What a moment in time this is! If you’re freaking out and turning into a compulsive hand-washer and person of other sudden anxiety-fueled borderline nutty rituals (must buy another box of noodles!), do not despair. You are not alone…trust me.
We are finding our way through something new. It may not feel entirely new – perhaps you’re thinking about other times of enormous uncertainty and anxiety, trying to figure out if it was as bad. I’ve been thinking about the AIDS crisis, 9/11, the 2016 election, and sudden personal losses. You might notice some similarities alongside key differences. This moment is unique, like all new experiences, but it’s similar to other times of hardship in that it calls for us to generate whatever compassion we can for ourselves and others, and plenty of patience. Perhaps the hardest part is not knowing how you’ll be impacted. How long will this last? What might you lose?
Living with these questions is a major challenge. Can almost take one’s breath away. But it might be possible to allow the challenges to help us generate the compassion and steadiness we need. To find the part of ourselves that has some tender and receptive feeling on our own behalf, and on behalf of everyone who might be in a similar boat.
Please know there are caring spiritual communities that remain available. We’re joining 21st century and going online for the time being, but we’re here. If you need some succor, a way to break the isolation, come join us. A few wonderful Buddhist communities I recommend: The Nalanda Institute of Contemplative Science; Community Meditation Center; Brooklyn Zen Center, to name a few and all with wonderful recorded Dharma talks.
When this is over, you’ll either find me dancing in the street high-fiving strangers with ungloved hands, or on retreat trying to exhale the tidal wave of anxiety we’re all riding. Either way, I can’t wait to see you again!