Covid-19 is the name of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. It has ruthlessly showed us how our society can be disrupted overnight. And it will also show us how resilient we can be. In a matter of months, the collective human species will get back on its feet. It will dust itself off, reflect on a few lessons learned, and move on. Yes, Covid-19 will leave scars in some of us through memories of loss and suffering. But as a whole, life will go on. That is all well and good. Down the road, it is going to be okay. Covid-19 will be in the rearview mirror—a chapter in human history.
Meanwhile, however, how do we deal with the anxiety and fear on a personal level? How should we face the current economic uncertainty and threat of loss?
Here are two concepts to help you come out stronger on the other side of this crisis.
Evolution and Growth
One of the most potent forces active in the cosmos is the drive toward evolution. In its current stage, our universe is evolving, growing, and expanding. You are the outcome of this drive; so is everything else in nature. When you are growing, a dynamic drive enlivens every cell in your body and puts you in harmony with other elements experiencing growth in your environment. The opposite happens when you are stagnant—there is a harmony there, too, but that harmony is with things that cause decay.
Growth includes at least three areas:
Physical growth encompasses the development and nurturing of your body. It includes what contributes to it, like your health, possessions, and finances. Emotional growth includes your relationships, psychological health, and spiritual development. Intellectual growth comprises the knowledge and skills that you acquire. These three areas combine to give you a spectrum of activities, a field of play for the game of life.
Growth in any of these areas will give you a measure of pleasure. Experiencing growth will have a positive impact on your spiritual well-being.
One of the side effects of Covid-19 is having more free time in our hands, so use some of this time to grow in an area of your life! Watch a little less news and a bit less Netflix. Instead, invest some of your time in learning a new skill, cultivating a new relationship, or strengthening your body. Learn how to code webpages or use Photoshop. Locate old high school friends via social media and rekindle those relationships. Work out at home for a half-hour in the morning or take a walk for 15 minutes in the evening. Be greedy and do all three!
Start growing in an area of your life and see what happens to your state of mind.
Your Present Moment
One fascinating thing about humans is our capacity for conscious attention. Our conscious attention, combined with our dreams and goals, generates our faculty for creation. Thanks to this faculty, each one of us can bring entirely new things into existence. A song, a story, a painting, a smartphone, a car, an airplane, a skyscraper, cities, space stations… Humans can create anything our minds can fathom. Nothing else in nature comes close to the inherent abilities each of us owns.
Your attention can be:
- Conscious attention, guided by your conscious desires and intellect
- Passive attention, guided by your subconscious
To purposely access your capacity for creation, your attention must be conscious—it must be under your control. When you are drowning in negative and repetitive thoughts, your attention is stuck outside of your conscious will. It is snarled by turbulent emotions from your subconscious self-image. Whenever this is happening, your attention is out of your control and you are not really in the present moment. Instead, you are experiencing a pseudo-reality inside your own head. Life can feel quite miserable when we keep re-experiencing asphyxiating emotions that are out of our control.
But! It is possible to master your conscious attention. Mastering attention allows you to be more and more in the actual present moment, and the present moment can be quite joyful. But mastering your conscious attention takes time, and frankly, the mechanics of doing so are beyond the scope of this article. You can, however, practice a simple mindfulness exercise designed to bring your attention into the present moment. This will give you a brief respite.
Notice when your attention is not in the actual present moment, when you are instead inside your own head. It may surprise you to realize how often this happens! Acknowledge it. The more relaxed you are about acknowledging it, the better. Say something soft, like, “Oh, okay.” Avoid judging, criticizing, or dwelling on it—it doesn’t matter what drew your attention. Just notice it consciously, because conscious attention briefly halts subconscious activity.
Ask yourself, “What is the best thing I could be doing right now?” And then wait for an answer. In most cases, the answer you get will spark a desire to engage in a productive activity.
Try this exercise and see what happens.
I hope these two concepts of growth and being in the present moment will help you. Please spend some time on them—they could promote your spiritual well-being during the Covid-19 chapter of our lives.
JC Ramos Paulino