enough.
If we acknowledged, respected and understood that we are both drowning and saved because the experience of one of us, is the experience of All of Us, the changes could be radical.
We have the power to move our perspective at any time into that of another and everyone deserves that consideration, whether they are billionaires or criminals.
This is certainly how I will be approaching life from now on and long after this pandemic is over. After all, what’s the worst a little more empathy could do?
At the very least, there may be a few less angry social media posts if we did.